This album is a winning effort that presents urban Latin jazz, led by pianist Bennett Paster and bassist Gregory Ryan. Grupo Yanqui Rides Again is a solid interpretation of mostly original material proffered up by the leading duo.
The album contains the combination of Latin ideas and the talent of saxophonist Chris Cheek and trumpeter/flugelhornist/percussionist Alex Norris. In addition, hand percussionist Gilad certainly adds the flair of Latin jazz to the sound. For those not previously fond of Cheek's work, he fortunately plays a more ensemble-focused role, and not necessarily as a soloist.
All but two of the compositions are from the pens of Paster and Ryan, with the others being Chick Corea's "Tones for Joan's Bones" and a bolero version of Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge," which provides a refreshing change of pace.
This is the second album from Grupo Yanqui, although it follows several years after the first. Paster and Ryan have updated the musical geographic territory for Grupo Yanqui to include Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and American influenced compositions, all with Latin-tinged arrangements.
The change in repertoire has given Grupo Yanqui a strong base to build from, with the listener being the winner.
Track Listing: Tones for Joan's Bones; The Unabonger; The Chick From Panama; If Woody Had
Gone Right To The Police...; El Vaquero Numero Cinco; The Kid From Albuquerque; Chelsea Bridge; Pomoafromofojo intro; Pomoafromofojo.
Personnel: Bennett Paster: piano; Gregory Ryan: acoustic and electric bass; Chris Cheek: tenor and alto sax; Alex Norris: trumpet, flugelhorn, clave, chekere; Keith Hall: drums; Gilad: percussion.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.