Pianist and composer Roger Davidson, who was born in Paris and now lives in upstate New York, has assembled a new collection of boleros and rhumbas on Pensando En Ti. Davidson is a multitalented composer who has written symphonic, chamber and sacred choral works. His most recent albums reflect specific interests: Rodgers in Rio (a 2004 appreciation of Richard Rodgers' tunes, set to bossa nova) and Mango Tango (a tango record from 2000).
The fourteen pieces on this album include nine Davidson originals plus five boleros and rhumbas by other composers. Listeners will note that Armando Manzanero's "Somos Novios" was, in another lifetime, the source of Perry Como's 1970 hit recording "It's Impossible." The same composer's bolero "Esta Tarde Vi Llover" will be recognized by pop afficionados as the Tony Bennett-associated piece "Yesterday I Heard The Rain."
Roger Davidson has assembled a sextet of hand-picked musicians for this project, including the world-famous percussionist Ignacio Berroa, who has specialized in providing the subtle pulse for boleros on two recent efforts with Charlie Haden and just released his own debut, Codes (Blue Note, 2006). Acoustic jazz bassist David Finck has worked with a multitude of artists. Marco Granados, a Venezuelan flutist, has been nominated for a Grammy; Kenny Rampton is a New York-based trumpeter who has appeared in Lincoln Center's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band. Argentinian guitarist Francisco Pancho Navarro specializes in tango music, while Pernell Saturnino is one of the best percussionists specializing in Latin music.
Since this is conceptually a theme album, listeners should not be expecting the surge of, for instance, salsa music. Pensando En Ti is an appreciation of the stately and romantic bolero and rhumba forms. Consequently, one track flows into the next, with the melody played by piano, flute, trumpet or guitar. The album is a virtual soundtrack of the Cuban experience and represents the sound of music coming out of the many shops and cafes of Havana (perhaps even more so before the current dictatorship).
Personnel: Roger Donaldson: piano; Marco Granados: flute; Francisco Navarro: guitar; Kenny Rampton:
trumpet, flugelhorn; David Finck: bass; Ignacio Berroa: drums; Pernell Saturnino: percussion.