484

Luis Bonilla: I Talking Now!

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Luis Bonilla: I Talking Now!
The exuberant, New York-based, trombonist Luis Bonilla has been recording as leader since 1998, when he released Pasos Gigantes ("giant steps") on Candid. I Talking Now! is his fourth album. But he is still probably best known for his work with other artists. Currently a member of trumpeter Dave Douglas' Brass Ecstasy, Bonilla began the 1990s with trumpeter Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy and has since worked with a string of illustrious leaders including pianists McCoy Tyner and Toshiko Akiyoshi, trombonist Willie Colon and singer Astrud Gilberto. Much of his experience is in big, or biggish, bands and he is a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and, under the direction of Arturo O'Farrill, the pianist on I Talking Now!, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.

It's a career profile Bonilla shares with the other members of this quintet. All but O'Farrill are known for sideman rather than leader recordings, and all have extensive experience with larger line-ups. Like Bonilla, O'Farrill, saxophonist Ivan Renta, bassist Andy McKee and drummer John Riley are comfortable with the intricate-going-on-tricky charts used on I Talking Now! and each is used to seizing the high ground when it's time to solo. Renta is the relative newcomer, but already the 29 year-old has notched up an impressive work record with straight-ahead and Latin bands.

From Bonilla—who wrote and arranged all tracks—through Riley, this is an ass-kicking band which delivers fiery pieces like "I Talking Now," "Uh Uh Uh," "Fifty Eight" and "Luminescence" with passion and aplomb. Solos are shared equally between trombone, tenor saxophone and piano; bass and drums are in the main concerned with driving things forward, which they do with a power that could propel a space shuttle launch let alone an acoustic jazz quintet. The soloists are more concerned with maintaining cooking heat than extending harmonic boundaries, but O'Farrill introduces enjoyable suggestions of dissonance, in particular on the title track and "Fifty Eight."

The quintet is also at home with more balladic arrangements, and "Closer Still" (inspired by trombonist Bob Brookmeyer's "First Love Song") and "Elis" are among the album's highlights. But the most memorable track is "Triumph," inspired by the late tennis player and AIDS activist, Arthur Ashe. It begins joyously, with supple muscularity, becoming quieter and poignant towards the end. There are touches of electronica, but the chief interest is the ongoing dialog between Bonilla and Renta, which simultaneously evokes an ostinato-driven New Orleans band and one of bassist Charles Mingus' Workshop groups with trombonist Jimmy Knepper. At 5:34 it's one of the shortest tracks, which is a shame.

Track Listing

I Talking Now; Uh Uh Uh; No Looking Back; Closer Still; Fifty Eight; Triumph; Luminiscence; Elis.

Personnel

Luis Bonilla: trombone; Ivan Renta: tenor saxophone; Arturo O'Farrill: piano; Andy McKee: bass; John Riley: drums.

Album information

Title: I Talking Now! | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Planet Arts Records

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read People Flow
People Flow
Erik Verwey
Read Kites and Strings
Kites and Strings
Ben Rosenblum Nebula Project
Read Borrowed From Children
Borrowed From Children
Paul Flaherty / Mike Roberson / Randall Colbourne / James Chumley Hunt

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.