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Gabriel Alegria: Nuevo Mundo

Elliott Simon By

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The latest buzz in New York City world music is jazz of the Afro-Peruvian variety. The newly opened Tutuma Social Club on 56th Street is slaking jazz's insatiable thirst for new symbiotic styles courtesy of musical director and trumpeter Gabriel Alegria. Nuevo Mundo has his sextet and an assortment of invited guests meeting the music head on, embracing its rhythmic complexity and focus on the cajon, a wooden box-like drum. Cajonistas, and Alegria has one of the best in the extraordinary Freddy 'Huevito" Lobaton, tap out rhythms with their hands, underpinning the wonderfully delicate sound.

Tenor saxophonist Laurandrea Leguia, acoustic guitarist Yuri Juarez, bassist Joscha Oetz and drummer Hugo Alcazar complete the sextet. The result is an oft times breezy and alternatively funky vibe that encounters bop and modern jazz on very amicable terms. CD opener "Buscando a Huevito" invites trombonist Bill Watrous and trumpeter Bobby Shew into the mix for some lovely harmonies before Alegriía's vampy trumpet contrasts against Juarez's lovely guitar and a delicate rhythmical backdrop offers a singular version of "Summertime." "El Norte" uses the chords from "Take Five" in the context of a quick festejo rhythm that has guest Tierney Sutton vocalizing the melody and Oetz hypnotically reconnoitering the original. "Las Hijas Del Sol" benefits from Russell Ferrante's soulful modern keyboards.

"El Sur" is a forum for Alegiía's beautiful tone until Lobaton works his magic against intriguing Juarez guitar chords for an engaging percussive respite. More energetic bop waits on "Piano De Patio Y Bongo" before "El Mar" closes things out with luscious flugelhorn and broad soundscape. What Alegria has artfully done on Nuevo Mundo is combine this rich indigenous sound with jazz in a way that maintains the elegance of the latter while opening it up through the former's harmonics and improvisation.

Track Listing: Buscando a "Huevito"; Summertime; El Norte; Las Hijas Del Sol; El Sur; Piano De Patio Y Bongo; El Mar.Buscando a "Huevito"; Summertime; El Norte; Las Hijas Del Sol; El Sur; Piano De Patio Y Bongo; El Mar.

Personnel: Gabriel Alegria: trumpet, flugelhorn; Freddy "Huevito" Lobaton: percussion (cajon, cajita, quijada de burro), zapateo dancing; Laura Andrea Leguia: tenor saxophone; Hugo Alcazar: drums, percussion. Joscha Oetz: acoustic bass; Walter "Jocho" Velasquez: acoustic guitar; Bobby Shew: trumpet; Bill Watrous: trombone; Lisa Harriton: vocals; Tierney Sutton: vocals; Russell Ferrante: keyboards.

Title: Nuevo Mundo | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Saponegro Records

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