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Caribbean Jazz Project: The Gathering

Jim Santella By

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Dave Valentine and Dave Samuels provide a pleasant Caribbean mood. With flute and marimba out front, the band takes on a natural appearance. Their performance remains as informal as a jazz party on the beach. Samuels' "Rendezvous" begins the session with a guest appearance by Paquito D'Rivera. Recall that the alto saxophonist helped found Caribbean Jazz Project in 1995, along with Samuels and percussionist Andy Narell. Today, the ensemble is as animated as ever, trading fours, quoting from the literature, and stretching out with spirit. Valentine and Samuels have an empathy with their rhythm section that ensures an even flow. When Samuels switches to vibraphone, the mood changes in favor of an edgier, "New York minute" kind of affair. Smooth jazz need not be all wine and roses. Nor does Latin jazz have to be anxious. Caribbean Jazz Project follows a middle road just by being natural and letting things happen spontaneously. Their roaring "Bemsha Swing" adds class to a classic melody and extends the piece with a fiery percussion diatribe. Valentine and Samuels have a winning formula here, and seem to be getting better with each new edition.

Track Listing: Rendezvous; Stolen Moments; Bemsha Swing; See You In a Minute; (others).

Personnel: Dave Samuels- vibraphone, marimba; Dave Valentine- flute; Dario Eskanazi- piano; Ruben Rodriguez- electric bass; Dafnis Prieto- timbales; Richie Flores, Roberto Quintero- congas; Paquito D'Rivera- alto saxophone on "Rendezvous" and "Bemsha Swing.?

Title: The Gathering | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

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