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Chris Washburne and the Syotos Band: Nuyorican Nights

Glenn Astarita By

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Featuring a who's who of the New York Latin-Jazz scene, trombonist Chris Washburne and the 'Syotos Band' serve up some hot and juicy salsa along with strong doses of Afro-Cuban rhythms. In case you wondered, 'Syotos' means: 'see you on the other side' as Mr Washburne was diagnosed with nerve cancer seven years ago yet thankfully and somewhat remarkably dodged a 50-50 chance of survival with a full recovery. On Nuyorican Nights Washburne and his band perform with vigor and vengeance guiding the listener through a series of strong and decisively entertaining compositions written by Washburne and/or various members of the band.

A powerful trombonist, who possesses a flair for melody and lyricism, Washburne has performed with a relatively disparate bunch of well-known jazz artists. Whether providing support for Latin timbale-bandleader legend Tito Puente or modern jazz luminaries Muhal Richard Abrams and Roscoe Mitchell, Washburne brings a tremendous amount of experience and savvy to the table.........Washburne and trumpeter John Walsh sound larger than life on the title track, 'Nuyorican Nights' and along with saxophonist Ole Mathisen perform bright, melodic and overall gutsy charts displaying discipline and sharp shooter style techniques yet the vibe is somewhat loose atop the sprightly Afro-Cuban rhythms. The 'traditional' piece, 'Arkan/Siretsi Yares Doran' features more of Walsh' fat, brassy sound on trumpet amid ebullient choruses. Here, pianist Barry Olsen stretches out with some nifty soloing which traverses Jazz & Latin as Olsen's delicious single note runs and rhythmically structured block chords underscores the punctual and up-front horn arrangement. The crafty bassist Harvie Swartz maintains the somewhat soft pulse along with the equally adept drumming/percussion of Vince Cherico, Bobby Sanabria and Wilson Corniel. Washburne shapes the tone of this piece with smooth lyrical soloing and clever phrasing ' and sings a song with every note. A big band style 'clave' motif surfaces on 'Huracan' complete with fiery yet charming horn charts and captivating rhythms as the ensemble 'groove and move' while sustaining nuance and performing in diligent fashion. While the arrangements are generally explosive and highly charged, Washburne and co. perform with verve and elegance, which emits somewhat of an even-tempered feel.

Chris Washburne celebrates the joys of life as he beats a serious illness and quite frankly it shows in radiant fashion on Nuyorican Nights. Along with a top notch ensemble, Washburne's positive up-beat attitude is reflected throughout this fine recording which could serve as a paradigm for all of us....Appreciate life and those who surround us and it will be reflected in your work, regardless of your profession. Mr. Washburne's music is a prime example of that notion!


Personnel: Chris Washburne; Trombone, Tuba, Percussion: John Walsh; Trumpet: Ole Mathisen; Tenor Saxophone: Barry Olsen; Piano & Percussion: Harvie Swartz; Bass: Vince Cherico; Drums: Wilson ?Chembo? Corniel; Congas & Shekere: Bobby Sanabria; Timbales, Bongos & Percussion.

Title: Nuyorican Nights | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Jazzheads


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