Monday, February 15, 2010
Some Pretty Good Jazz Records
I'll admit to being less than an enthusiastic partisan of "Latin jazz," possibly because it's what the organizers of the local jazzfest here in Fort Worth like to book "to bring the crowds" instead of ponying up the money to pay, say, Ornette. But I'm quite taken with the Colombian-born percussionist and ex-Arturo Sandoval sideman Samuel Torres' Yaounde', which is more of a showcase for the leader's compositions -- which display tremendous sensitivity and depth -- than it is for the virtuosic fireworks (and blaring brass) we've come to expect from artists so labeled. A good example of what Torres is up to is "Bambuco (To Santa Fe de Bogota)," where Joel Frahm's soprano sax carries the lovely melody and bassist John Benitez takes a somber solo before ceding the stage to Torres' maracas. Suprising, subtly engaging stuff.