Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Michel Camilo - Mano a Mano (Emarcy, 2011)

Pianist Michel Camilo has developed over the years a remarkably consistent series of musical releases, ranging from solo excursions to trio albums and even large scale classical re-interpretations. This album finds him in the similar format as the excellent Triangulo album from several years ago, returning to the trio format he has been so successful with in the past. The personnel is: Camilo on piano, Charles Flores on bass and Giovanni Hidalgo on Latin percussion. The album opens with a blast, with the groove flavored up-tempo "Yes" setting the pace, and a very interesting re-imagination of Lee Morgan's irresistible classic, "The Sidewinder" that almost begs you to get up and dance. The title composition "Mano a Moano" keeps the music simmering, as does the fun and flavorful (no pun intended) "Red Beans and Rice." "Rumba Pa'Ti" has a fine arrangement featuring some excellent percussion from Hildago. The trio slows down for some thoughtful ballads as well, with "Alfonsina y El Mar" showing some of Camilo's classical influences, and a patient and reverential version of the John Coltrane standard Naima." The album ends on a melancholy note with the haunting solo rumination “About You,” taken at a late-night contemplative pace filled with rumination about the piano, music and life in general. This was a well done and accessible album that should appeal not only to fans of Latin jazz fans, but fans of mainstream jazz in general. Mano A Mano - amazon.com

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