All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

339

Willie Martinez: After Winter, Spring

Russ Musto By

Sign in to view read count
The sophomore effort from the Latin jazz drummer Willie Martinez's La Familia Sextet, After Winter, Spring, is a bright and breezy journey into tipico territory marked by tight arrangements of melodically appealing original compositions and arrangements over a wide variety of swinging Afro-Caribbean rhythms. An experienced pro with tenures under the leadership of Chico O'Farrill, Hilton Ruiz and Norman Hedman, to name only a few, Martinez has assembled a band of similarly seasoned associates to make his own engaging brand of music, proving himself to be just as capable a leader as he is a sideman.

The sextet is distinguished by its bottom-heavy frontline featuring baritone saxophonist Max Schweiger (best known for his work with the Chico O'Farrill Orchestra) and trombonist J. Walter Hawkes (a veteran of JC Hopkins Biggish Band). Martinez is joined in the rhythm section by pianist Misha Tsiganov (a colleague from Hedman's Tropique), along with bassist Jennifer Vincent, newcomer conguero Cristan Rivera and, on a few tracks, returning percussionist Renato Thoms.

Martinez' lyrical originals comprise half of the disc's eight selections, including the buoyantly bopping title track and the sizzling samba "Para Los Bravos." On the salsafied "Cayey," a dedication to his grandfather, the leader acknowledges his Puerto Rican roots, employing a tipica plena rhythm featuring Thoms' pandeiros while on "Helen," a memorial to his late mother, he reveals his more romantic side. Two more pieces come from band members. Schweiger's "Willie's Blues," the band's new theme song, is somewhat reminiscent of Dizzy Gillespie's Latin- influenced work while Tsiganov's closer "Anthony" (dedicated to the late Tony Williams) recalls Bud Powell's "Un Poco Loco." On the remaining pair of tracks—Martinez' arrangement of Bobby Hebb's pop classic "Sunny" and Hector Martignon's orchestration of the Pepe Delgado bolero "Cosas de Alma"—the leader also proves himself to be a capable vocalist, in both English and Spanish.

Track Listing: After Winter, Spring; Willie's Blues; Sunny; Para Los Bravos; Cosas Del Alma; Cayey; Helen; Anthony.

Personnel: Willie Martinez: drums and vocals; Cristan Rivera, Renato Thoms: percussion; Misha Tsiganov: piano; Jennifer Vincent: bass; Max Schweiger: baritone sax and flute; J. Walter Hawkes: trombone.

Title: After Winter, Spring | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Grime Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read (Willisau) 1991 Studio CD/LP/Track Review
(Willisau) 1991 Studio
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Tradition CD/LP/Track Review
Tradition
by Chris May
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Life Anthem CD/LP/Track Review
Life Anthem
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Closer To Home CD/LP/Track Review
Closer To Home
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 20, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "New Standards" CD/LP/Track Review New Standards
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 17, 2018
Read "Fire With Fire" CD/LP/Track Review Fire With Fire
by Gareth Thompson
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "Sun Embassy" CD/LP/Track Review Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read "Passin' Thru" CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Little Giant Still Life" CD/LP/Track Review Little Giant Still Life
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Gol" CD/LP/Track Review Gol
by James Nadal
Published: July 28, 2017