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The influence of Latin jazz on adult contemporary and smooth jazz composition and recording cannot be over estimated. It is unfortunate that, more often than not, contemporary and smooth jazz fails to treat the Latin element with the necessary respect. It takes a sharply recorded example like Rumba Palace to bring the listener back into the fold of true Latin jazz in its entire splendor.
Promotional concerns depict Rumba Palace as Cuban expatriate trumpeter Arturo Sandoval showing his "Latin side. Sandoval is equally capable in all subclasses of jazz as well as classical music, but it could be suggested that his "Latin side is his most pronounced, making such rhetoric redundant. Sandoval met and toured with Dizzy Gillespie eventually seeking asylum in the United States and as a result, we are better for it.
"El Huracan Del Caribe is typical of the recording with that funky, sexy descending piano and Spanish vocal. Sandoval shows off his own chops and those of his sharp, brass-heavy band. His charts are razor sharp and his use of solo and chorus vocals comes off famously, leaving the listener wanting much more of this music.
If Rhumba Palace has any problems it is because it is a wee bit too slickly produced. It captures perfect the humid, infectious Latin rhythms, but it captures them perhaps too perfectly. That rhythm, that rhythm, is the piquant ingredient that increases the music's communicability toward radioactivity. The appeal of this music is the same as that of Shakira's Spanish language recordings. The crossover appeal is that potent.
Track Listing: A Gozar; Guarachando; El Huracan Del Caribe; 21st Century; Sexy Lady; Peaceful; Having Fun; Arranca De Nuevo; Rumba Palace; Nouveau Cha Cha.
Personnel: Arturo Sandoval: bass trumpet; Felipe Lamoglia: saxophone; Jason Carder: trumpet; Dante Luciani: trombone; Dana Teboe: trombone; Tony Perez: keyboard; Armando Gola: bass instrument; Alexis 'Pututi' Arce: bata; Tomas Cruz: bata; Cheito Quinones, Sr.: background vocals.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.