Reared and educated in Cuba, bassist Charles Flores migrated to the US and evolved into a first-call session artist for saxophonist David Sanchez and flautist Dave Valentine among many others. Sadly, Flores' debut solo endeavor is a posthumous release as he succumbed to cancer on August 22, 2012. Yet it's a luminous testament to his holistic musicality. With impressive chops and knowing when to employ restraint, Flores is the traffic director on these invigorating and often Latin-tinged, multihued jazz-fusion pieces. Moreover, the first-rate band draws upon his energy and manifold compositional frameworks. Hence, the album signifies a commemorative inscription to Flores' discernible commitment and all-embracing scope.
Other than his leadership roles, jazz and jazz-fusion guitar hero Wayne Krantz lends his wares on two tracks and lights a firestorm on "Street Walk," where Flores broadly underscores the medium-tempo in-the-pocket motif, spiked with odd-metered unison runs, alternating flows and scorching breakouts. Krantz dishes out a rather animated search and conquer mission, tinted with high-strung blues lines and engineered with climactic overtures. The band tenders conflicting metrics, where burly momentum breaks out into fluent excursions. At times Flores' pliant bottom along with drummer Cliff Almond's polyrhythmic flurries spawns a barnstorming outlook, subsided on a clement note via Elio Villafranca's unassuming synth passage, leading to the finale.
Even though the album is marked by sad circumstances, this celebratory rendezvous gains additional steam on repeated listens, serving as a testament to Flores' unwavering devotion to his craft.
Track Listing: Impressions Of Graffiti; Gentle Words; Street Walk; Broken Image; Carlito's Way; Driving Through; Miriam; Influence; The Whole Train; Back On The Wall; Persecusion.
Personnel: Charles Flores: bass; Elio Villafranca: piano, keyboards; Richard Padron: guitar; Cliff Almond: drums; Wayne Krantz: guitar (3, 6); Manuel Valera: keyboards (9), percussion programming.
I was first exposed to jazz by my high school girlfriend's father. On the one hand he was the school's Vice Principal, on the other
he was a big Miles Davis fan. He gave me my first jazz record, Miles at the Blackhawk.