Latin Jazz

Border-Free

Artist: 
Chucho Valdes
Label: 
Jazz Village

I have to say, this is the first Native American-influenced jazz I’ve ever heard, and it’s something special.  With a tasteful blend of Latin, Afro-Cuban and Native American influences, Chucho Valdes and his cats have a unique sound all their own.  I would say that “Latin” dominates their sound over the other two, but you can hear distinct influences of the others as well, so don’t be counting them out in that regard.

Sounds Like: 
The Pedrito Martinez Group
Sounds Like: 
Yo-Yo Ma
Sounds Like: 
Thelonious Monk
Name: 
Daniel Witter
Date Reviewed: 
11/19/2013

South of America

Artist: 
In Flight
Label: 
In Flight

WELCOME ABOARD THE 5:30 FLIGHT TO RIO DE JANIERO. Please fasten your funk seatbelts and place your latin-jazz tray tables in their upright and locked position. Our flight to Rio will take approximately 1 hour and 6 minutes. We will be serving alcoholic-funky refreshments on this flight, however be mindful of some vocal turbulence we may experience. Overall, this is a solid Latin jazz album with some good funk bass and guitars. However, avoid the songs where there are vocals: this is definitely one of those jazz bands that should stick to their instrumentals.

Sounds Like: 
Al Di Miola without the shredding guitar
Sounds Like: 
Herbie Hancock's backing band
Name: 
John Millerd
Date Reviewed: 
10/29/2013

Live From Stern Grove Festival

Artist: 
Pete Escovedo
Label: 
Concord Picante/Stiletto Flats

Being a live Jazz album, most of the tracks on this CD are pretty long (most are at least 4 minutes and up to 10 minutes). That being said, this album showcases a really tight knit rhythm section, and some awesome latin grooves. The horn section and guitar leads make it interesting enough so it doesn't just fade into background grooves, but always keeps the listener interested in the complex sambas and grooves. I guess I'm using the word groove a lot in this review, but I think that accurately describes this album: it just grooves from start to finish. Give it a listen if you have the time.

Sounds Like: 
Tito Puente
Sounds Like: 
Santana
Name: 
John Millerd
Date Reviewed: 
02/04/2013

Mambo Influenciado

Artist: 
The Craig Russo Latin Jazz Project
Label: 
Cagoots Records

If you've ever heard latin jazz, you know what this CD sounds like: jammin rhythm section, cool trumpet, saxophone, and piano solos. In this particular album, the rhythm section and the piano solos stand out nicely.

Sounds Like: 
every latin jazz band ever?
Name: 
Ashley Gander
Date Reviewed: 
03/20/2011

Lágrimas Mexicanas

Artist: 
Vincius Cantuária & Bill Frisell
Label: 
E1 Music

So I'll be honest, right off the bat I do not know a whole lot about this project other than that it is a Latin Jazz exploration by two prominent musicians. The thing about jazz guitarists – keep in mind that only two people are performing on this album, Cantuária on vocal, percussion, and acoustic guitar duties and Frisell on electric guitar and loop duties – is that by and large there is not a whole lot that sets one apart from the other; not to mention its traditional role a a harmony or rhythm instrument).

Sounds Like: 
Danilo Pérez, Omar Sosa
Name: 
Jonathan Cohen
Date Reviewed: 
02/17/2011

Mood Music for Time Travelers

Artist: 
The Either/Orchestra
Label: 
Accurate Records

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Sounds Like: 
Mulatu Astatke, Duke Ellington, Tito Puente
Name: 
Jonathan Cohen
Date Reviewed: 
09/15/2010

Providencia

Artist: 
Danilo Pérez
Label: 
Mack Avenue Records

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Sounds Like: 
Omar Sosa, Positive Ctastrophe
Name: 
Jonathan Cohen
Date Reviewed: 
09/08/2010
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