152

Sonido Isleno: Vive Jazz

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Sonido Isleno: Vive Jazz Vive Jazz is a prime example of what "Latin jazz" really means. Benjamin Lapidus, who leads the longstanding group Sonido Isleño, says, "I look for ways to put jazz into Latin music rather than making Latin music subordinate to jazz, which is the classic notion of Latin Jazz. I try to present musical situations that can bring folklore and jazz together in a straightforward fashion, so that the listener doesn't lose the harmonic complexity of jazz."

Lapidus, born to first-generation American Jewish Brooklynites, has spent much of his adult life studying Latin, particularly Cuban, jazz first-hand both in Cuba and on the streets of the Latin neighborhoods of New York City. He earned degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and won a grant to study with Steve Lacy in Paris; he's played with people like Joe McPhee, as well as virtually everyone in the Latin jazz community.

Sonido Isleño was primarily a string and percussion band until Lapidus expanded it for this recording with saxophone, trumpet and other instruments to deepen the jazz feel. Speaking as one who's not particularly enthralled with the repetitive and simplistic aspects of much of Latin jazz, Vive Jazz was a breath of fresh air and an intense trip to many musical worlds.

Lapidus the guitarist can hang with anyone, and during his solos on this instrument, the jazz component takes over. However, he is also an acknowledged virtuoso on the Cuban tres, a guitar-like instrument with three sets of double strings—and when he plays this, as on as in "East of el Son, Wes del Tres," he really merges the two musical worlds, sounding authentic while at the same time moving the tres beyond its folk limits and into the jazz world.

The title tune, by far the longest track, is named after a poem that a fourteen-year-old boy, Manuel Antonio Duenas Peluffo, wrote after hearing Sonido Isleño play in 2004. It is the perfect example of what Lapidus is trying to do, as it changes rhythms between pure jazz and Latin. "Ornetteando" is dedicated to Ornette Coleman and features the most wonderful juxtaposition of Coleman-esque out-there playing against Latin rhythms, only to be answered by tres and tenor in the Latin style.

"Taino" starts out with a straight and very cool jazz guitar intro that Lapidus says started as an "etude for a familiar jazz harmonic sequence," only to be met by a subtle rumba rhythm, and it takes off from there, as it offered him "a chance to play the changes in a new rhythmic context."

Saying this music is full of energy is an understatement, but there is much more here than the typical blaring horns and ringing cowbell; Vive Jazz really is an authentic effort to merge two musical worlds. Marvelous.

Visit Sonido Isleño on the web.


Track Listing: La Suerga; East of el Son, Wes del Tres; Taino; Vive Jazz; Heebaro; Tambora; Ornetteando; M&D; Green Mill Mambo; Dialectics of a Soplapote.

Personnel: Benjamin Lapidus: guitar, tres, cuatro, marimbula, coro; Francisco Javier Cotto: bass, coro; Felix Sanabria: congas, chekere, pandereta; Michael Molina: bongo, compana, chekere, pandereta; Hector M. Torres: timbales, guagua, guiro, coro; Paul Carlon: tenor saxophone, flute; Evan Rapport: alto saxophone (9); Matt Ray: piano, side-splitting humor (4); Harvie S.: bass (4); William Bausch: drumset (4); Greg Glassman: trumpet (4); Pedro Pablo Martinez: lead vocals, coro (4); Alberto "1st Mate Bertie Joe" Levy: poem recitation (4); Jonathan Troncoso: tambora, guira (6); Juan Usera: pandereta (10); Jainardo Batista: guia, coro, maracas (2), guia, coro (7); Antonio DeVivo: coro, bongo de monte, guayo (2).

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Tresero Productions | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Apprentice" CD/LP/Track Review Apprentice
by Alex Franquelli
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Invention of Knowledge" CD/LP/Track Review Invention of Knowledge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Silk & Steel" CD/LP/Track Review Silk & Steel
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Interesting" CD/LP/Track Review Interesting
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2016
Read "El Changüí Majadero" CD/LP/Track Review El Changüí Majadero
by James Nadal
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "A Room Forever" CD/LP/Track Review A Room Forever
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!