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The Los Angeles, CA-based nonet, “Quetzal” (the ancient Quetzal bird that continually resisted captivity) brings its distinct flavor of Afro-Chicano type musings to the forefront on Sing The Real. Maybe the elusive nature of the bird typifies the non-conforming demeanor of this band’s alchemistic blend of rock, jazz, and Latin genres, along with a few Mexican serenade type interludes. From the onset of the opener titled “The Social Relevance Of Public Art,” the violinists’ render sonorous and somewhat impacting choruses. Here, I was thinking that we had an Afro-Cuban version of the “Mahavishnu Orchestra” on our hands, yet lo and behold they segue into a basic rock groove complete with the percussionist’s Latin-tinged exchanges. The band engages in tempered funk motifs atop dashes of soul and the vocalists’ celebratory choruses on “20 Pesos” and other numbers.
These folks are most effective at intertwining disparate styles into their repertoire as they also touch upon contemporary jazz and pop, amid all of the Latin-derived stylizations. But it’s the ensemble’s charming characterizations and unwavering artisanship that provides the winning edge. Recommended.