Mark Towns: Passion (2004)
Guitarist Mark Towns releases his second recording, after his Flamenco Jazz Latino, joined once again by special guest Hubert Laws. Although the former Mongo SantamarÃ-a flutist is the most acknowledged player in the recording, the rest of the ensemble has some nice surprises in stow for the listener. Simply stated, this is quite a pleasant disk with the heated percussive inevitability of an expertly overdubbed full Latin percussion section...with trap drums in a couple of the cuts...piano, bass and Towns himself playing guitar.
"Desert Flower, features Laws in a mid-tempo jam alongside the leader and both issue alert, tight, and enjoyable lines. One, however, must realize the tightness of the ensemble behind them. Furthermore, this straight-up-jazzed-instrumental guaguancó is but one of various danceable cuts. Followed by a flamenco influenced piece entitled "Ever After ...that has danzón elements before segueing into a cha-like march ideally suited for Laws...Towns unassuming comping highlights a date with melodic material that tends to stick with you.
The opener, though, is the first surprising taste of pianist Rainel Pino. The cat plays. Obviously updated with contemporary Latin pianistic styles, yet tastefully restrained, tight, and a team player's spirit, he's quite attractive and sensitive in "Orange & Blue. Its swing is deceivingly driving and the bass is so molasses-like thick that it borders on funny at times. Towns splashes his way with fluid swing and percussive finesse in a radio friendly jazz performance that would arouse interest from a wide range of audiences. Going back to Pino, however, the timbaesque "Spanish Funk is decidedly driven by him and Colombia's Grupo Niche Jorge "Cro Cro Orta who certainly se curó recording material in a style he seldom gets to record. Pino's solo in the aforementioned is hot as ajÃ-.
Towns's Passion is also romantic and suave...as in "Miel. Even so, the honey is the rum & spices type...
Note: The scant vocals in the opener are unnecessary, and should be translated as "Recoge las piezas rather than "Levanta las piezas.
Contact: Please contact Mark Towns through the web.
Track Listing: 1. Pick Up the Pieces (Mark Towns) 2. Desert Flower (Mark Towns) 3. Ever After (Mark Towns) 4. Star Light (Mark Towns) 5. Orange & Blue (Mark Towns) 6. Spanish Funk (Mark Towns) 7. Miel (Mark Towns) 8. Espacio (Mark Towns) 9. Rainy Night (Mark Towns)
Personnel: Mark Towns: Guitar. Rainel Pino: Piano. An