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Dafnis Prieto Big Band: Back to the Sunset

Read "Back to the Sunset" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The alliance of Latin music and American jazz ripened on these shores more than seventy years ago, nourished by pioneers such as Mario Bauza, Chano Pozo, Dizzy Gillespie, Machito, Tito Puente and others. It has been carried forward and enhanced since then by a succession of remarkable innovators including in recent years the Cuban-born drummer Dafnis ...

Dafnis Prieto Big Band: Back to the Sunset

Read "Back to the Sunset" reviewed by Troy Dostert

The astonishingly talented and prolific drummer Dafnis Prieto has done a lot since moving to the States from his native Cuba in 1999. He's made a host of sideman appearances with musicians of widely varying stripes, including Peter Apfelbaum, Michel Camilo, Steve Coleman, Marilyn Lerner, Brian Lynch, Henry Threadgill, Chucho Valdés, and John Zorn. He won ...

Manuel Valera: The Planets

Read "The Planets" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Cuban-born pianist Manuel Valera is not unknown to jazz-heads who make it their business to listen and champion. But, since his acclaimed 2004 debut Forma Nueva, a couple of Grammy nods, and last year's quietly brilliant The Seasons, Valera's name and exciting blend of culture, tradition, and progression has spread deservedly like wildfire through the larger ...

Bohemian Trio: Okònkolo

Read "Okònkolo" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Raffinata formazione in equilibrio tra camerismo e jazz, musica cubana ed europea, questo trio nasce per iniziativa del pianista Orlando Alonso e del sassofonista Yosvany Terry, entrambi cubani diplomati al conservatorio e con studi alla Juilliard, quando nel 2012 sentono l'esigenza di mettere a punto un progetto che fosse la sintesi dei molti stimoli e interessi ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tom Guarna: The Wishing Stones

Read "The Wishing Stones" reviewed by John Kelman

An unfortunate reality for too many musicians--even those who are well-known--is that most of their audiences are aware of but a portion of their true work...their fullest capabilities. Recordings only tell part of the story, since artists often tour with groups that are never documented. And even those tours, for those fortunate enough to experience them, ...

Berta Moreno: Little Steps

Read "Little Steps" reviewed by Troy Dostert

When first seeing the title of Berta Moreno's debut record, one might be tempted to interpret it as a self-effacing gesture. Perhaps the tenor saxophonist is acknowledging her debt to the giant steps of the master of the tenor, John Coltrane himself? Upon further investigation, however, Moreno makes clear in her notes to the album that ...

Manuel Valera Trio: The Seasons

Read "The Seasons" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Although Manuel Valera originally staked his claim to fame as a “Latin jazz" pianist, it's fair to say that he has sought to transcend the constraints imposed by that label. On this release, the second by his trio with bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer E.J. Strickland, Valera displays just as much interest in drawing from the ...

Manuel Valera Trio: The Seasons

Read "The Seasons" reviewed by Edward Blanco

Offering his twelfth recording as a leader, Grammy-nominated pianist Manuel Valera unveils a dynamic session of modern jazz on the vibrant The Seasons and follow up to Live at Firehouse 12 (MAVO Records, 2015). The album also happens to be the second date with his current working trio of jazz luminaries' bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gene Ess: Absurdist Theater

Read "Absurdist Theater" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

On this CD guitarist Gene Ess and his group Fractal Attraction have put together an intelligent fusion of jazz, folk and rock concepts led by the glassy clarity of Ess' guitar and the calm beauty of Thana Alexa's voice. Alexa's rising and falling wordless tones are the first thing heard on the disc and they lead ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Manuel Valera & Groove Square: Urban Landscape

Read "Urban Landscape" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Cuban keyboardist and composer Manuel Valera presented last with a scorching trio set Live at Firehouse 12 (Mayo Records, 2015). Acoustic and organic, Valera demonstrated is bona fides with mainstream jazz performance. Bringing drummer E.J. Strickland from that and earlier bands, Valera moves into a new project with a new band, Groove Square. He adds the ...