1

Carlos Averhoff Jr.: iQba - Jazz Meets Cuban Timba

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
Carlos Averhoff Jr.: iQba - Jazz Meets Cuban Timba
On iQba, tenor saxophonist Carlos Averhoff Jr. employs a skilled quintet to provide dance-worthy renditions of a series of jazz classics plus an original ballad, all shaped by timba, one of the homegrown musical forms of his native Cuba. It's an effective take on Latin jazz, and provides enough strong musicianship to ensure that Averhoff's challenging arrangements are given their due.

It is evident from the opening bars of the lead track, Wayne Shorter's "Yes or No," that Averhoff is willing to take some chances with this material, as a Steve Coleman-esque polyrhythmic vamp unfolds before the band settles into Shorter's melody—albeit with a distinctly Latin feel, in a departure from the more bop-oriented version on Shorter's JuJu (Blue Note, 1965). Similar change-ups are found on standards like "I Fall in Love Too Easily," as the band plays the tune straight before transitioning into a spicy up-tempo segment where the Cuban flavor is front-and-center; or the closing "What's New," in which Averhoff and trumpeter Alexis Baro alternate in delineating the melody and the saxophonist takes a lovely solo turn, before bassist Nestor Del Prado throws down a thick groove that allows the band to take the track out in a much more danceable direction, with a fitting "Salt Peanuts" quote at the end to honor Dizzy Gillespie, one of the original champions of Averhoff's Cuban jazz aesthetic.

There's plenty of room throughout for Averhoff and his partners to showcase their chops. Averhoff's got an ingratiating tone with lots of dynamic energy and fine upper-register command, heard to terrific effect during his nimble solo on "It Could Happen to You." Pianist Rolando Luna's technique is amenable to the rhythmic twists that are integral to Averhoff's arrangements, so that, whether offering a tasteful solo during Averhoff's affecting ballad "Raquel" or steering Cedar Walton's feisty "Bolivia," he's able to provide whatever is needed. And trumpeter Baro makes an ideal second-horn complement to Averhoff, not to mention getting some excellent solo statements of his own, not the least of which is his sinuous, rhythmically-fluid offering on "Bolivia."

Admittedly, not all of Averhoff's arranging choices work perfectly. Sometimes the timba-inflected segments are uneasily juxtaposed with the straight-ahead moments on these tracks; this is especially noticeable on "It Could Happen to You," where a certain busyness takes over and the piece becomes a little too complex for its own good. And a tune like Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge" loses something vital when it's given the slower tempo at which it's played here, even with the appealing Latin rhythmic scaffolding Averhoff provides for it. But if we're keeping score, Averhoff has more hits than misses on this record, and iQba is a compelling entry among this year's Latin jazz releases.

Track Listing

Yes or No; Raquel; I Fall in Love Too Easily; It Could Happen to You; Paz En Mi Canción; Bolivia; Inner Urge; What’s New.

Personnel

Carlos Averhoff Jr.: tenor sax; Alexis Baro: trumpet; Rolando Luna: piano; Nestor del Prado: bass; Oliver Valdes: drums.

Album information

Title: iQba - Jazz Meets Cuban Timba | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Inner Circle Music

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Earth
Earth
Dave Liebman
Read Urban(e)
Urban(e)
Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra
Read Hiding Place
Hiding Place
Mark Murphy, Folk Artist
Read The Truce
The Truce
Markus Reuter
Read Data Lords
Data Lords
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Read In Igma
In Igma
Pedro Melo Alves
Read Blood Moon
Blood Moon
Ingrid Laubrock + Kris Davis

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.