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Although he was born in the Dominican Republic and has won Latin Grammy awards, it would be inaccurate to lump pianist Michel Camilo into the catch-all category of Latin jazz. Sure, his roots are in Latin music and he imbues much of his playing with Afro-Caribbean beats, but he's best described as a jazz artist. Period. And, as his eclectic Spirit of the Moment shows, he can play just about any kind of jazz as well as anyone out there.
Camilo divides the album into three distinct sections, each consisting of four tunes. The opening section features original compositions, including the New Orleans-meets-Santo Domingo romp "Just Now and the poignant "My Secret Place. The second section focuses on interpretations of modern jazz classicsWayne Shorter's "Nefertiti, Bill Evans' "Nardis and a nearly unrecognizable deconstruction of Coltrane's "Giant Steps. The final section is given to more harmonically challenging material, including a version of Miles Davis' "Solar with the appropriately ethereal title, "Solar (Explorations).
Camilo performs all this with a frequently stunning virtuosity that's become a given for this gifted artist. He's ably abetted on this highly recommended effort by a Cuban-born rhythm section featuring longtime associate Charles Flores on bass and relative newcomer Dafnis Prieto on drums.
Track Listing: Just Now, My Secret Place, Spirit of the Moment, Repercussions, Nefertiti, Nardis, Trilogy, Giant Steps, Place in Time, Hurry Up and Wait, Liquid Crystal, Solar (Explorations).
Personnel: Michel Camilo: piano; Charles Flores: bass; Dafnis Prieto: drums.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.