Brothers Zaccai and Luques Curtis are the driving force behind the group Insight, whose A Genesis is a spirited blend of Latin jazz with elements from other genres. Pianist Zaccai composed most of the songs and the music is arranged and performed with skill and energy.
Latin burners like "Necessity and the passionate "Ulterior Motive propel the album. Guest star Jimmy Greene's fierce tenor is the highlight of "Story In Three, which moves from a waltz to samba, with a few bars of funk toward the end for good measure. Zaccai's dazzling piano is at the center of "Hilton's Rumba, a tribute to the late pianist Hilton Ruiz, with altoist Kris Allen blowing up a storm.
The band also weaves other styles into its program seamlessly. "The Panamanian Murga and "The Making, though rooted in Latin jazz, have a distinct African pedigree. "The Truth Shall Set You Free is a solid bop tune dominated by Greene's moody tenor, whereas his soprano on the gospel-themed ballad "In the Spirit of J.R. recalls the smooth style of Grover Washington, Jr. And the Curtis brothers themselves take center stage on the urgent duet "Sudan and Darfur, where bassist Luques snaps his pizzicato like a whip.
Zaccai's excellent playing on acoustic and electric piano seems to improve with each track. The horn trio of trumpeter Joel Gonzalez, altoist Zach Lucas and Greene combine for rich melodies in group and solo contexts. Drummer Richie Barshay, percussionist Reinaldo De Jesus and the Curtis brothers provide a solid rhythmic foundation. All of these elements combine to make A Genesis one of the finest releases of 2007.
Track Listing: The Resuscitation; Necessity; Story In Three; In the Spirit of J.R.; Ulterior Motive; Insurrection; The Truth Shall Set You Free; The Panamanian Murga; Hilton
Personnel: Zaccai Curtis: piano; Luques Curtis: bass; Richie Barshay: drums; Reinaldo De Jesus: congas; Joel Gonzalez: trumpet; Zach Lucas: alto saxophone; Kris Allen: alto sax (9); Jimmy Greene: tenor and soprano sax.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.