Born in Peru and raised in Miami, Tony Succar has been steeped in the sounds and traditions of Latin music practically since birth. Still in his 20s and comfortably ensconced as an Artist-in-Residence at Florida International University, the versatile percussionist / pianist has worked with worked with the likes of Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres, Ed Calle, and Tito Puente Jr., to name a few. While De One Sessions Live, Volume 1 features Mixtura, a fiery, homegrown, all-instrumental Latin jazz band, Succar's previous recordings include two discs that address the musical legacy of Michael Jackson from a Latin / Tropical music perspective. Rest assured, pop trappings are kept well at bay on De One Sessions Live, Volume 1. The music here is pure, hard driving Latin jazz. Instead of issuing a full-length album, Succar has released a two-disc package consisting of a CD-EP and a DVD of the band performing the same tracks in the studio. It's an unusual, and perhaps a tad risky approach for a new, unknown band.
The sound and feel of Succar y Mixtura will be familiar to Latin jazz fans conversant with the work of artists such as Poncho Sanchez, Conjunto Libre, and Tito Puente. Though the musical selections seem hardly surprising or innovative, Succar and Mixtura's spirited renditions crackle with strong ensemble playing, driving rhythms, and energetic improvisations. This is well thought-out and beautifully constructed music that could fill a dance floor or provide pure listening pleasure. Their cover of Herbie Hancock's "Eye of the Hurricane" leaps out of the starting blocks with a percussive flourish, and serves as a showcase for Hery Paz' excellent tenor saxophone work. The oft-covered "Caravan" benefits from a couple of unexpected codas and a subtly imaginative arrangement heavy on the low end brass. A rapid succession of brief solos by baritone saxophonist Oscar Dudamel, trumpeter Jesus Mato, Paz (on flute) and pianist Mauricio Quiros keeps the juice flowing as the percussionists take over the back end of the tune. Quiros' reflective piano solo imparts a laid-back Tropical vibe to Tony Perez' "La Danza." The piece quickly picks up momentum thanks to the intricate bongo-centric percussion and Yorgis Goiriceleya's propulsive 5- string bass work. The remaining tracks are Latin jazz classics penned by veteran pianist and arranger Oscar Hernandez. "Decision" is a funky up-tempo piece with fine jazzy solos by Quiros and Paz. The mellow "El Morro" has a hooky melody and another fine flute solo by Paz.
De One Sessions Live, Volume 1 is an excellent straight-ahead Latin Jazz effort by a band that should turn some heads.
Eye of the Hurricane; Caravan; Decision; El Morro; La Danza.
Tony Succar: timbales, cajon; Jesus Mato: trumpet; Hery Paz: tenor
saxophone, flute; Jorge Dobal Jr.: trombone; Yorgis Goiricelaya: bass;
Mauricio Quiros: piano; Oscar Dudamel: baritone saxophone (2); Michael
Lozana, Diego Camacho, and Jose “Majito” Aguilero: conga, bongo, guiro,
percussion; Alexandra Alban: djembe (2).
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