Viva La Musica. Pregnant with percussion, Boperation is a standards light beam passed through a Latin prism. The result is an infectious salsa slant on hallowed music ably directed by trumpeter Ray Vega. Vega chooses carefully songs composed by ostensibly his greatest influences if not those he recognizes for the necessary artists the are (were). His tone is at once Miles, Birks, and Clifford. Oh, how brilliant and what a start to hear, like a dream where you talk on the phone with that long gone relative you loved so much.
I Bow to You... There are some things expected and some surprises. Freddie Hubbard’s convoluted “Hubtones” and Dizzy’s “Birk’s Works” are nothing new as are Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud” and Art Farmer’s “Whisper Not”, or Miles “Blue in Green/Four”. The surprises are Kenny Dorhams’s “Lotus Blossom” and Lee Morgan’s “Mr. Kenyatta”. All are played with either a bouncy Latinesque personality or a temperamental Spanish ballad machismo. Add the wiry mix of Steve Kahn’s guitar and Joe Locke’s full-bodied vibes to these standards with Vega’s superb rhythm section and you have a winner. Great Production.