Putumayo Presents - Latin Jazz

Posted By MiOd On Tuesday, September 03, 2013 Under ,
It goes without saying that the entire history and stylistic diversity of Latin jazz cannot be encapsulated on one ten-track CD. But like all of Putumayo's compilations, that was the task the label was faced with: representing the chosen genre adequately and accurately while understanding that much more would necessarily be omitted than included. So will Putumayo Presents: Latin Jazz -- the label's first jazz compilation -- give the uninitiated listener a sufficient crash course? Further exploration would, of course, be wise, but for all that it isn't, the set does provide a satisfactory, superb quality introduction. Name-checking major artists, it won't take long to determine that many are missing: Cal Tjader, Paquito d'Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, Chico O'Farrill, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and many others. But for such a compact package, it does get to a good number of the pioneering trendsetters: Machito (who opens the set with "Congo Mulence," in tandem with Cannonball Adderley), Ray Barretto (with a smooth, breezy "Sumemrtime"), Eddie Palmieri, Poncho Sanchez, and, of course, the all-time Latin jazz legend, Tito Puente, whose "Cha Cha Cha" sums it all up about as succinctly as anything can. The late pianist Hilton Ruiz, on his "Steppin' with T.P.," bridges standard tropical Latin rhythms with increasingly complex instrumental work, while Icelandic bassist/composer Tómas Einarsson, the only artist here not from Cuba, Puerto Rico, or the U.S., ably demonstrates on his "Rumdrum" that the genre's reach is continually expanding beyond its usual geographic borders. ~ Jeff Tamarkin, All Music Guide

A mixture of Afro-Cuban rhythms and jazz style come together on Latin Jazz, a lively collection of songs by masters of the genre.

The artists featured on Latin Jazz represent an honored cast of musicians ranging from early pioneers of the genre to those who have helped it remain a viable force for more than 60 years. Machito, a contemporary of Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington, was a pioneering bandleader who helped deepen the bond between Afro-Cuban music and American jazz. His classic track "Congo Mulence" opens the album and features fellow jazz legend Cannonball Adderley. Other legendary figures on the album include Tito Puente, whose mastery of the timbales combined with old-fashioned showmanship kept his music fresh and relevant over the years, and Eddie Palmieri, whose piano techniques put him in the same league as jazz legends Thelonious Monk and McCoy Tyner. He teams here with Brian Lynch on "Guajira Dubois," a game of musical tag between Palmieri's piano and Lynch's trumpet.

The driving rhythm behind most Latin jazz comes from its powerful percussion, and Latin Jazz showcases some of the finest in this field. Master conguero (congo player) Poncho Sanchez leads one of the most popular Latin jazz groups in the world. His seasoned ensemble contribute the cool energy of "El Sabroson", while Ray Barretto covers the classic "Summertime." Considered the "godfather of Latin jazz," Barretto was the first Latino to have a Latin hit on the American Billboard Charts.

Other luminaries on the album include Hilton Ruiz, a former child prodigy who appeared at Carnegie Hall at the age of 8, Chocolate Armenteros, the legendary Cuban trumpet player, and Manny Oquendo & Libre, who represent a multigenerational dynasty of Latin music. Icelandic double-bassist Tómas R. Einarsson, and New York icon Chico Alvarez round out the collection.

[01]. Congo Mulence - Machito
[02]. El Sabroson - Poncho Sanchez
[03]. Rumdrum - Tomas R. Einarsson
[04]. Cha Cha Cha - Tito Puente
[05]. La Clave, Maraca Y Guiro - Chico Alvarez
[06]. Summertime - Ray Barretto
[07]. Steppin' With T.P. - Hilton Ruiz
[08]. Cuando Se Acabara - Manny Oquendo & Libre
[09]. Trompeta En Montuno - Chocolate Armenteros
[10]. Guajira Dubois - The Bryan Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project

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