Roberto Carcasses: Invitation

I love it when drummers become pianists because they bring a propulsive charge to the instrument. Just listen to how Eddie Palmieri, Omar Sosa and Roberto Carcasses manage meter and time. Carcasses, a conservatory-trained percussionist from Cuba, makes his debut with Invitation, a CD that shows how his rhythmic approaches enhance his montuno-driven grooves and intricate angular melodies.

In the 1990s Carcasses, son of renowned jazz singer Bobby Carcasses, was part of the pivotal Latin-jazz band Columna B, with saxophonist Yosvany Terry and drummer Dafnis Prieto. Roberto and his contemporaries created a new view of jazz by building on contemporary rhythms such as songo and timba. From the dancehall Afro-funk opener, “Llego, Llego (Timba Mabo),” to the solo piano closer “Tonada Para Robin,” Roberto threads a musical journey that speaks to this fusion.

A street rumba, “De La Habana a Nueva York,” opens an homage to Mario Bauz , which features Carcasses’ scat-crazy dad. Roberto gives “Monk’s Mood” a Cubano reworking with the beautiful voice of Liliam passionately delivering the Brazilian ballad “Velas Icadas.” Don Pancho Terry offers a santeria prayer on “Descargasses (Ochun)” over a 6/8 beat with a funky twist, but it’s young Roberto who shines with creative sparkle on this Invitation.