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A veteran percussionist and pioneer of the Latin jazz genre since the early sixties, Bobby Matos has created an excellent fusion of Latin and Afro-jazz music on Acknowledgement. Matos records ten original hot and heavy, hip-moving compositions with his Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble and pays tribute to the legendary John Coltrane with Afro-Latin arrangements of three Coltrane standards. They include the four-note classic "A Love Supreme - Acknowledgement, supported by some masterful playing from bassist John B. Williams, and "Tunji and "Equinox, featuring fine tenor work by Frank Fontaine, Jr. and several solos by Danny Weinstein on viola and trombone.
Matos opens up the session with one of his own up-tempo charts on "Manhattan Mozambique, which is followed by another upbeat piece dedicated to his musician son, "Song for Jud. Jud Matos, also a member of the band, plays the clave throughout but really shines on the guiro, bell and chekere on "Chango's Jazz. Not to be outdone, Bobby Matos comes through on congas and timbales in expressive style, marking this disc as an exciting percussion project.
While the majority of the tracks here are instrumentals, "Songoro and "Soy Lucumi are two charanga-based tunes with vocals provided by Ismael "East Carlo. Two of the best scores on the album have to be the brief but sweet little number "Motivos de Jazz, highlighting Weinstein's performance on violin, and the melodically engaging "Evelyn, with pronounced play by Matos (timbales), Fontaine, Jr. (flute) and Theo Saunders (piano).
This album contains an obvious Afro-Cuban accent that this Cuban-American reviewer can appreciate. Acknowledgement combines Latin jazz swing with a heavy Afro percussive backdrop, delivering a truly vibrant performance.
Track Listing: Manhattan Mozambique; Cuando Bail Ramon; Song For Jud; A Love Supreme-Acknowlegement; Motivos de Jazz; Songoro; Tunji; Chango's Jazz; Soy Lucumi; Evelyn; Equinox; Chango's Charanga; Drum Dance.
Personnel: Bobby Matos: leader, congas, guiro, timbales,coro; Frank Fontaine,Jr. : reeds; Danny Weinstein: trombone and violin; Theo Saunders: piano; Elisio Borrero, John B. Williams: bass; Robertito Melendez: bongos; Jud Matos: clave, guiro, bell, chekere; Andy Harlow: flute; Rogelio Mitchell: coro, Denise Cook, Ismael "East" Carlo: vocals; Elliot Caine: trumpet.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.