How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Soulful Latin jazz comes alive on Menudo & Gritz as Scott Martin leads a fiery session that runs hot, hot, hot!
His lengthy tenure with Poncho Sanchez has resulted in a love for this music that brings together the memories of Eddie Harris, Ray Charles, Mongo Santamaria, and Cal Tjader in a whirlwind affair. With his band of Latin jazz all-stars, Martin brings in members of his talented family for featured roles: father Dave and brother Stan on trumpet, brother Andy on trombone, and son Tyler on baritone saxophone. The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree, and their performance here bears that out. Each member of the ensemble carries an exciting spirit to the music that fills the air with radiant energy.
Martin's tenor captures the essence of his tender ballad "Abuelo." The song's bolero motion and soulful melodic timbre reflect heartfelt passion. "Funky Flute" romps up-tempo in a leisurely stroll that unleashes emotions naturally. Vocalizing through his instrument and pouring forth forceful melodies, Martin captures the spirit and soul of Latin jazz. Here, organ and guitar place the focus on soul.
Everybody comes together on "Watusi Boogaloo," which features Martin's alto in a fiery flurry of passion. He sings "Sunny" and "Unchain My Heart" with a veteran's appreciation for the true character that comes with soul music. The horns explode on "Stuff" and explore spontaneous improvisation on "Ojah" with animation. Brothers Scott, Andy, and Stan capture the Latin jazz spirit and create a highly recommended session that's filled with the soul of our forefathers.