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Leo Blanco: Africa Latina

Read "Africa Latina" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

The ubiquitous expression that is “world music" is becoming less relevant as musicians across the globe speak a common language that embraces varied cultures and people. Pianist, composer, and arranger Leo Blanco emphatically proves the point on Africa Latina, a mesmerizing recording that explores the unique connection between African and Venezuelan music.

Whereas ...

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Jason Palmer: Songbook

Read "Songbook" reviewed by Budd Kopman

Trumpeter and composer Jason Palmer cares intensely about jazz and his place within its musical world. He's working hard to find his own voice, and represents one of the young players who has gone through the mentoring process, in this case, with saxophonist Greg Osby.

Songbook's pieces are all written by Palmer, and ...

Richie Barshay: Homework

Read "Homework" reviewed by Elliott Simon

There is a bit more than a hint of Indian drumming in “Clouds - intro," the somewhat airy invitational cut on Homework, from percussionist Richie Barshay. It doesn't prepare for the sonic onslaught that follows. From the sound of this offering, Barshay has been studying Indian percussive forms and instruments that are the foundation to this ...

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Francisco Mela: Melao

Read "Melao" reviewed by Russ Musto

Cuban-born, New York-based drummer Francisco Mela's debut as leader introduces an important new creative talent to the international jazz scene. As its title implies--literally, melao is the Spanish word for the dark syrup concocted from cane sugar; figuratively, it describes any potent mixture of varied ingredients--the disc is a musical mélange of Mela compositions with a ...

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Esperanza Spalding: Junjo

Read "Junjo" reviewed by Jim Santella

Esperanza Spalding's debut drives jazz's modern mainstream with a hip-sounding classic piano trio. Her emotional, wordless vocals and conversational bass playing offer a delightful celebration of music as folk art. Spalding's bass playing gets noticed while she interprets traditional jazz favorites as well as fresh new originals.

Spalding, who was born in 1984, is ...

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Esperanza Spalding: Junjo

Read "Junjo" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

The debut recording by this 22-year-old Berklee instructor and Portland, Oregon native features Brazilian-inflected jazz in the company of Cuban bandmates, released by a Spanish record label. Put that way, Junjo sounds terribly worldly and logistically complicated, but in fact the record comes across as an intimate affair executed with a light touch.

The Brazilian accent ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Francisco Mela: Melao

Read "Melao" reviewed by Jim Santella

Working with an all-star group of artists in a variety of settings, drummer Francisco Mela drives with the spirit of Cuban fire behind him. Born in Cuba and resident in Boston, the thirty-something percussionist has created a fine keepsake for his first recording as leader. Nine originals and one Ornette Coleman tune feature different guitar and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Francisco Mela: Melao

Read "Melao" reviewed by Norman Weinstein

Cuban drummers relocating to the US over the years have made a remarkable contribution to jazz on these shores, and Francisco Mela is the newest talent to add to that list. Melao is a striking tour de force for the young drummer/composer, who transplanted himself from Havana to Boston a decade ago. Mela has wisely surrounded ...