Various Artists - Putumayo Presents Latin Jazz (Putumayo, 2007)
Latin rhythms have been present in jazz ever since Jelly Roll Morton spoke of the “Spanish Tinge.” Dizzy Gillespie really kick started the importation in the post war era by recording with Cuban musicians and a viable sub-genre was born. While it's impossible to review the whole breadth and width of Latin Jazz on one compact disc, Putumayo aims to give a taste of the music and let listeners take it from there. If nothing really stands out, at least the disc does accomplish its goal of introducing some of the major players. Tomas R. Einarsson's “Rumdrum” features a very cool guitar solo along with horns and percussion. There's a very nice piano introduction on on Tito Puente's “Cha Cha Cha” and a sweet flute interlude. Hilton Ruiz's “Steppin' with T.P.” has an interesting tropical feel with guitar, vibes and flute. “Cuando Se Acabara” by Manny Oquendo drags a little as the rhythms fall into a predictable “chunka-chunka” pattern, but is enlivened by an interesting electric guitar solo. Finally, Bryan Lynch and Eddie Palmieri's “Guajira Dubois” finishes the disc off well with an excellent performance. There are extensive liner notes (in three languages!) and this disc makes for a solid introduction.
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