The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - CORMAC LARKIN

Caribbean Tinge ★★★


One of the most fer­tile in­ter­faces in 20th cen­tury mu­sic was the one be­tween the jazz and Afro-Cuban tra­di­tions – what Jelly Roll Mor­ton termed the Span­ish tinge. Cuban-born pi­anist Elio Vil­lafranca here leads a heavy­weight New York group (in­clud­ing trum­peter Terell Stafford and sax­o­phon­ist Greg Tardy) through a live set of his own com­po­si­tions, which delve into that his­tory, bring­ing the rhyth­mic mus­cu­lar­ity of a Cuban per­cus­sion sec­tion to tunes that are steeped in the post-bop tra­di­tion. It’s a bold state­ment from an emerg­ing star of the up­town scene; it’s a fas­ci­nat­ing ex­am­i­na­tion of what Vil­lafranca re-ti­tles the “Caribbean tinge”; but above all, it’s a high-oc­tane blow­ing ses­sion with some front-rank New York play­ers, not least the leader him­self. eliovil­lafranca.net

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