Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

108

Mark Weinstein: El Cumbanchero

Dan Bilawsky 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 Aruan 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).

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Jazzheads | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
Read Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
Read Stinger CD/LP/Track Review Stinger
Read Binary CD/LP/Track Review Binary
Read Piano Song CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
Read "In Denmark 1959-1960" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark 1959-1960
Read "Brückenshlag" CD/LP/Track Review Brückenshlag
Read "AMa AZa LaNdO" CD/LP/Track Review AMa AZa LaNdO
Read "Brooklyn Blowhards" CD/LP/Track Review Brooklyn Blowhards
Read "Acceptance" CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
Read "Goran Ivanovic Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Goran Ivanovic Trio

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!