205

Bryan Vargas & : Afro Latino Soul

Jason Crane By

Sign in to view read count
Bryan Vargas & : Afro Latino Soul Latin jazz comes in all flavors. Boundary-pushing artists such as Omar Sosa and Bill Frisell are exploring Latin music in a way that implies the music's ethnic roots rather than stating them overtly. These experiments are often rewarding, always challenging, and occasionally danceable.

On the flip side of the coin are those players who are moving forward by digging deep into the roots of Latin jazz and salsa, trying to fit the new musical ideas of the 21st century into the tight grooves and engaging vocals of the '70s.

Case in point: Bryan Vargas & ¡Ya Esta!, whose new CD, Afro Latino Soul, features 58 minutes of solid playing and exciting solos that take you back to the days when Latin jazz was fun and the parties went till all hours of the night.

Pianist and bandleader Arturo O'Farrill—son of Cuban legend Chico O'Farrill—produced the CD and plays on one track. Most of the musicians are new to me, but I don't think they'll stay underground for long. Vargas in particular is a commanding presence when he solos, and he's smart enough to know that keeping the groove going is an important part of his job, too.

The standout soloist on Afro Latino Soul is trumpeter Matt Hilgenberg, who channels the vibe of "Chocolate" Armenteros with his playing on tunes like the Vargas originals "United" and "El Sonido." He screams when he needs to scream, and glides when he needs to glide.

In addition to a heaping helping of very strong Vargas compositions, the album also cements its classic salsa roots with tunes from several heavyweights, including Eddie Palmieri ("Vamanos Pal Monte") and Arsenio Rodriguez ("No Me Llores").

All in all, Afro Latino Soul is an engaging debut record by a band with a lot of promise. Recommended.

Track Listing: United, Obatala, No Me Llores, Guerreros Africanos, La Comunidad, As Warm As The Sun, Vamanos Pal Monte, Lagrimas Negras, El Sonido

Personnel: Bryan Vargas (guitars, coro & lead vocals), Ernesto Abreu (congas, clave & coro), Matt Baranello (trap drums, chekere & coro), Matt Hilgenberg (trumpet, flugelhorn, guiro & coro), Toshi Someya (bass & coro), Jorge Vazquez (bongo, campana & coro), with special guests Arturo O'Farrill (piano on "No Me Llores"), Sandra Garcia Rivera (coro on "Lagrimas Negras" )

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Mofongo Music | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Two CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Taking Direction" CD/LP/Track Review Taking Direction
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "Proximity" CD/LP/Track Review Proximity
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "Ripple" CD/LP/Track Review Ripple
by Bob Kenselaar
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter Compositions" CD/LP/Track Review Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter...
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 13, 2016
Read "Without All the Chatter" CD/LP/Track Review Without All the Chatter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Forgive and Forget" CD/LP/Track Review Forgive and Forget
by Edward Blanco
Published: January 9, 2017
comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!