Various Artists – Jam Miami: A Celebration of Latin Jazz

Various Artists Various Artists
Jam Miami: A Celebration of Latin Jazz
(Concord Picante – 2000)
by Paula Edelstein

“I just want to celebrate” is the theme of JAM MIAMI: A Celebration of Latin Jazz, recorded “live” in Miami, Florida by legendary jazz masters Chick Corea, Arturo Sandoval, Pete Escovedo, and Pancho Sanchez. The heat and energy emanating from this incredible concert, one that has been dedicated to their friend and mentor Tito Puente, is preserved in an excellent collection of 10 songs that feature an array of stellar arrangers, composers and musicians including the remarkable Ray Vega, Steve Turre, Avishai Cohen, Dave Samuels, Dave Valentin, Ed Calle, Nestor Torres, Origin, and The Latin Jazz All-Star Band. Opening with the priceless standard “Guachi Guaro, this great collective introduces their stylistic diversity in a blaze of Sandoval trumpet glory that defies the conventional range of the instrument.

Their spirits continue to soar with Dave Valentin blowing awesome flute solos on Ray Vega’s arrangement of “Medley Para Tito.” Vega’s heartfelt salute featuring “Ran Kan Kan,” and “Oye Como Va” is a definite jam and from the sound of the cheers coming from the audience, the spirit of the recently departed $Tito Puente must have filled the room. “Wigwam,” the Grammy-nominated song by Chick Corea, features Origin at the core of its big band arrangement. This expanded version offers listeners an exceptional opportunity to hear great improvisations and solos by the quintet backed by an exciting big band format. Pancho Sanchez’s conga mastery is historic on “Poncho con su Tambor” and for two minutes, he unloads his percussive thunder on this solo triumph.

“A Mis Abuelos,” a ten-minute masterpiece written by Arturo Sandoval, features his brilliant trumpet and flugelhorn playing surrounded by a dramatic display of Spanish beauty, spirituality and fire. Horacio Hernandez on drums, Leo Quintero on guitar and Chick Corea on Fender Rhodes are blazing against a backdrop of blaring horn charts that will send good chills down your spine! They end the set with a fiery jam of Desi Arnaz’s, “Theme From I Love Lucy.” This CD contains one great show that celebrates the innovative music of a multi-generational Latin jazz “family” and together they capture the ambience and heritage of many phenomenal Latin jazz experiences ~ Paula Edelstein