Filipino-Canadian bassist/composer Chris Trinidad has an eclectic discography. His previous album Chris Trinidad's Chant Triptych II (Iridium Records, 2018) presented arrangements of Gregorian chant, drawing on musical traditions from around the world. He has also recorded Latin music, as on Chris Trinidad's Certain Times (Iridium Records, 2015). But this album is Latin jazz all the way. Appropriately, Trinidad composed these songs while working on cruise ships in the Caribbean. Having played a lot of Latin music from the beginning of his playing career in San Francisco, he has previously worked with many of the players on this album. The key band member is pianist Christian Tumalanleader of the Grammy-award winning Pacific Mambo Orchestrawho was responsible for arranging this music.
Trinidad's notes make interesting reading. He often mentions the names of the cruise ships where he was previously employed (fanciful names like Grandeur of the Seas), musical influences, and the Latin music/dance style used in the arrangement. The set opens with "Luna Nueva En Mi Mente (New Moon In Mind)" a timba/funk rhythm featuring trombonist Jeff Cressman and trumpeter Bill Ortiz. "Ojos Abiertos (Eyes Open)" is the first of three vocal selections. Beginning with a charanga, it moves to a timba featuring vocalists Juan Luis Perez and Christelle Durandy. "Tigres Blancos Y Elefantes Grises (White Tigers And Grey Elephants," which form a central element in the cover painting) shows Trinidad in a rare solo role, along with tenor saxophonist Tony Peebles and pianist/arranger Tumalan.
"Llegando A La Razón (Arrive To Reason)" is a lyrical bolero which features a longer solo from the composer, as well as a flute solo from Tod Dickow and another from trumpeter Ortiz. "Principios De La Causalidad (The Principles Of Causality)" is notable for being one of Trinidad's first jazz compositions, not that it sounds like it here, especially the fast mambo section. The program closes with another vocal, a Puerto Rican plena with some elements of Cuban son. A swinging, melodic conclusion to an enjoyable collection of music. Regardless of their stylistic origins these tunes work beautifully in these Latin jazz arrangements, in the hands of these capable musicians.
Luna Nueva En Mi Mente (New Moon In Mind); Ojos Abiertos (Eyes Open); Tigres Blancos Y Elefantes Grises (White Tigers And Grey Elephants); Llegando A La Razón (Arrive To Reason); La Esencia De La Intención (Essence Of The Intention); Principios De La Causalidad (The Principles Of Causality); Hasta Entonces, Mi Amigo (Until Then, My Friend); Espíritu Del Antiguo Sol (Old Sun In Spirit).
Chris Trinidad: bass guitar; Christian Tumalan: piano; Carlos Caro: congas, bongo, güiro and chekere; Colin Douglas: timbal kit, clave and bells; Bill Ortiz: trumpet (1, 4, 6–8); Jeff Cressman: trombone (1, 6–8); Jamie Dubberley: trombone (2–5); Tony Peebles: tenor saxophone (3, 6); Anthony Blea: violin (2, 3, 5); Tod Dickow: flute (2–5); Juan Luis Perez: voice (2, 5, 8); Christelle Durandy: voice (2, 5, 8).