by Greg Simmons
Mongorama. The name just sounds like fun--and this is a fun record, despite being crafted by musicians who take the Afro-Cuban music and legacy of Mongo Santamaria very seriously. Organized by jazz DJ Jose Rizzo, the band highlights a mix of Santamaria classics, blended with newer compositions in the same tradition. Any album that associates itself so closely with a great conguero like Santamaria is bound to feature lots of hand drumming, and Mongorama does not disappoint. Joey ...read more
by Chip Boaz
All-star bands create music that brims with possibilities; yet the outcome runs the risk of positive or negative results. Combining high caliber musicians brings expectations of powerful music. Experience gives these artists knowledge and skill, increasing the chance of memorable music. When distinctive artists join forces, a possible mismatch can also occur. Groups sometimes lack a central focus, and the resultant recordings capture grand jam sessions. Each musician's individual approach shines through, but the voices never gel. José Rizo's Jazz ...read more
by AAJ Staff
The accessibility of Latin jazz, athough threatening to purists, supports improvised music in neighborhoods that otherwise would be ignored. This unassuming community celebration affords Latin jazz with its sustained success. Jose Rizo has played a pivotal role in the music's maturation and prosperity. Chronicling its progression on the radio, Rizo (unedited and in his own words) has transcended his narrative to continuing Latin jazz's advancement.
All About Jazz: Let's start from the beginning.
Jose Rizo: When I was younger, I ...read more