Scott Martin: Caf (2003)
Café Cubano is Scott Martin's debut album – and seven of the selections are originals by group members – but it sounds like the work of a seasoned veteran. Rhythms, the sine qua non of Latin jazz, are crisp, confident and rock-solid; chops are exemplary; and attacks and intonation are precise and accurate.
Lest you think this recording is all about technique, however, let me promptly dispel that notion. There’s plenty of fire here, beginning with the opening strains of Willie Bobo’s classic “Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries.” Scott’s “Café Cubano” crackles with electricity, as does his “San Juan,” with its dynamic sax solo, and Rick White’s “Escuela de Peska.” But the album has its gentler moments as well: White’s “Con Seis” is a poignant ballad, with a luscious, Wes Montgomery-influenced solo by the composer. Listen for brother Stan on the trumpet, Andy Martin’s bracing trombone, and the leader's baritone sax and flute on the latter’s mid-tempo “Ojo de Rojo.” All in all, this album will reward your attention with a lot of enjoyment, from “Neckbones” through “Platanos” (“Bananas”) and “Mabuti,” with their tasty unisons, harmonies and solos, until the echoes of Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Imagination” fade into the twilight.
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Track Listing: Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries; Caf
Personnel: Scott Martin (alto, tenor, baritone and soprano saxes, flute, keyboards and vocals), Rick White (guitar, keyboards, strings, and vocals), Stan Martin (trumpet and flugelhorn), Andy Martin (trombone), Rene Camacho (bass), Joey Deleon (congas), and George Ortiz (timbales), with special guest Poncho Sanchez (congas, bongo, and Latin percussion)
Record Label: SCM