Need a jolt? Feel like dancing? Or just need assurance the state of Latin jazz is alive and well? This superb recording should accomplish all of those things in spades. A truly international collective, LJQ sports a Dutch trumpeter, Dutch bassist, Curacao (ian?) pianist, German congero and Cuban drummer. The date opens with "Balor Di Bida", which sounds like the great 60’s Miles Quintet gone Latin, due in no small part to Jarmo Hoogendijk's muted trumpet tone and the fierce but controlled sound of the rhythm section. This is a great composition by pianist Randal Corsen and the ensemble provides interaction, energy and hip solos all around. Speaking of 60’s Miles, Wayne Shorter’s "El Gaucho" is next, and as with most of his music, we’re reminded why Shorter is a master. It’s also apparent right away this isn’t a pick-up group assembled for a recording date - this is a band. They sound so relaxed and unhurried in what they’re doing, like five people working together for the common good, which is, of course what the jazz ensemble is all about. Corsen’s "Porta Marie" reminds me a bit of Blue Mitchell’s "Fungii Mama" - it’s a modern calypso take on "I Got Rhythm", and it feels really good. The rhythm and percussion sections shine on "Israel", John Carisi’s exotic jazz standard in minor. Corsen shines again on his solo intro to "You Go To My Head". This is a soft, melancholy, simply lovely rendition of this well worn standard. The mute’s off the trumpet, the rhythm section is subdued, and it’s a nice contrast. The date closes with a frantic reading of "Be-Bop" that again showcases the ensembles ability to update and arrange pieces to fit their sound and sensibilities. "Bye-Ya" is a little bit of Saturday night courtesy of the Latin Jazz Quintet. Highly recommended.
Personnel: Jarmo Hoogendiijk, trumpet, Randal Corsen, piano, Mick Paauwe, bass, Liber Torriente, drums, Jens Kerkhoff, percussion