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This CD is a real pleasure. The Armando Rodriguez and Victor Rendon Latin Jazz Orchestra combines the brassiness and broad sound palatte that's possible with a jazz big band with the swaying, intoxicating sensuousness of genuine Afro-Cuban rhythms. It's the next step along the musical path established by the likes of Mario Bauza, Machito, Tito Puente and Mongo Santamaria. It's successful both as a good dance record and as a listening experience for it's own sake. Another factor in the success of the recording is the arrangements; four are by veteran Chico O'Farrill, the other six are by either or both of the leaders. The repertoire draws from composers such as Chick Corea, Horace Silver, Kenny Dorham, and Jimmy Rowles, but the arrangers craft the charts to skillfully fit the band's personality.
Trumpeter Rodriguez and drummer/timbalero Rendon met while attending North Texas State, and after a decade of sideman work, formed this band in the early 90s. They've performed around New York ever since. Numerous latin jazz heavyweights and New York studio pros lend their talents to the proceedings, but never at the expense of the overall band sound. Check it out - this is the real thing!
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.