Review SKIN TONES at Latin Beat Magazine

SAMUEL TORRES Skin Tones (One Soul)

Listening to Colombian percussionist and composer Samuel Torres on his debut album Skin Tones, you discover a knowledgeable and skillful musician coming into his own. Fusing the sounds of his generation with the fundamentals of his chosen tradition, Torres creates refreshing Latin jazz blends that, for the most part, are acoustic in nature and filled with joyous contemporary harmonies and youthful vibrancy. The opening selection, Crazy Montuno, is a perfect example. John Benítez lays down with a thumping funk bass line that along with the pumping backbeat of drummer Ernesto Simpson, the boogaloo-style montuno of pianist Hector Martignón and the hardbop melodies of trumpeter Mike Rodríguez and tenor saxman Mike Campagna, sets a smoking groove in motion. Torres adds to the setting with a keen sense of tonality and superb time. Highlights abound and include the tune titled Saying Goodbye, which features the gifted Mike Rodriguez and vocalist Julia Dollison (who is heard on several other tracks). Rumba Con María adds the harp of Edmar Castañeda and lets Torres wail on a driving conga solo. For hardbop lovers, Express to Queens is a jazz gem with a well-contoured melody and an excellent solo by the unsung Héctor Martignón. Special guests include timbalero Ralph Irizarry, who helped to introduce Samuel Torres, a promising new talent that will invigorate Latin jazz for many years to come, according to my prediction. (JV)

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