Carlos Henriquez – Dizzy Con Clave: Live From Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola RodBrosMusic 1002 74:01****:
There has been much debate and often general misunderstanding about the meaning of “clave” and “clave changes”. So much so, that author Kevin Moore has published a book entitled Understanding Clave and Clave Changes. However for our purposes in relation to the recording Carlos Henriquez – Dizzy Con Clave, all that has to be remembered is that clave is simple yet complex unit of rhythm that is the glue that holds Cuban music together. It is on full display in the recording.
As for the set list, all the compositions with the exception of “Tin Tin Deo” and “Trinidad, Goodbye” were written by Dizzy Gillespie either in whole or in collaboration with others. As explained in the liner notes by Carlos Henriquez, the layout of the tracks “tells the story of how the compositions takes us on a journey with masterful rhythms, rich harmonies, and original melodies”.
Bearing that in mind, the session starts with the Afrocentric “A Night In Tunisia”. With tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana in the forefront of the number, she enhances the proceedings with a distinctive approach and an expressive execution. “Groovin’ High” opens with some elaborate finger plucking by bassist Henriquez.Then after a disclosure of the melody into the Salsa rhythm, Henriquez picks up the theme with a further elaboration of his technique.
This is a supercharged group of musicians that Henriquez has assembled for this concert and it is demonstrated in the deference and transformation that the band devotes to the music. For example on “Con Alma” which is given a bolero/ballad treatment, trombonist Marshall Gilkes’ luminous tone is prominently featured. There is also some sparking trumpet work from both Michael Rodriguez and Terrel Stafford.
The two non-Gillespie compositions close out the album. Firstly there is “Tin Tin Deo” by Walter Gilbert and Chano Pozo and then “Trinidad, Goodbye” by pianist Kenny Barron. In the late 1940s, Chano Pozo who was a Cuban, joined the Gillespie band as a conga player. He was instrumental in introducing Santeria syncopations and Afro-Cuban rhythm to the band. Throughout the number, the 2/3, 3/2 clave rhythm which is the backbone of the Afro-Cuban music is prevalent. Both trombonist Marshall Gilkes and tear sax player Melissa Aldana are front and center to meaningful and forceful effect.
As for the Barron composition, it has a sleek but intensely focussed rhythm with trumpeter Terrel Stafford and pianist Manuel Valera demonstrating their improvisational ingenuity.
This release is an examination of Dizzy Gillespie’s far-reaching impact on Latin jazz.
Carlos Henriquez – bassist, coro & leader; Michael Rodriguez – trumpet, coro; Terrel Stafford – trumpet; Melissa Aldana – tenor sax; Marshall Gilkes – trombone, coro; Manuel Valera – piano; Anthony Almonte – conga, vocals; Obed Calvaire – drums
A Night In Tunisia
Tin Tin Deo;