337

Michel Camilo: Mano A Mano

Larry Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
With Mano A Mano, Michel Camilo goes hands-to-hands in spirited exchange with conguero Giovanni Hidalgo, surely hearkening back to the pianist's Dominican/Afro-Cuban roots. This approach results in the great pianist tempering his style. His flamboyant virtuosity is mostly restrained; here, he is more subdued than bombastic. His playing, though, is just as effective, but in a different way.

Camilo points out in press notes that Hidalgo plays up to six tuned congas on the CD, resulting in enhanced rhythmic, melodic and harmonic qualities. Rounding out the trio is Charles Flores, a major contributor on bass.

Mano a Mano consists of seven Camilo originals and three standards. The opener, "Yes," sets the pattern with rapid-fire exchanges between Camilo and Hidalgo. Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder" gives Camilo a chance to show off his Latin funk, while on the original "Then and Now," a moody arco bass introduction leads to quiet, reflective group interchange.

The title track rushes forward with echoes of Duke Ellington's "Caravan." Both bass and drums guide Camilo through, balancing the load, closing with a percussion solo, effectively pitched to a high key. The lyrical "You and Me" is framed in subtle samba choro syncopation, popular from early Brazilian music; again it shows off Hidalgo's melodic conga work. "Rice and Beans" features an infectious meringue rhythm in good-time, two-step dance style. Two standards follow, a haunting version of John Coltrane's "Naima," and a reworking of the flowery melody of "Alfonsina y El Mar," a classic from the Latin songbook. The showpiece, though, is "Rumba Pa' Ti," a swirling jazz take on the rumba. Starting slowly, Camilo gradually unleashes his dazzling style, with the drums following suit, building to an explosive finale and fitting conclusion to Mano a Mano.

Track Listing: Yes; The Sidewinder; Then and Now; Mano a Mano; You and Me; Rice and Beans; Naima; No Left Turn; Alfonsina y El Mar; Rumba Pa' Tí.

Personnel: Michel Camilo: piano; Charles Flores: bass; Giovanni Hidalgo: Latin percussion.

Title: Mano A Mano | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: EmArcy


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Prototype" CD/LP/Track Review Prototype
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Right Up On" CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Better Left Unsung" CD/LP/Track Review Better Left Unsung
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Reflections Of A Voice" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections Of A Voice
by Chris Mosey
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "After The Rain" CD/LP/Track Review After The Rain
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 28, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.