First came the transition from trombonist to flutist. Then came the transition to Latin jazz. For Mark Weinstein, a confluence of worlds has become modus operandi.
Brooklyn-born Weinstein's experience has included a fusion of post-bebop music with traditional Afro-Cuban drumming. As a trombonist, he worked with Chick Corea, Cal Tjader, Tito Puente, Maynard Ferguson, Herbie Mann, and many others. Since he began playing the flute, Weinstein has performed in a variety of settings, covering several styles including Afro-Caribbean, Brazilian, and North Indian.
The three-player percussion section introduces "Milestones," a high-energy piece that sets the stage for what follows. Weinstein is in league with the likes of Mann, Alexander Zonjic, and Tim Weisberg, putting the flute through some rapid-fire phrases. Axel Tosca Laugart is dazzling on piano. After the solo, he and Panagiotis Andreou answer the calls of Mauricio Herrera, Ogduardo Diaz, and Pedrito Martinez in an extended dialogue that showcases the percussionists' cohesion as a group. Each individual, however, absolutely knows how to make a mark.
Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" is that rare jewel that has been covered many times but doesn't become stale. The strong Latin flavor of this arrangement sets it apart from many others. Andreou's bass line is strong, and the piano solo is one of the song's many highlights. Andreou equals the piano on bass during his time to step into the center of attention, a position he returns to a few tracks further on.
He goes it alone to introduce "Caravan" and the free-form bass is accompanied by Andreou's chant. While continuing his strong play, the rest of the ensemble joins him. The bass bridges solos by Laugart and Weinstein. After the flute solo, piano and bass frame a mini concerto by the percussionists.
Weinstein doesn't make it easy to select one song that tops all the rest. Each track stands well on its own. But as a set, Timbasa is solid across the board.
Milestones; Timbasa; Footprints; Watermelon Man; A Ernesto; Caravan; Encuentro; Kavaklari Cubano; Just Another Guajira.
Mark Weinstein: concert, alto and bass flute; Axel Tosca Laugart: piano; Panagiotis Andreou: electric bass and vocals; Mauricio Herrera: drums, timbales, guiro; Oguardo Diaz: bongos and batá; Pedrito Martinez: congas, timbales, batá and percussion.
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