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Ray Obiedo: Latin Jazz Project Vol.2

Pierre Giroux BY

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Ray Obiedo: Latin Jazz Project Vol.2
There is a train of thought which proposes that the beginnings of the modern Latin jazz movement originated with the co-mingling of mambo and bebop. Although there is no empirical evidence to support this proposition, the uptake of the Latin style by boppers such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Herbie Mann gives some credence to the notion. The music presented by guitarist Ray Obiedo in Latin Jazz Project Vol. 2, while grounded in the Latin jazz construct, is delivered in a more contemporary framework.

The musicians romp through seven numbers written by Obiedo and one by jazz master Gerald Wilson. The session starts with a slinky cha cha, "Still Life," that features a guitar solo by Obiedo in an exploratory mode. Pianist Peter Horvath is also given some solo space wherein he exhibits a smartly rugged rhythmic style. Moving along the rhythmic chain, "Chris Cross" is a swirling up-tempo mambo filled with expressive harmonic colouration. David K. Mathews on piano shows he is a precise and lyrical pianist, but the pulsing backbone of the number is provided by Sheila E. on congas.

Tenor saxophonist Bob Mintzer is featured on two tracks each with a different rhythm style. The first is a cha cha with the unlikely title "Beatnik" and the other is a mambo, "Uno Dos." On the former, the group is in a sextet formation and consequently Mintzer is able to stretch his supple tenor sound showing respect for the Latin tradition. On the latter number, the group has shifted to a bulked-up tentet with a Cuban flair as steel pans from Paul Hawkins add harmonic interest. Although Mintzer's solo is brief, he shows that he is a tenor saxophonist with smart taste.

The Gerald Wilson composition "Viva Tirado," was originally recorded by the Gerald Wilson Orchestra on the 1962 Pacific Jazz album Moment Of Truth. With its slippery Latin vibe, the chart provides a frame for Obiedo, along with pianist Mathews, flautist Melecio Magdaluyo and trumpeter Mike Olmos to deliver economical yet assertive solos. The final track is "Big World," with an interesting 6/8 time signature. With the band humming along pumping out the Latin beat with earthy textures, both Obiedo and Olmos offer clear precise interjections. On the final out chorus Sheila E. takes a sizzling conga solo. All in all an enthusiastic and rhythmically entrancing soundscape.

Track Listing

Still Life; Criss Cross;Beatnik; Santa Lucia; Belafonte; Uno Dos; Viva Tirado; Big World


Ray Obiedo: guitar; Bob Mintzer: saxophone; Sheila E.: percussion; Nobert Stachel: flute; Mike Olmos: trumpet; Peter Michael Escovedo: bongos; David K. Mathews: piano; Jeff Cressman: trombone; Karl Perazzo: percussion.

Album information

Title: Latin Jazz Project Vol.2 | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Rhythmus Records

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