Recorded live (as are all great jazz albums), Texas Rumba thunders with adore y la alegra. It is Latin Jazz fresh and crisp as spring tomatoes and cilantro. Harvie S (AKA Harvie Swartz) is an exceptional bassist, composer, and band leader who has immersed himself in the Latin music pabulum, transforming the style into a innovative and critical entity. Integral to this evolution is his working quintet, who, together, is sharp as razors. Harvie S founded the group Eye Contact to achieve his vision in Latin jazz. That vision is summed up by the bassist?s confident comments to writer Mark Holston:
"I would like to think that I am helping to bridge a gap from Afro-Cuban to Modern Jazz. I studied with the masters of the music and continue to do so. I am now sort of the distilling vessel for Latin, jazz, funk, Brazilian, African, and free music - all marinated in a heavy dose of self expression."
That sounds like a man with a mission. Like the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians, Harvie S spends a bit of time establishing his bona fides as a Latin Jazz expert and then proceeds to prove them with conviction and dedication. Texas Rumba certainly indicates that his efforts are not necessary. One need only to listen to this disc to readily see that Harvie S has a firm command of the language of Latin jazz.
The opening piece (also the title cut) acts as a collision point between New York hard bop and Dizzy's Afro-Cubano bebop. The piece is anchored by Daniel Kelly?s piquant pianism, which dances over the complexities of the rhythm section, founded on Harvie S's bass playing. Harvie S's compositions are very much in the orchestral vein of Chico O'Farrell, while at the same time retaining an important dance element. The single standard is "Monk's Mood," which is played on the bass, solo. Harvie S' facility is palpable, readily recognized and appreciated.
"Underneath it All" finds the bassist on an arco tear that would not respond to medication if it had to. The arco turns into echoed pizzicato with Scott Robert Avidon's saxophone. Harvie S' is showing his avant-garde stripes here and they are very effective. The remainder of the recording is of this high quality. This is very fine music that will make very fine listening.
For more information, visit Harvie S and Zoho Records on the web.
Personnel: Harvie S - acoustic bass; Daniel Kelly - piano; Scott Robert Avidon - tenor and soprano sax; Renato Thoms - percussion; Adam Weber - drums; Gregory Rivkin - trumpet.