When I began listening to this recording I began to immediately think of some of the things I enjoy most in music - creativity, execution, counterpoint, interplay, feeling and spirited improvisation - and this disc has all of those in abundance as saxophonist Jane Bunnett leads a group of fine musicians through some extremely fresh and extremely rewarding Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz. "Funky Mambo" opens the disc with thirty-two seconds of three saxophones in wonderful counterpoint and as it fades out and into the rousing vocals of "Son Santiaguero" you get the feeling you’re walking down a street in Cuba or Porta Vallarta and hearing bits and pieces of different street bands. The interplay and counterpoint hinted at in "Funky Mambo" is brought to fruition in the opening section of "Almendra". The expert arranging of the unaccompanied horns here is an aurul delight, and when the rhythm section finally joins it only adds to the experience of a fully conceived and well thought out idea. "Jane And Los Hoyos" is a trip deep into the heart of delight - the rhythm section simply sets this joint on fire! I can’t remember the last time I was so happy to hear "Donna Lee", given new life here by the unrelenting mambo groove, the hip harmony on the head, and the fine solos...and you’ve never heard a Charlie Parker tune end quite the way this one does here - trust me. The romantic then fiery title track closes this fine date. Grace, style and passion are just a few superlatives I can use to try to describe this excellent music.
1. Funky Mambo 2. Son Santiaguero 3. Almendra 4. Janes And Los Hoyos 5. La Comparsa 6. Camaroncito Seco 7. Lagrimas Negras 8. Donna Lee 9. Mambo Shin Shin 10. Quien Eres Tu? 11. Alma De Santiago
Jane Bunnett: Flute, Soprano Sax. Larry Cramer: Trumpet and Flugelhorn. Carlos Thomas: Trumpet. Geovanis Alcantra: Piano. David Virelles: Piano. Roberto Occhipinti: Bass. Wilfredo Fuentes Cespedes: Congas. Los Jubilados, Santiago de Cuba: Solo Vocals. La Conga de lo Hoyos de Santiago de Cuba: Conga parts (38 percussionists) The Santiago Jazz Saxophone Quartet: Juan Chacon Gonzalez: Soprano Sax, Julio Cesar Gonzalez: Alto Sax, Rey Amaury Burgos Delis: Tenor Sax, Oscar Galan Ruiz: Baritone Sax Special Guest- Eduardo "Tiburon" Morales- Vocals on "Alma de Santiago"