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Salongo: Salongo

Woodrow Wilkins By

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Like something straight out of Bahia, "Brasilian Sunset" puts one in the mood to samba. The track is one of eight Eddie Allen originals on Salongo's self-titled album, a mix of African, Cuban, Brazilian and even a taste of Santana.

Allen plays trumpet, flugelhorn, electric trumpet and performs hand claps and vocals. A versatile musician on the New York scene, he has played big band as well as small ensembles covering Latin, R&B, pop and of course jazz among other styles. He has shared the stage or studio with such luminaries as Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Jon Faddis and Joe Henderson. Allen has also been a part of the orchestra for such Broadway musicals as Ain't Misbehavin', Jelly's Last Jam and Five Guys Named Mo'.

"Brasilian Sunset" is a fast-paced dance tune. Though led mostly by saxophonists Bruce Williams and Teodross Avery, the entire band is heavily involved. The saxophones and pianist Hector Martignon offer the only solos. Still everyone puts in a mark, from the bass to the congas and to the drums.

The piano, bass and percussion set the pace on "Search for Truth," before the horns take over the lead. Avery's tenor sax solo, marginally akin to the style of Paquito D'Rivera, is one of the song's highlights. Williams follows on alto sax. Martignon enters a solo of his own, heavily accented by the Renato Thomas on the congas. Drummer Diego Lopez gets to shine a little before he and Thomas engage in a call-and-response sequence during the song's fade.

As a soloist, Allen's strongest moment comes during "Midnight Rain." He plays the electric trumpet, giving the song an ethereal flavor.

Mario Rodriguez's bass kicks off "New Rules," a soul-Latin vibe. The horns are in tight synch during the melody. He gets in a bit of Marcus Miller-like twang during Martignon's solo. Like "Brasilian Sunset," "New Rules" has a strong, party atmosphere.

Throughout Salongo, Allen leads a seven-piece ensemble. On a few tracks, the group is joined by guest Uli Geissendoerfer, who plays keyboards and hand claps. While Allen is the leader and wrote eight of the nine songs, he's mostly an ensemble player, instead allowing the saxophones and piano to have most of the leads and solos. This makes for a solid group effort rather than an instrumentalist record.

Track Listing: Brasilian Sunset; Being Here With You; Search for Truth; Nymphs of the Sudan; Touch; My Little Suede Shoes; New Rules; Midnight Rain; Just So You Know.

Personnel: Eddie Allen: trumpet, flugelhorn, electric trumpet, hand claps, vocals; Bruce Williams: also sax, flute, hand claps; Teodross Avery: tenor sax; Hector Martignon: piano; Mario Rodriguez: electric bass; Diego Lopez: drums; Renato Thoms: congas, percussion; Uli Geissendoerfer: keyboards, hand claps.

Title: Salongo | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: DBCD


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