Friday, December 25, 2015

World Music 5 - America

World Music 5 is a terrific new Latin Jazz Ensemble comprised of pianist Jose Negroni, drummer Nomar Negroni, bassist Josh Allen, violinist Federico Britos and woodwinds of Ed Calle, that happened when Negroni and Britos invited Calle to lunch one day and they join together to form a new ensemble. One result is a new double-CD album "America" (MOJITO RECORDS),an album (to paraphrase the press release), celebrates folkloric, traditional, and original Latin American and North American music. "America" features 16 original arrangements, adaptations, and or compositions by Federico Britos, Jose Negroni, and Dr. Ed Calle. The recording includes a vast array of genres including Venezuela's joropo, Mexico's jarabe tapatio, Brazil's choro, Cuba's danzon, Uruguay's candombe, the bolero claimed by Mexico and Cuba, and American Broadway and jazz standards, and presents works by master composers including Leonard Bernstein, Ernesto Lecuona, Duke Ellington, Pedro Elías Gutiérrez, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Agustin Lara, Cole Porter, Rafael Hernandez, and Brazil's Pixinguinha.

While described as a chamber jazz ensemble, the thrilling music here blends lyricism with hot rhythms and saucy leads on which the romantic feel of Bernstein's "America" is succeeded by Calle's radical reworking of J. Gonzalez Rubio's "Jarabe Tapatío (Mexican Hat Dance)," with its familiar theme bookending Calle and Britos highly energized solos. Then this in turn is followed by a lovely ballad by Calle, "Thinking of You (Pensando en Ti)," with lovely solos from Calle, Britos and Negroni, whose trio is stellar throughout in supporting everyone involved. Then there is a stunning rendition of "A Um Zero," a choro from Pixinguinha with Calle opening on bass clarinet before switching to clarinet. There is wonderful interplay with Britos along with Negroni's piano on this joyful and lyrical ragtime evoking performance followed by a rendition of "My Favorite Things" with Calle providing his own personal stamp on this Rodgers and Hammerstein number.

There is so much joyous music on "America," of which I have only described a portion, although the recording ends with a volcanic eruption of a performance of "Caravan." Many of the songs will be new to many reading this, but as World Music 5 display on renditions of familiar songs as "America," "Mexican Hat Dance," "My Favorite Things," and "Caravan," they bring virtuosity and melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic inventiveness, to provide exhilarating performances on the 16 compositions here and the most familiar songs will sound new. "America" is a recording that appeals to the heart and the head and stunned this writer when he first heard it and repeated listening to this sensational album brings new joys.

I received as a download from a publicist. Here is a performance of them of "Caravan."


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