It's too bad that the audience actually watching the show at Queens' Jamaica Jams Festival on August 6th wasn't as large as expectedmost people there seemed to be more interested in shopping and eating than enjoying the music. Their loss, for those who did stop to listen to the short set presented by Bobby Matos and the Latin Jazz All-Stars had an opportunity to see a legend at work.
The set, despite its shortness (the previous act overextended its time) mixed more sophisticated musical moments with a very danceable, salsa-inflected beat that made some people move despite the intense heat. There wasn't too much feedback from the crowd, but it didn't seem to bother the band.
Matos' latest recording with his Latin Jazz Ensemble, Acknowledgement, pays tribute to the lasting legacy of John Coltrane by giving a Latin spin to songs such as "Equinox, "Tunji, and "A Love Supreme. Matos' sound blends the danceable groove of salsa, mambo, and other Latin and African-inspired sounds with elements of modern jazz.
You can intensely feel the influence of Django on the original "Motivos de Jazz and the presence of Tito Puente on "Manhattan Mozambique. John Coltrane would surely have been proud of the treatment Matos gave to his songsthe beautiful viola solo by Dan Weinstein (who also plays trombone on other tracks) on "Tunji can still cause goose bumps even after repeated hearings.
Acknowledgement deserves a listen by any serious Cubop fan, or perhaps could serve as an alternative for that party you've been planning for so long.
Track Listing: Manhattan Mozambique; Cuando Baila Ramon; Song For Jud; A Love Supreme -
Acknowledgement; Motivos de Jazz; Songoro; Runji; Chango's Jazz; Soy Lucumi; Evelyn;
Equinox; Chango's Charanga; Drum Dance.
Personnel: Frank Fontaine Jr: tenor, baritone, and soprano saxophones, guiro; Danny Weinstein:
trombone, violin, viola; Theo Saunders: piano; Eliseo Borrero: bass; Robertito Melendez:
quintom, bell; Jud Matos: clave; Bobby Matos: congas, timbales; Eliott Caine: trumpet;
Denise Cook: vocals, track 2; Andy Harlow: flute (3); Ismael Carlo: vocals (3,9); Rogelio
Mitchell: coro (3).