How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Chris Washburne and his Syotos Band are very special. This would be just an opinion however accurate if it weren't for the fact that they've maintained long-term weekly gigs at a top jazz club (Smoke) and a top Latin club (Nuyorican Poets Cafe), the latter for eight years. Recently, they added Tuesdays at a top blues club (B.B. King's). These gigs are notable for two reasons: one, in the current dismal climate of New York's clubs, getting one weekly date is a major accomplishment, even for the very talented. And two, the breadth of the venues jazz, Latin, and blues reflects this band's appeal across conventional musical borders.
Paradise in Trouble is an exciting, crackling, danceable mix of Latin rhythms and percussion with jazz, funk, R&B, hiphop, gospel, Caribbean, and Afro-Cuban, with occasional Slavic and Middle Eastern moments. Ten tracks are catchy, varied Washburne originals; one, the powerhouse "Jazzy," is by legendary Willie Colon. All of them are expertly arranged and delivered, swinging and gleeful. The stage is set by the infectious opener, "Money is the Future Tense," which returns in a driving house-music remix as the closer. The combinations are intriguing: "Dirty as a Boy" (Cuban son and hip-hop), "Your Inside Out" (with its nine-beat rhythm from Zimbabwe), "Dr. Syo," (jazz and the African gyil, a mallet instrument made from gourds and wood), "Paradise in Trouble" (funk meets mambo). With its blazing horns, great percussion, joyful energy, and memorable melodies, this is a great party disc.
Note: SYOTOS stands for "see you on the other side," a wry and triumphant reference to Washburne's recovery from cancer.
Track Listing: Money is the Future Tense, She's Dirty as a Boy, Anondyne of Muddledom,
Nuyorican Son, Whatever You Want From Me, Paradise in Trouble, Your Inside
Out, On Whatever Day of the Week Saturday Happens, Jazzy, Dr. Syo, Money is
the Future Tense (remix)
Personnel: Chris Washburne (trombone, percussion, composer, producer), John Walsh (trumpet, flugelhorn,
composer), Ole Mathisen (tenor and soprano sax, composer, remix engineer), Barry Olsen (piano,
electric keyboards, trombone, composer), Leo Traversa (bass), Vince Cherico (drums, percussion)
Wilson "Chembo" Corniel (congas, hand percussion), Randy Klein (producer), Bobby Sanabria
(percussion, drums), Renato Thoms (bongos), Valerie Dee Naranjo (gyil, djembe, kpanlogo drums),
Bernard Wama (gyil), Ruth Sergel (bells,
handclaps), Roberto Jos? Sanabria (hand claps), Gary Dallaire (hand claps)
Author of "The Insanity Hoax: Exposing the myth of the mad genius," Dr. J combines her love of jazz and her fascination with psychology, focusing on where they overlap: in celebrating the individual spirit.