Home » Jazz Articles » Mark Weinstein: El Cumbanchero

108
Album Review

Mark Weinstein: El Cumbanchero

By

Sign in to view read count
Mark Weinstein: El Cumbanchero
Exploring music with the intellect of an ethnomusicologist, the imagination of an artist, and the technical savvy and musical know-how to combine the two is no easy feat, but Mark Weinstein is more than capable of pulling it off. For the flautist's latest Latin feast, he turned his attention toward a fusion of jazz and charanga music, a form of Cuban music that features the flute as the lead voice in an ensemble that also contains a string section, percussion, piano and bass, and the results are sophisticated and scintillating.

Fellow flautist Danilo Lozano's enlightening liner notes make mention of the fact that pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba worked with a similar concept on Mi Gran Pasión (Messidor, 1987), but Lozano also makes sure to highlight the fact that Weinstein's work stands apart from the pianist's string-less album because it uses the actual instrumentation associated with charanga. This unique combination of voices can create a raucous party ("El Cumbanchero"), a refined, yet passionate, dance hall dalliance ("Dona Olga"), or a lighthearted affair ("Armoniosos De Amalia"), but each of these numbers share certain space and characteristics with the others, like circles in a Latin Jazz-themed Venn diagram. The only songs that truly stand apart are the two alto flute-and-string-only numbers—a somber and classical-leaning "Perla Marina" and a film score-worthy "Contigo En La Distancia."

While the album's nine tracks pay tribute to Cuban and Puerto Rican composers of note and highlight Weinstein's flute mastery, they also showcase the arranging talents and compositional skills of the leader's chief collaborator on this project, pianist Aruán Ortiz. Ortiz manages to tackle the traditions of charanga without resorting to cliché and his own compositions add another element to the music. His "Av. Pinto Tapiro" and "Danzón De Liz" are breezy and bright, but "Aruancó" proves to be the standout original. The pianist juxtaposes relentless, clattering hand drums against Weinstein's flute, and uses his own piano to create hypnotic, cycling chords and some engrossing solo work.

Weinstein's continued willingness to reach beyond the status quo and explore the neglected tributaries of the wider Latin Jazz river marks him as a true giant of this music, and El Cumbanchero is merely the latest document to prove it.

Track Listing

El Cumbanchero; La Mulata Rumbera; Doña Olga; Aruancó; Av. Pinto Tapiro; Perla Marina; Armoniosos De Amalia; Danzón De Liz; Contigo En La Distancia.

Personnel

Mark Weinstein: concert flute, alto flute, bass flute; Aruán Ortiz: piano; Yunior Terry: bass; Mauricio Herrera: timbales, conga, guiro; Yusnier Sánchez Bustamante: conga (1, 2, 4); Marc Szammer; violin (3, 7- 9); Elena Rojas Crocker: violin (3, 7-9); Francisco Salazar: violin (1, 2, 6); Everhard Parades: violin (1, 2, 6); Samuel Marchán: viola; Aristides Rivas: cello (3, 5, 7-9); Brian Sanders: cello (1, 2, 6).

Album information

Title: El Cumbanchero | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Jazzheads


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

Thoughts & Images
Alex Tremblay
More Touch
Patricia Brennan
Hubub!
Ted Kooshian

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.