Papo Vazquez and The Mighty Pirates: Marooned/Aislado: Live at the Painted Bride Art Center (2008)
Vazquez has a powerful horn and drummer Victor Jones, along with a three-person percussion section, presents these rhythms in all their island glory. The Mighty Pirates orchestra is bigger than big and includes four saxophones, four trumpets and four trombonists in addition to Vazquez. While pianist Zaccai Curtis and bassist John Benitez have fine jazz chops, it is the arrangements and more specifically the horn charts that make this orchestra, well, to be honest, swing like few big bands do anymore.
Eclectic homage is paid to conguero Ray Barretto on the sophisticated bluesy bomba "Blue Ray," Brazilian musician/composer Hermeto Pascoal with the harmonically interesting "Bomba a la Hermeto" and bassist Charles Mingus via the modern jazz opus "Pa' Mingus." Vazquez impresses with his control on the percussive masterpiece "El Batallon" before the lovely bolero "Julia Jibarita" offers a respite, leading into a super-hot "Race Against Time" to end the night.
Track Listing: Buenos Dias; Happy to be Here; Blue Ray; Aguinaldo Pa
Personnel: Papo Vazquez: trombone; Bruce Williams: lead alto sax, flute and soprano sax; Robert Landham: second alto sax and clarinet; Willie Williams: first tenor sax, clarinet and 1st mate; Ralph Bowen: second tenor, piccolo; Jason Marshall: baritone sax and bass clarinet; Walter White: lead trumpet, flugelhorn; Albert Leusink: second trumpet, flugelhorn; Freddie Hendrix: third trumpet, flugelhorn; Nelson Jaime: fourth trumpet; Erick Storckman: first trombone; Luis Cruz: second trombone; Reynaldo Jorge: third trombone; Dave Taylor: bass trombone; Zaccai Curtis: piano; John Benitez: bass; Victor Jones: drums; Anthony Carrillo: barril de bomba, pandero, surdo, bongo; Juan Gutierrez: barril de bomba and Guicharo; Camilo Molina: barril de bomba, pandero, surdo, cua.
Record Label: Picaro Records