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It has been ten years since Luis Mario Ochoa's Canadian Latin jazz combo, Cimarrón, recorded its first album. On this new release, the guitarist/vocalist also invites Latin jazz star Paquito D'Rivera and noted trumpeter Guido Basso to join in. Basso spent years recording with Rob McConnell's Boss Brass.
The effort is a mixture of Latin jazz and salsa music. The ten selections consist of five originals, two traditional Cuban songs, two from the Great American Songbook, and a Paquito D'Rivera samba. Half of the tracks include vocals from Ochoa; he duets with his father on the Cuban tune "Alma Con Alma." On Henry Mancini's "Days of Wine and Roses," Ochoa's vocals are in heavily accented English. He is much more comfortable on the Spanish vocals, including the above-mentioned "Alma Con Alma," a moving bolero.
These vocals recall the Golden Age of salsa, in which listeners were encouraged to get up and dance to the pulsing rhythms of the band and vocalist during the second half of the 20th Century. On the remaining tracks, Cimarrón, a nonet, joins invited guests to set up a generous Latin jazz invitation for dancers and casual listeners. Ochoa shows his fluency on guitar through his solo work on "To Brenda With Love" and "Mestizos."
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.