All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
Paquito D'Rivera on soprano and alto saxophones and clarinet, longtime Spyro Gyra contributor Dave Samuels on vibes and marimba, and steel pan master Andy Narell. Each of these players are leaders in their own right, with impressive discographies of solo and group work, but when they come together in this band, magic happens. While Cuban ex-patriate D-Rivera is the only actual Latino among the leaders, Samuels and Narell have cultivated sufficient experience in and love for Caribbean music that they are able to compose and perform in the genre expertly and beautifully.
The program is a unique hybrid of American jazz and various Latin influences. Plus, the aural combination of vibes, steel drums, and clarinet or sax is quite uniquely satisfying. When D'Rivera performs on clarinet, the pieces often add classical influences into the mix as well.
This is their second release, and it lives up to the standards and promise of their eponymous debut release. This time around, the original six musicians remain (other band members play piano, bass, and drums) and the services of a percussionist are added, to excellent effect. All of the other band members perform well, but special mention should be made of Peruvian pianist Dario Eskenazi. He contributes an educated, emotive composition, well-executed solos, and supportive accompaniment. It's difficult to garner much notice with a front line such as this, but watch for some excellent music from this guy in the years to come.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.