Mark Weinstein: Timbasa (2010)
Weinstein is a band leader, a writer, an arranger and a producer. More importantly, he is a very good flautist with a passion for Latin music. When Weinstein is involved, be it Brazilian or Cuban music, it is always played with authority, intensity and honesty. On Timbasa, Spanish for party, the flute leads the percussion-heavy band through songs that give all members a chance to showcase their skills. Miles Davis' opener, "Milestones," is the launching pad for a fiery display of Cubano percussion magic, with pianist Axel Tosca Laugart's first solo, following Weinstein's, shining brightly and fitting in amongst the many greatest pianists with which Weinstein has played, including Chick Corea, Kenny Barron, Omar Sosa and Mark Levine.
The arrangement of Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" is superb, while Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" is a beautiful journey through some jungle paradise. Laugart and Weinstein play off each other with passion, trading runs and communicating on a high level. Bassist Panagiotis Andreou feeds off the percussionists and lays down verse after verse of dynamic playing, bringing a Middle Eastern feel to the opening of "Caravan" with fusion style solo bass and chanting vocals. The entire band then jumps on the groove, with Weinstein playing the traditional "Caravan" phrasing; a mix of classical, layered upon Flamenco, as the percussion assembly lets loose with wild rhythms, spurring Laugart into action, as he creates a sand storm of notes that swirl and roar across the plains.
Timbasa's four original songstwo by percussionist Pedrito Martinez, one by Weinstein, and one co-written by Andreou and Weinsteinare all entertaining. Timbasa has all of the ingredients of a first rate Latin jazz recording, as Weinsteinaccompanied by this stellar groupis at the top of his game.
Track Listing: Milestones; Timbasa; Footprints; Watermelon Man; A Ernesto; Caravan; Encuentro; Kavaklari Cubano; Just Another Guajira.
Personnel: Mark Weinstein: concert, alto and bass flute; Axel Tosca Laugart: piano; Panagiotis Andreou: electric bass and vocals; Mauricio Herrera: drums, timbales, guiro; Oguardo Diaz: bongos and batá; Pedrito Martinez: congas, timbales, batá and percussion.
Record Label: Jazzheads