The CD cover art depicts a well-dressed Latin man sitting on a stool with an acoustic guitar in his hand, looking at sheet music. Imagery of a softly performed Spanish serenade comes to mind. However, reality dictates that the band’s overall scope and manner of execution is quite a bit more - all encompassing. What this quintet effectively does, is to merge Andean folk, North Indian classical, Latin and jazz with an organic feel that also packs a wallop! They’re really a quintet, yet their moniker has a certain, romantic tinge to it. A primary point of interest resides within the group’s quasi world-beat/jazz interpretations of drummer Jack DeJohnette’s lovely “Silver Hollow,” Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke’s bustling “Song To John,” and more. Electric bassist Alfredo Garcia provides the limber bottom end, whereas percussionists Randy Gloss and Christopher Garcia multitask via their expert employment of ethnocentric instruments. Woodwind ace, Alan Lechusza’s soft and fluently executed oboe work, might spark notions of Paul McCandless’ legacy with the band “Oregon.” The ensemble’s razor-sharp precision is enhanced by its jazzy interludes, lightly rumbling percussion motifs and difficult to navigate, time signatures. With “Todos las estrellas,” the artists’ ingrain a distinct of mysticism into series of cross-cultural rhythmic structures amid Lechusza’s exotic lines, performed on the Thai flute. They effectively meld the music of ancient worlds and faraway places with a contemporary jazz-based groove. And kudos are in order for guitarist Ken Rosser due to his acute multitasking abilities and lyrically charged soloing endeavors. Ultimately, this wonderful outing signifies one of the major surprises of the year! (Passionately recommended)
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