Latin Jazz took a back seat in 2009 to salsa in terms of the total number of projects appearing in the market place, but Latin jazz releases were far superior in terms of content and vision. So far, during the first quarter of 2010, we have heard some amazing Latin jazz recordings and many more are due to be released prior to the summer season.
Bobby Carcassés (pictured above) has made an illustrious career by singing jazz (particularly scat) and playing the flugelhorn. He belongs to a rare breed, in terms of his musical accomplishments during his 50-year career. In fact, he recently released his wonderful 50th anniversary CD De La Habana a Nueva York, backed by a superb cast--Dafnis Prieto, Yosvany Terry, Osmany Paredes, Marvin Diz, Yunior Terry, Andrea Brachfeld, etc. They are collectively known as Afrojazz, the same name Carcassés used in 1989 when he originally recorded the tracks Blues Guaguancó and Blues Para Chano.
From the SF Bay Area comes drummer Paul van Wageningen, a West coast legend who has been on everyone's A-List for decades and has finally made his bandleading debut, in conjunction with his brother, bassist Marc van Wageningen. The VM Brothers' CD Muziek is a showcase for their talent that offers another view of how Latin jazz has evolved. Add awesome musicians like Wayne Wallace, Sheila E., Michael Spiro, Ray Obiedo. Dave K. Mathews, Peter Michael Escovedo and others to the loop, and you have another winner in the field for 2010.
Darwin Noquera, a promising Nicaraguan pianist based in Chicago, leads the Evolution Quintet (also composed of Víctor García, Daniel Pastor, Joshua Ramos and Greg Ward), whose CD "The Gardener" is sensational jazz recording.
Latin jazz comes in many forms and from all corners of the world. The German ensemble of Muriel Anderson & Tierra Neqra unites the musical forces of guitarist Muriel Anderson with the duo of Raughi Ebert & Leo Henrichs to create flamenco heaven on their CD New World Flamenco.
Alex Díaz & Son de la Calle pay homage to the father of merengue-jazz, Mario Rivera, who played on their CD Son de la Calle, recorded in three parts (1990, 2008, and 2009). Mario Rivera recorded on the 1990 and 2008 tracks (with Miguel Zenón replacing him in 2009). Percussionist Díaz's previous CD, The Be Bop Boogaloo Kings--also devoted to merengue-jazz--was released in 2006.
Proving again that Latin jazz has endless boundaries, the Austrian pianist Hamlet Fiorilli and his band...