This New York City-based combo is a self-proclaimed new entry in the Latin jazz marketplace in the Big Apple, "mixing post bop with Afro-Cuban rhythms." After hearing this group's efforts, I think that it would be more at home at The Knitting Factory playing avant-garde jazz than at a Latin/world showcase like S.O.B.'s. Led by Chilean-Cuban drummer Alex Garcia, Afromantra shows that it can play competent Latin jazz but demonstrates a tendency to take it outside on more than a few occasions.
Garcia contributed half of the ten tracks on Alignment. On the appropriately named "Take Out," Schlomi Cohen begins with a frenetic tenor sax solo that tries to channel late period Coltrane, while Guy David redeems things with a punchy trumpet solo. The two then meet in full cry on this eight minute excursion. "Eastern Spice" is a similar experience with outside statements from both David and Cohen. Fain & Webster's "Secret Love" starts off as a bolero but quickly gets sidetracked by piano and percussion interludes before returning to a montuno. "Transparencies" is performed as a samba on the melody line and could pass as bossa on a blindfold test with Lori Cotler's vocalese/scatting, but the tempo shifts to a Latin pulse for the piano/percussion bulk of the track.
There are typically many tempo changes during the course of this album, and Garcia may be confusing the technique as ground-breaking stuff that separates them from the pack. I would much rather hear at least a few numbers played through at a fixed pace. These guys have shown that they can play bebop and salsa – but not necessarily at the same time.
Track Listing: Afromantra(Prologue), Whenever the Need is Greatest, Blues Cha, Take Out, Transparencies, Secret Love, Eastern Spice, We Apologize for the Inconvenience, Afromantra(Finale).
Personnel: Alex Garcia, drums, percussion; Schlomi Cohen, tenor sax; Guy David, trumpet,flugelhorn; Lori Cotler, vocals; Enrique Haneine,piano; Toshi Someya,fretless bass; Aryam Vasquez,congas, percussion.
Year Released: 2003
| Record Label: Mambo Maniacs
| Style: Latin/World
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.