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Ten years after he recorded his first album, Luis Maria Ochoa and his band, Cimarrón, join guest musicians to make this self-titled third recording. This marriage of originals, a couple of traditional tunes, and music from his native Cuba are fertilized by the band, and the cross-pollination of styles makes for some fine Cuban jazz.
Paquito D'Rivera brings his clarinet along for his bright, snappy composition "To Brenda With Love. D'Rivera brings in whirling changes, ideas coming fast and endearingly, even as he keeps the melody in the sphere of his playing. Ochoa's acoustic guitar falls in beautifully, and with the horns and the percussion adding to the fill, this piece comes off on top of the heap. Ochoa is a lyrical guitarist, but perhaps never more so than when he uses the twelve-string guitar, as on "Days of Wine and Roses. His enunciation injects vitality into this chestnut, a throb given impetus once again by the horns.
Ochoa comes up with a scintillating composition in "Mestizos, which has a seamless blend of flamenco and son rhythms. He is more supple here, but even in that frame he edges it on for a rousing display and then finds the right cohort in Luis Guerra's solid, full-bodied turn on piano. Both Ochoa and his father, Luis Ochoa Sr., sing. Both come together on "Alma Con Alma, introduced by Guido Basso on flugelhorn, who floats over the strings. Ochoa Jr. can be a forceful singer, but here he has all the emotion in check and comes up with a resonant and compelling performance.