Caribbean Jazz Project: Paraiso
But there's another factor at work here behind the prodigious talent of the front line. The team of percussionists keep the proceedings solidly in the groove with equally intricate, constantly percolating congas and timbales. In fact, a drum set is used only occasionally. The players are so perfectly coordinated and interconnected, not just with each other, but with the requirements of the melodies or the soloists. There is no repetition, no "push Play and let it go" here at all. The rhythmic complexity is astonishing. And when they step forward for the occasional percussion break, it's breathtaking. The percussion on the finale, a medley of Mongo Santamaria's "Obaricoso and Richie Flores' "Ritmos, Colores, y Sentidos" is simply stunning. They're also recorded very well.
If there is a fault to be found with this CD, it might be that it's almost too perfect. It's so intellectual, so polished, so studied and so intricate that it borders on losing the raw energy that so much Latin music has to offer. But overall, this CD is tremendously rewarding. It raises the bar on several levels: the compositions (most by Samuels or Khan) and arrangements, the depth of the solos, the state-of-the-art percussion. This is heavy stuff. It merits multiple listenings in order to focus on different instruments each time around. (Concord Picante CCD-4946)
Track Listing: One Step Ahead; Naima; Maluco; Caravan; El Tacano; Five for Elvin; Second Opinion; Jamboree; Ca-ni-mo! Obaricoso/Ritmos, Colores, y Sentidos. (69:11)
Personnel: Dave Samuels - vibes and marimba; Dave Valentin - flute; Steve Khan - guitar and guiro; Ruben Rodriguez- bass; Richie Flores - congas, shakere; Luisito Quintero - timbal kit, percussion; Dafnis Prieto - timbal kit, drums; Poncho Sanchez - congas; Conrad Herwig - trombone; Ray Vega - flugelhorn.
Record Label: Concord Music Group