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August 2006

AAJ Staff By

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Jazz at Lincoln Center's Latin In Manhattan Festival kicked off with an engagement at Dizzy's Club by amazing Chilean vocalist Claudia Acuña. On opening night (Jul. 11th), Acuña led her quintet, featuring Jason Lindner (piano and keyboards), Juancho Herrera (guitars), Omer Avital (bass) and Clarence Penn (drums and percussion), through a bilingual set that blended originals with modern classics from North and South America, opening the show with a stirring version of Gary McFarland's Donny Hathaway hit "Sack Full of Dreams". "Colores de un Sueno" began with the group clapping flamenco rhythms to Avital's powerful bass before Acuña and the band opened up with a fiery intensity rarely heard on a singer's stage. They followed with Victor Jara's Nueva Cancion anthem "El Derecho de Vivir en Paz" and two potent originals by Acuña, the dreamy "Tulun" and a gospel-blues tinged "In the Morning". Acuña recited the English translation of Jara's "El Cigarito" prior to her passionate singing of the lyric, ending it on a whimsical note. Her introduction to the classic bolero "Sueno Contigo" spoke of the melody's South American origin and later popularity in the US, revealing its secret by interpolating the song's English title ("What a Difference a Day Makes") into her reading of the Spanish lyric. A boisterous ovation following the set's closer, "Sueno Contigo", brought the band back to do a third Jara piece—the moving "Te Recuerdo Amanda"—for an encore.

Steve Wilson returned to the Village Vanguard with his quintet featuring pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Ed Howard, drummer Adam Cruz and special guest trumpeter Terell Stafford for a week of hard driving jazz. The saxophonist started off his second set Friday night (Jul. 7th) on soprano, playing his "Joyful Noise for JW", a dedication to the late James Williams. Wilson soloed first with grace and taste, followed by Stafford, who began deliberately and built to a fiery climax. Barth swung mightily with Howard and Cruz complementing him dynamically before the horns returned, weaving their notes around each other's and ending harmoniously. Wilson switched to flute for Barth's exciting "Almost Like The First", on which the composer had the first solo, initially swinging straight ahead and then pounding with Tynerish intensity. Wilson soloed lyrically; Stafford started off relaxed, then took off with some daring pyrotechnics, followed by Howard's melodic bass showcase. Stephen Scott's "For The Broken Hearted", with Wilson on alto and Stafford on flugelhorn, was joined to Johnny King's "Cochabomba" with a percussion interlude that had the band clapping hands rhythmically to introduce the Cruz drum solo that began the up-tempo samba featuring flute and flugelhorn. A gripping a cappella alto introduction brilliantly opened Monk's "Ask Me Now", Wilson ending the tune with a solo cadenza that segued beautifully into his "Blues For Marcus" to conclude the set.

~ Russ Musto


Recommended New Listening:

· Chris Byars Octet—Night Owls (Smalls Records)

· Bob Gallo—Wake-Up Call (s/r)

· Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet - Way Out East (Songlines)

· Houston Person with Bill Charlap - You Taught My Heart to Sing (HighNote)

· Reuben Rogers—The Things I Am (Renwick Entertainment)

· Helen Sung—Helenistique (Fresh Sound-New Talent)

~ David Adler, NY@Night Columnist

· Thomas Chapin—Ride (Playscape)

· Mei Han/Paul Plimley—Ume (Improvisations for Zheng and Piano) (Za Discs)

· Daniel Levin Quartet—Some Trees (Hat Hut)

· Harry Miller's Isipingo - Which Way Now (Cuneiform)

· Mold—Rotten in Rodby (Ilk Music)

· Ed Thigpen—In Copenhagen 1973-'74: Resource/Action Reaction (Sonet-Stunt)

~ Laurence Donohue-Greene, Managing Editor, AllAboutJazz-New York

· Charles Gayle Trio - Live at Glenn Miller Café (Ayler)

· Dennis Gonzalez' Boston Project - No Photograph Available (Clean Feed)

· The Thing—Action Jazz (Smalltown Superjazz)

· Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra - New Magical Kingdom (Clean Feed)

· Misja Fitzgerald Michel - Encounter (No Format/Sunnyside)

· Bobby Zankel's Warriors of the Wonderful Soul - Ceremonies of Forgiveness (Dreambox Media)

~ Bruce Gallanter, Proprietor, Downtown Music Gallery

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