Trumpeter Diego Urcola, a mainstay in Paquito D'Rivera's band, branches out on Viva with an all-star group that includes bassist Avishai Cohen and pianist Edward Simon. In addition, a bevy of Urcola compadres appear as guests, making for a diverse presentation of well-played originals with a Latin flair.
Urcola, who hails from Argentina, has chosen to highlight the music of his country. Things begin with his own "Tango Azul, a deft combination of jazz and Latin music that features the potent trombonist Conrad Herwig matched with Urcola's hot horn. Herwig returns for a meditative look at Argentinian pianist composer Guillermo Klein's "El Camino. Serving as the titular inspiration, Klein's bewitching "Viva benefits from percussionist Pernell Saturnino's backdrop, which joins with Antonio Sanchez's exquisitely soft drumming and enables Urcola to use his flugelhorn for wonderful understatement.
D'Rivera appears on three tunes. He showcases his alto chops on the hard-swinging "Afroraffo, a joyous piece written by Urcola's friend Juan Raffo, made all the more so by Dave Samuels' lively marimba and Saturnino's spirited percussion. He switches to clarinet for both a powerful duel with Urcola on "40/40 and a touching portrait of Urcola's daughter "Emilia, complete with her innocently angelic sampled laughter.
Urcola's teacher, saxophonist Jimmy Heath, guests on the leader's tribute, "Blues for Jimmy, which has Heath, Urcola and Herwig all wailing the blues. Heath's own "Sound for Sore Ears is given a heavy Latin treatment; Simon delves deeply into the melody. Astor Piazzolla's beautiful "Adios Nonino is brilliantly rendered by Urcola's horn and Samuels' vibes, and the panoramically percussive Raffo piece "Gringo Dance finds Herwig partnering with Urcola. Through its varying perspectives, Viva becomes a true celebration of friends, family and life itself.
Track Listing: Tango Azul; Viva; Afroraffo; El Camino; Blues for Jimmy; 40/40; Sound for Sore Ears; Adios Nonino; Gringo Dance; Emilia.
Personnel: Diego Urcola: trumpet, flugelhorn; Edward Simon: piano; Avishai Cohen: bass; Antonio Sanchez: drums; Pernell Saturnino: percussion; Jimmy Heath: tenor saxophone (5,7); Paquito D'Rivera: alto saxophone, clarinet (3,6,10); Conrad Herwig: trombone (1,4,5,9); Dave Samuels: marimba, vibes (3,8).
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
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