The world will never pay enough homage to the music of John Coltrane. Having his music translated into the Latin idiom isn't a huge stretch, considering that many of his tunes had strong Afro-Cuban roots.
Placing Trane en clave was a challenge that trombonist Conrad Herwig and trumpeter Brian Lynch happily accepted when they conceived Que Viva Coltrane , a humble offering to the immortal saxophonist in which they successfully translated some of Trane's most famous tunes into the Latin idiom.
"Lonnie's Lament" showcases the chops of flautist Mario Rivera, Herwig and Lynch, all of whom play excellent solos. The intricate arrangement of "Miles' Mode" is played in mambo rhythm, with Rivera's baritone sax leading the brass charge. Robby Ameen and Richie Flores solo on drums and congas, respectively, before Herwig and Lynch's spirited exchange take the song out on high.
Pianist Edsel Gomez states the melody on "Wise One," with Herwig's lovely solo leading into the doubling of the rhythm and crisp soloing by Lynch and Gomez. John Benitez' wicked electric bass at the beginning of "Countdown" may recall Coltrane's blistering opening, but it certainly has its roots laid down in Jaco Pastorius. The brass picks up the baton and races to the finish, with Trane's signature at the end declaring victory.
Lynch's fluegelhorn is the standout among the fine brass arrangement of "Central Park West," and "Grand Central" features another mean baritone solo by Rivera. The breezy, arrangement of "Straight Street" evokes the warmth of a Carribbean island, providing a relaxing respite before "Locomotion" brings things to a rousing end.
Although Coltrane inspired this fine disc, the arrangements and overall spirit owe as much to Tito Puente and Machito as they do to Trane. It's almost a certainty that somewhere, all three men are beaming like proud parents.
1) Lonnie's Lament;
2) Miles' Mode;
3) Wise One;
5) Central Park West;
6) Grand Central;
7) Straight Street;
Brian Lynch-Trumpet, Fluegelhorn;
Mario Rivera-Baritone Sax. Flute;