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Nelson Riveros: Camino Al Barrio

Edward Blanco By

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Sometimes referred to as "the jazz capital of the world," New York has always served as the inspiration for the works of many actors, writers and musicians as it does once again for the Nelson Riveros debut Camino Al Barrio. Born in the Big Apple of Colombian parents, guitarist and composer Riveros drew inspiration for the album from his experience while living in the different boroughs of New York.

The album's sizzling opener "Caipirinha," inhabits obvious authentic Brazilian grooves, in a primarily Latin jazz project that also happens to contain a couple of classic standards performed in straight-ahead fashion with a Latin twist. The album features a core quintet of area players that include fellow countryman and Grammy-nominated pianist Hector Martignon and expands the cast with special guests such as Greek vibraphonist Christos Rafalides, a member of the Latin and World music group Manhattan Vibes.

Launching a series of firm riffs in front of drummer Ernesto Simpson and percussionist Samuel Torres, the original percussive "Blue Cha-Cha" is an exciting driving piece of music enjoying fine accompaniment from Rafalides. Jimmy Van Huesen's standard, "Darn That Dream," is awakened to a much livelier tempo and beckons repeated spins, highlighted by some of the guitarist's best chops on the album. Obviously an exceptional guitarist, Riveros demonstrates another one of his talents by voicing the beautiful Luis Demetrio love song, "La Puerta," a song on where Martignon is especially pronounced.

Despite the Spanish title, "Los Primos" does not possess an overtly Latin flavor and qualifies as one of the more straight-ahead numbers, finding Riveros leading the music on electric guitar. At first, "Song for Marta" follows in much the same vein delivering a very contemporary sound, but then reveals its true Latin charm with hard Afro-Cuban rhythms four-and-half-minutes into the tune. "Mis Amores" is a highlight of the disc presenting a duet between Riveros and Rafalides.

Martignon's "Second Chance" is another one of the hard-driving pieces of the album, providing the guitarist with an opportunity to perform like a rock guitarist, while allowing bassist Armando Gola and Martignon (on Fender Rhodes) a little solo space of their own. Finishing off with a swinging rendition of Cole Porter's "It's All Right With Me," Riveros' first project brings to mind the simple words of Andy Harlow, renowned Latin jazz artist of the FANIA Super Salsa Band, and brother of Larry Harlow of the FANIA All-Stars, when referring to this debut as "Lot's of great jazz ...worth the effort...good music here."

Young guitarist and rising Latin jazz artist Nelson Riveros walks through a landscape of Latin, Brazilian and contemporary jazz on Camino Al Barrio; an adventurous debut outing with outstanding musicianship and impressive material sure to bring well-deserved attention.

Track Listing: Caipirinha; Blue Cha-Cha; Darn That Dream; Camino al Barrio; La Puerta; Los Primos; Song For Marta; Mis Amores; Second Chance; It's All Right With Me.

Personnel: Nelson Riveros: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals ( 5 ); Hector Martignon: piano, Fender Rhodes; Armando Gola: bass; Ernesto Simpson: drums; Samuel Torres: percussion; Christos Rafalides: vibrophone ( 2, 4, 8 ); Andres Garcia: tiple ( 6, 8 ).

Title: Camino Al Barrio | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced


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