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As far back as the ‘40s and ‘50s, musicians such as Machito and Dizzy Gillespie were developing a fusion of Latin and jazz sensibilities that seemed perfectly natural and ever since the two genres have been perfectly happy bedfellows. But it really all comes down to the rhythmic momentum of the percussion, which mixes so seductively with jazz music’s complex harmonic framework. It’s precisely that kind of vitality that infuses the colorful performances of Trio Mundo, a threesome that features percussionist Manolo Badrena (formerly with Weather Report), guitarist Dave Stryker (a prolific artist with a diverse set of projects including Blue to the Bone) and bassist Andy McKee (a mainstay of the Mingus Big Band).
Badrena is a very prominent voice throughout, laying down a rich and varied rhythmic groove while adding splashes of color and some authentic folk-inflected vocals. Stryker mixes acoustic and electric guitar timbres freely and gets the lion’s share in terms of original compositions. The opening “Carnaval” is a sprightly bossa enriched further by the flute work of special guest Steve Slagle, who also happens to bring his soprano sax along for both “Spirits” and “Rose,” two numbers that are arguably the most jazz oriented.
Badrena’s own “Raveena” sports some earthy vocals by its composer on top of a rocking samba and some superlative Montgomeryish blowing by Stryker, while “Raga” obviously looks to the East with Slagle on bamboo flute and an overall feeling not unlike some of the things that Herbie Mann was concocting during the ‘60s. So true to its namesake, you could say that various styles of ‘world music’ bring their impact on these eleven tracks and Stryker fans will again be amazed at how this criminally neglected guitarist just seems to keep reinventing himself.
Track Listing: Carnaval, Dale Calor, Trio Mundo, Theresa, Spirits, Raveena, Rose, Tres Y Quatro, Crianza, Sunrise, Raga
Personnel: Manolo Badrena (percussion, vocals, guitar), Dave Stryker (guitars), Andy McKee (bass), Steve Slagle (flutes and sax)