The San Francisco Bay Area is known for many things one of which is, as a hot bed of Latin Jazz music that captured the interest of percussionist Brian Andres upon relocating there in 1999. Now a veteran of the genre and band leader of the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel, Andres and the group tip their hat to the Area's Latin cultural ambiance with a tribute album simply titled San Francisco. The band's second album and follow up to their glowing debut Drummer's Speak (CD Baby, 2007), if there's any question as to whether this is a Latin jazz recording that pays homage to San Francisco, just sample the album's third piece "San Francisco Tiene Su Propio Son" and you will be convinced.
The percussive and gyrating "Soul Provider" featuring the leader on percussion, as well as saxophonist Tony Peebles, pianist Christian Tumalan and trumpeter Steffen Kuehn (All from the Pacific Mambo Orchestra), Henry Hung on a trumpet solo, a host of other players chanting and clapping, provides the clave, timbre and soul of the music. Conga master Javier Cabanillas displays his prowess on the instrument with a solo performance on yet another San Francisco tribute piece, "De San Francisco A Tijuana." The other solo track on the album is the finale "Bongo Reyoyo" where Carlos Caro is showcased ending the music with a brief but dazzling burst on the bongos.
Band bassist Aaron Germain contributes several compositions to the effort of which, "Higashi Nakano" with trombonist Jamie Dubberly doing the solos, clearly stands out as one of the best. Of course no real Latin-tinged album would be complete without at least one soft vocal spot and in this case, that would be the tune "Una Gota" warmly voiced by vocalist Gloria Amaral. There are a few uncommon standards here of which Joe Zawinul's "Black Market" and the Israel "Cachao" Lopez piece "Como Mi Ritmo No Hat Dos" are noteworthy.
Hefty percussion has always served as the meaty side of Latin music and with this San Francisco tribute album, drummer Brian Andres and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel provide the beat, the brains and the brawn of this percussive-flavored big band Latin jazz experience.
Track Listing: Sand Castles; Nothing But Trouble; San Francisco Tiene Su Propio Son; Black Market; Higashi Nakano; Soul Provider; De San Francisco A Tijuana; Bugs On A Windshield; Una Gota; Off The Cuff; Como Mi Ritmo No Hay Dos; Bongo Reyoyo.
Personnel: Brian Andres: drums, percussion; Christian Tumalan: piano; Aaron Germain: bass; Tony Peebles: saxophones; Jamie Dubberly: trombone; Steffen Kuehn: trumpet; Carlos Caro: bongo, campana, quiro, conga (4), timbal (1, 2, 5, 6, 8); Gloria Amaral: vocals (9); Camilo Landau: tres (3); Patricio Angulo: chekere, conga (1, 2, 6), timbal (3, 4, 11); Javier Cabanillas: conga; Niki Smith: coro; Braulia Barrera: vocals, coro (3, 11); Henry Hung: flugelhorn, trumpet.
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.