ADAM CRUZ Mile­stone (Sun­ny­side)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos - — Paul Wei­de­man

Drum­mer Adam Cruz, a na­tive New Yorker and son of per­cus­sion­ist Ray Cruz, stud­ied with Keith Copeland and Kenny Wash­ing­ton and went on to work with the Min­gus Big Band, Her­bie Mann, Chick Corea, Paquito D’Rivera, and Danilo Pérez, to name a few. This is his de­but al­bum, and all the songs are his. What a dy­na­mite crew: it’s a quin­tet with Chris Pot­ter on tenor sax, Ben Street on bass, Steve Car­de­nas on gui­tar, and Ed­ward Si­mon on piano. So­prano sax­o­phon­ist Steve Wil­son and alto sax­man Miguel Zenón take turns guest­ing on ev­ery track, so it’s re­ally a sex­tet disc. Pot­ter is fly­ing nicely once things get go­ing, af­ter a sus­pense­ful in­tro on the opener, “Se­cret Life.” Two thirds through, the en­ergy winds down, cre­at­ing space for a gen­tle piano-gui­tar duet and a quiet, stately end­ing. The Latin-tinged “Emje” is less in­tense, but it’s still a thick, jazzy mix, with a lot of spon­tane­ity. Cruz pops per­cus­sively to Si­mon and Street’s im­pro­vi­sa­tional voic­ings, and then the juice jumps up with Zenón’s fleet alto work. “The Gad­fly” has Car­de­nas in a fu­sion groove, and the leader gets a chance to show his skill, work­ing solidly against a re­peat­ing bass fig­ure. The fi­nal min­utes of­fer some mad du­el­ing-sax­o­phones stuff. There’s a lot of va­ri­ety in the al­bum’s sec­ond half, and most of it’s equally hot and good.

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