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The Black Butterflies: Rainbows For Ramon

C. Michael Bailey By
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Track review of "Summertime"

The Black Butterflies: Rainbows For Ramon The Black Butterflies is a Latin free-for-all led by reed multi- instrumentalist Mercedes Figueras, an Argentinean transplanted to New York City. Figueras and band follows up a well- received debut, 1 De Mayo (Self Produced, 2010), with Rainbows for Ramon. Reviewed in capable detail by Dan Bilawsky and Karl Ackermann, Rainbows for Ramon—and, in particular, Figueras' treatment of the Gershwin Brothers' standard—is worth some further elaboration.

Musical sincerity is inversely proportional to synthetic production: the more basic, organic, and authentic, the more musically sincere. Figueras' "Summertime" is a perfect melding of Latin and Tin Pan Alley in the humid ocean air of Southern climes. Introduced by bassist Nick Gianni's elastic vamp, dissolving into a simple three- note figure beneath Karl Berger's melodica, the standard is suspended over an orchestra of percussion that makes it perfectly clear where all influences come from. Figueras' saxophone is feral, with heated abandon that is nothing to compare to when she sings. Those languid, down-south lyrics, sung with a confident, Latin-inflected lioness' purr, are so carnal that the barometer bottoms out and you lose consciousness. Not bad for an old piece of music.

Personnel: Mercedes Figueras: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Tony Larokko: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, percussion; Nick Gianni: bass; Levi Barcourt: piano; Bopa "King" Carre: bongos; Fred Berryhill: djembe, percussion; Kenny Wollesen: drums; Karl Berger: vibraphone, melodica.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Modern Jazz


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