Chris Washburne & The SYOTOS Band: Low Ridin'

Dan Bilawsky By

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Originals, Latin classics, and the occasional standard appear on this outfit's five previous albums, all of which were released on the Jazzheads imprint. But a new day has dawned with Low Ridin', as venerable trombonist Chris Washburne and his smoking Latin ensemble arrive at a new label—Zoho Roots—and take a new tack, delivering a program of Latin-ized Classic Rock songs.

Almost all of the material presented here, save for saxophonist Ole Mathisen's "SYOTOMON," should be familiar to anybody who hasn't been living under a rock for the past forty years. The music of Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and the other individuals and groups covered here imprinted on many who came of age during the '60s, '70s, and beyond. That same music happened to be the soundtrack of Washburne's youth, so it's not really such a stretch for him to bring it into his orbit. Here, with the help of his longstanding band, he merges psychedelic sounds and Latin ideals, creating a hybridized style dubbed "Acid Mambo" in the doing.

In nearly every case, Washburne and company manage to resurface and retrofit these songs to suit their style while still retaining the essence of the originals. "Feelin' Alright" may take on mambo characteristics, "Get Up, Stand Up" might blend reggae and Cuban son, and "Walk On The Wild Side" may be grafted onto guaguanco rhythms, but all feel natural as can be since they still speak to their true selves. That's even the case on a song like "Kashmir," cleverly arranged with overlaid odd meters, and on "Stairway To Heaven/Heaven," a marriage of Led Zed Zeppelin's immortal hit and Duke Ellington's sacred music.

While the numbers skew toward the rhythm side here, with a drummer, a bassist, a guitarist, a pianist, and three percussionists, the three horn players—Washburne, Mathisen, and trumpeter John Walsh—more than make up for that imbalance. With interlocking rhythms, unison passages, and crisscrossing riffs, they create scintillating sonic strata above the percolating rhythmic layer(s). Nothing overstays its welcome here, as Washburne knows exactly what he can and can't get out of each song, and everything is built with good vibes and energy. There's never really a lull here, as Chris Washburne and The SYOTOS Band ride high from start to finish.

Track Listing: Feelin' Alright; Low Rider; Get Up, Stand Up; Stairway To Heaven/Heaven; Manic Depression; Ohio; Walk On The Wild Side; Break On Through (To The Other Side); Kashmir; Sugar Mountain; SYOTOMON.

Personnel: Chris Washburne: trombone; John Walsh: trumpet; Ole Mathisen: saxophone; Yeissonn Villamar: piano, keyboards; Leo Traversa: bass; Vince Cherico: drums; Oreste Abrantes: percussion; Roberto Quintero: percussion; Isa Washburne: percussion; August Washburne: percussion.

Title: Low Ridin' | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Zoho Roots


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