The music of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers serves as a suitable theme for this album by Jerry Gonzalez and his Latin jazz band, since they exhibit the same kind of percussive drive with integrated melody that the hard bop drummer and his quintets shared with us for decades.
It's been almost two decades already for Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band, which continues to excite with its fiery blend of Latin flavors and improvised adventure. The trumpeter pushes hard and teams well with saxophonist Joe Ford to communicate fluently. Gonzalez, Ford, Larry Willis, Steve Berrios, and Andy Gonzalez have been doing this together long enough that they've become quite cohesive.
The band's title composition, "Rumba Buhaina, puts them all together in a mesmerizing up-tempo affair. Here, Gonzalez uses the conga drums to relate to the Afro-Caribbean tradition, while Ford stretches out with an exotic tale on soprano. Willis' new ballad "The Day You Said Goodbye moves slowly with heartfelt concern as soprano, piano, and drums pare it down for a lovely spell. "Ask Me Now is performed alone by trumpet, bass, and piano in Miles-like soliloquy.
The remainder of the program marries the tradition of Latin jazz with the music that Art Blakey brought us. Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band have honored the spirit while interpreting these songs in their own way.
Track Listing: Along Came Betty; Crisis; This is for Albert; Up Jumped Spring; Madi's Smile; Wildflower; United; The Day You Said Goodbye; One by One; Rumba Buhaina; Ask Me Now.
Personnel: Jerry Gonzalez: trumpet, flugelhorn, congas, percussion; Joe Ford: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Larry Willis: piano; Andy Gonzalez: bass; Steve Berrios: drums, percussion.
I love jazz because it is in my blood. It is the only original American art form. It is sacred. The greatest musicians are jazz artists.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 listening to my father's records of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young.
I met Sonny Stitt, Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Michael Brecker, Cannonball Adderley, Walter Booker, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, George Benson, Mike
Stern, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Harper, Skip Hadden, Charlie Haden.
The best show I ever attended was Joe Lovano with Soundprints at the Wexner Center in Columbus Ohio in 2014.
The first jazz record I bought was Miles Smiles.