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Jane Bunnett: Alma De Santiago

Jim Santella By

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Traditional music from Cuba covers a lot of territory. With vocal soloists and chorus, lively charanga flute features, a stellar jazz saxophone quartet, and a 38-piece percussion ensemble, the session stands on familiar ground. However, this is not mere traditional folkloric music. Bebop jazz and Afro-Cuban actions weave an exciting tale of ceremony and a history of ambassadorial reunions. Whether marching to an ancient cadence or quoting from "Salt Peanuts," the Cuban artists Bunnett has enlisted interact with her flute and soprano saxophone seamlessly. Recorded in Santiago de Cuba, the session offers proof that music is, indeed, THE universal language. Pianist Geovanis Alcántara, trumpeter Carlos Thomas, bassist Roberto Occhipinti and pianist David Virelles stand out for their passionate solo work. Bunnett's leadership serves as a cohesive force. Her fluid saxophone and high-flying flute provide lyrical moods and joyful celebration. "Black Tears," for example, contrasts with "Donna Lee" as an opposing force. Highly unique and carrying the Cuban tradition, the classic up-tempo bebop piece wears clothes of a different texture. "Lágrimas Negras," meanwhile, stirs passionately as a soulful ballad. The title track summarizes Bunnett's intentions by balancing swinging jazz and spiritual Afro-Cuban tradition in equal shares. Recommended, Alma De Santiago casts aside political barriers and lets the people speak freely.

Track Listing: 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

Personnel: 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"

Title: Alma De Santiago | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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