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The New York jazz scene is virtually awash these days with sibling pairings of extremely talented young musicians, including the Rodriguez Brothers. Trumpeter Michael and pianist Robert have already earned excellent reputations as highly skilled players for their sideman work; on Conversations, the two prove themselves to be equally capable as composers and co-leaders of their own group, here with Carlos Henriquez and Ricardo Rodriguez splitting bass duties and Antonio Sanchez on drums.
Tenor saxophonist David Sanchez guests on two tracks, but the date is primarily a quartet outing, a somewhat rare configuration for a trumpet-featured group, but one that clearly exhibits the brotherly simpatico and broad harmonic palette they share, giving the unit an impressively large sound that belies its small size. Michael's hard-bopping opener, "Rowdy Rod, displays the influence of Woody Shaw, while Robert's "Guayaquil pays homage to his Latin roots with its Ecuadorian cumbia rhythm. The rest of the date is equally varied. Robert's "Lerida is a beautifully moving jazz waltz sharply contrasted by Michael's incendiary "Rude Awakening, on which Sanchez's burning tenor joins the frontline.
"Spin, composed by Robert, again shows off his sophisticated use of rhythms with its shifting odd meters, while the fugue-like "Intro To Conversations reveals his strong classical background. The title track, by Michael, flows nicely from the prelude and pays tribute to another major influence, trumpeter Tom Harrell. Saxophonist Sanchez rejoins the group for Robert's "Midnight Excursion, a swinging jaunt on top of a Puerto Rican bomba rhythm. The date ends fittingly with an arrangement of the Cuban classic, "El Manicero ("The Peanut Vendor ), on which Michael's muted horn and Robert's spacious chords confirm an original outlook towards the Latin and jazz traditions.
Track Listing: Rowdy Rod; Guayaquil; Lerida; Rude Awakenings; Spin; Intro To Conversations; Conversations; Midnight Excursion; El Manicero (The Peanut Vendor).
Personnel: Robert Rodriguez: piano; Michael Rodriguez: trumpet, flugelhorn; David Sanchez: tenor saxophone (4, 8); Carlos Henriquez: bass (1, 3, 4, 7, 8); Ricardo Rodriguez: bass (2, 5, 6, 9); Antonio Sanchez: drums.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach. I fell in love with it. I wondered around until the owner (Pedro Soto) asked if I needed help. He then introduced me to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan and the rest is history. I walked out of the store with my first jazz recording: Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street.