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Live From New York

July 2005

By Published: July 4, 2005
Arturo O'Farrill took a break from his regular duties leading the Chico O'Farrill and Jazz at Lincoln Center AfroLatin Orchestras to celebrate the release of his new ZOHO Music CD, Live In Brooklyn, with his trio at Manhattan's Cornelia Street Café (June 14). O'Farrill started the evening with a thoughtful improvised piano introduction to Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes, then took it up a notch when he was joined by Dafnis Prieto on drums (playing brushes) and Greg Ryan (filling in admirably at the last minute for Andy Gonzalez) on bass. The mood brightened further for the AfroCuban classic "Cachita, with Prieto playing with sticks and hands, his drums sounding alternately like congas and timbales on a thrilling solo.

O'Farrill began the next selection with a piano prelude before going into "Little Susan, a pretty Randy Weston composition written for the leader's wife when she was a child. The pianist soloed gracefully on the melody and then comped percussively behind Ryan's solo, at one point sending all the music flying off the piano. The trio increased the level of intensity further on Carla Bley's "Walking Batterie Woman, abstracting it such as to sound at times like the Cecil Taylor Unit. O'Farrill concluded the set by returning to his Latin roots with a beautiful version of "Siboney.

Multi-instrumentalist Dana Leong brought his multinational World Tribe band to the Jazz Gallery (June 9) to premiere new works and arrangements written specifically for the unique group featuring Chilean vocalist Claudia Acuña, Columbian harpist Edmar Castandeda, Japanese koto player Miya Masaoka and AfroAmerican percussionist Kahlil Kwame Bell. The group opened with "Bona Fide, a Leong composition for his hip-hop band that took on a hard-bop character with Acuña doubling the spirited melody with the leader's trombone and then soloing with his cello. Castaneda, who has an inimitable approach to his instrument, was next with a typically exciting solo, followed by Masaoka's koto, which concluded the piece with a Far Eastern ambiance.

Leong's distinctive arrangement of Debussy's "Reverie was introduced by the two harpists accompanied by Bell on bell tree before the leader entered playing the classic melody on cello, joined by Acuña who sang her notes with an intriguing dark tonality. An exhilarating Leong composition, "Fire Song, featured Bell's hand drumming driving the string players and Acuña, whose voice gently faded into the background to end the piece. A stirring trio arrangement of the AfroCuban classic "Obsessión featured Acuña's vocal with Leong and Castaneda was followed by a group improvisation that permitted the group's members to demonstrate their distinguishing virtuosity. The set concluded peacefully with "Amen, the pastoral third movement of a longer Leong suite.

~ Russ Musto

Recommended New Releases:

· Agrazing Maze - At the End of the Day (Foxhaven)

· The Great Jazz Trio - S'Wonderful (Columbia)

· Guillermo Klein Y Los Guachos - Live In Barcelona (Fresh Sound-New Talent)

· Kneebody (Greenleaf/Premonition)

· SFJazz Collective (Nonesuch)

· Myron Walden - This Way (Fresh Sound-New Talent)

~ David Adler, NY@Night Columnist,

· Dena DeRose - A Walk in the Park (MAXJAZZ)

· James Finn - Plaza de Toros (Clean Feed)

· Rick Germanson - You Tell Me (Fresh Sound-New Talent)

· Terry Gibbs - Feelin' Good: Live in Studio (Mack Avenue)

· David Gibson - The Path to Delphi (Nagel Heyer)

· Mingus Big Band/Orchestra/Dynasty - I Am Three (Sue Mingus Music-Sunnyside)

~ Laurence Donohue-Greene, managing editor, AllAboutJazz-New York

· Hamid Drake - Bindu (Rogue Art)

· Dennis Gonzalez - Idle Wild (Clean Feed)

· Barry Guy New Orchestra - Oort Entropy (Intakt)

· Gerry Hemingway - The Whimbler (Clean Feed)

· Vijay Iyer - Reimagining (Savoy)

· Jamie Saft - Astaroth (Tzadik)

~ Bruce Gallanter, proprietor, Downtown Music Gallery

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