Pan Con Bistec –akin to a steak sandwich– is a laborer’s staple among Spanish Caribbean populations. Accordingly, Bobby Ramírez doesn’t seek Latin Jazz gourmets on this compact disc. All items in the menu are familiar, as is their presentation and service. He’s an enterprising journeyman who gives you all he’s got, daring to be the junior leader amidst seniors. Ramírez responds and interrelates with them with a kind of sax and flute playing, as well as writing, that responds to the musical equivalent of a manual work ethic. There are no artifices or gutted corners here, just plenty of feeling on everyone’s part, and enjoyment of making music together.
The rumbling bass playing of Ramsés Colón; the comping, soloing and ensemble work of all three keyboardists; and a more heated look at master violinist Britos Ruiz of Haden’s Nocturne fame should draw some attention out there. Amidst all tunes, however, Ramírez weaves his performances binding the troupe onwards. Overall, as their interpretation of “Waltz For Debby” illustrates rather well, the accessibility of the material does not let the listener off the hook as it engages both interest and attraction.
The first record I bought was Miles Smiles. Having been a drummer since age two, hearing a young Tony Williams opened up so many possibilities for a 14 year old church drummer. My life changed that day and I've never looked back!