Pacific Mambo Orchestra – ‘The III Side

The Caribbean, festive beats are plentiful, anchoring a refined big band up front! Lyrics come from Braulio Barrera, Christelle Durandy and Armando Cordoba on 5 of the 9 selections. There are excellent covers, notably fresh arrangements of “Through The Fire”, “A Night in Tunisia” and “Birks Works”. Jon Faddis (t), Dafnis Prieto (d), Alex Britti (g) and Herman Olivera (vocals on the fiery “Omi Ye Ye”) are featured artists in a sea of strong musicians. The Spanish songs have Spanish lyrics and English songs have English lyrics maintaining the integrity of the tunes in an energetic celebration, The III Side.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba – ‘Viento Y Tiempo’

Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba collaborates with his childhood friend, vocalist Aymée Nuviola performing their native music on Viento Y Tiempo. The set was captured live at the Tokyo Blue Note. Aymée gets the audience participating on “El Güararey de Pastora” and then comes together with the band exciting the crowd on “El Maniaero”. We also enjoyed “Bemba Colorá” and the racy title track. The music is vibrant yet refined for an enjoyable experience.

Sam Hirsh – ‘Quite Frankly’

Pianist, composer and producer Sam Hirsch assembles a trio with bassist John Webber and Kevin Kanner on drums. He opens with the title track rolling along with a steady bubbly groove. That’s followed by a peaceful “Look For A Silver Lining”. Saxophonist Ralph Moore jazzes things up on four tracks, notably “Pop’s Delight” and “Ways of the Wise” including a walking bass solo by Webber. All together Quite Frankly is enjoyable entertainment! This is Sam’s debut as a leader and we’re certain he’ll be back to a welcoming audience!

Mike Bond – ‘The Honorable Ones’

Pianist and composer Mike Bond sprinkles some first call talent into his debut recording as a leader, The Honorable Ones. Steve Wilson (sax) and Ben Wolfe (b) lead a fine team of musicians that help Mike realize his dreams. We enjoyed the tranquility of “Railroad” and the warmer selections like “Verus Vita” and “It’s A Long Way Back” as well as the spirited “Chase The Wind”. Guest vocalist Claudia Acuña appears on two selections notably the delicate “More I See You”. Gene Shinozaki (beatbox vocals) performs on three songs notably the title track. We have ample reasons to look for more from Bond!

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