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The young lions of today are smart enough to have studied their elders. Chris Washburne, a young Ohioan who leads a seven-piece band, has paid close attention to some of jazz history's best.
Washburne, who plays exciting trombone with agility and knowledge of his elders, intended to have his new album pay tribute to Latin master Tito Puente. Alas, Puente's death last year robbed Washburne of his final opportunity to play a role in the long Puente recording history. Instead, Washburne plays respectful homage to Puente on The Other Side , an album jammed with choice Latin Jazz.
Larry Birnbaum's notes point out that Washburne, growing up in Ohio, had never met a Puerto Rican nor had listened to the Latin music played in many dance clubs around Greater New York, as well as Latin enclaves around the country. Washburne found himself working with a salsa band while still attending the New England Conservatory of Music.
The album opens with 'Titorama,' in which Washburne gives equal balance to Puente and to jazz. Sitting in are John Walsh and guest Ray Vega, both of whom worked with Puente at times. Bobby Sanbria handles the timbales solo, intended for Puente. Next comes 'Mamborama,' a 1960's chart from Puente's band.
The album's emotional centerpiece, 'Deep Song,' serves as Washburne's emotional centerpiece. Washburne declares the number as reflecting the emotional switch from sadness to joy.
The Other Side contains a total of nine songs, three by Puente. For devotees of Latin jazz, it's an album well worth adding to the collection.
Track Listing: "Titorama," "Mamborama," "Deep Song," "Methane Mambo," "The Other Side," "New Beginning," "Now What?," "Caonao," "Hong Kong Mambo."
Personnel: Chris Washburne, tenor and bass trombone, tuba, percussion; John Walsh, trumpet; Ole Mathisen, tenor and soprano saxes; Barry Olsen, piano and marimba; Harvie Swartz, bass; Vince Cherido, drums; Wilson "Chembo" Corniel. Guests: Ray Vega. trumpet and flugel horn; Renato Thoms, bongos, hand percussion; Renato Thoms, bongos, hand percussion; Max Pollak, tap dancer on "Now What;" Maiken Derno, Korean gong.