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!
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.