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The Brian Lynch / Eddie Palmieri Project: Simpatico

Russ Musto By

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Brian Lynch is one of the most proficient "bilingual" artists in music—equally adept in both jazz and Latin genres. On this superb collaboration with piano giant Eddie Palmieri, the virtuoso trumpeter brings together his wealth of experience in both fields in a scintillating synthesis that is intelligent, exciting and truly personal. Lynch's understanding of Palmieri's unique brand of salsa con jazz sensibility is accurately described by the date's title, and the music here is the product of a truly sympathetic association: Lynch's high-flying trumpet lines flow freely over Palmieri's earthy rhythms.

Lynch's tour-de-force opening track, "The Palmieri Effect, ensures the date's landmark status, with trombonist Conrad Herwig and saxophonist Greg Tardy joining the composer on the front line to deliver the intricate up-tempo melody over the heady polyrhythmic foundation laid down by Palmieri, bassist Boris Kozlov and percussionists Dafnis Prieto, Johnny Rivero and Pedro Martinez. Vocalist Lila Downs' dulcet-toned voice is showcased on her moving lyric to Lynch's beautiful bolero "Que Seria La Vida, which also features Phil Woods' alto. "Guajira Dubois is a Lynch original with a traditional Afro-Cuban big band sound recalling Mario Bauza and Machito. Another Lynch line, "Jazz Impromptu, is reminiscent of Horace Silver.

Downs returns for a stirring reading of Palmieri's "Paginas De Mujer ; Adam Rogers' guitar and Tardy's clarinet contribute to the authentic flavor of the tune, which spotlights Lynch's pyrotechnical trumpet. Four Lynch/Palmieri compositions fill out the date: "Slippery, a Randy Weston-flavored jazz waltz that finds Palmieri in a Monkish mood; "Jazzucar, a remarkable reworking of Palmieri's popular "Azucar that adds Edsel Gomez playing Charlie Palmieri-inspired organ; "Tema Para Marissa, an appealing piece dedicated to the trumpeter's wife; and "Free Hands, a vigorous vehicle for jazz improvisation over Latin rhythms. Creatively composed, flawlessly executed and superbly recorded, Simpatico represents the enormous talents of its co-leaders and their all-star cast.

Track Listing: The Palmieri Effect; Que Seria La Vida; Guajira Dubois; Jazz Impromptu; Paginas De Mujer; Slippery; Jazzucar; Tema Para Marissa; Freehands.

Personnel: Brian Lynch: trumpet; Eddie Palmieri: piano; Lila Downs: vocals; Phil Woods: alto saxophone; Donald Harrison: alto saxophone; Conrad Herwig: trombone; Giovanni Hidalgo: congas; Dafnis Prieto: drums; other players including Gregory Tardy, Mario Rivera, Boris Kozlov, Ruben Rodriguez, Luques Curtis, Robby Ameen, Pedro Martinez, Johnny Rivero, Edsel Gomez, Marvin Diz, Pete Rodriguez.

Title: Simpatico | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: ArtistShare

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