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 met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!