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In the wake of the moribund condition of the fine Naxos Jazz label, Naxos World pick up the slack with an excellent Cubano jazz release by the famous Cuban expatriate Alfredo Rodriguez. Born in Havana in 1936, Rodriguez percolated in that musical melting pot, assimilating classical and jazz influences until 1960 when he moved to Manhattan where he stayed until he migrated to another Cuban–dense community, Miami, where he lived and worked until 1985. Rodriguez has resided in Paris since that time, where he has been a successful bandleader, arranger and composer.
In the present recording, Rodriguez exposes the listener to different flavors of "Latin Jazz." Guarachon ("Con el sabor de la tierra"), Danzon ("El Niche"), and Guaguanco ("Consuelate") all exist on the palette of Latin music. Ellington’s "Caravan" is Afro-Jazz and "All The things You Are" Latin Jazz. A Descarga, "Pa Gozar" is the longest piece on the record and contains a lengthy quotation (albeit a Latin one" of Miles Davis’ "So What." Rodriguez is a superb pianist and singer and leads a very able band through this recital.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.