Greg Diamond – Dançando Com Ale – Chasm Records

by | Feb 10, 2009 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Greg Diamond – Dançando Com Ale – Chasm Records (no number), 61:25 ****1/2:

(Greg Diamond – guitar; Seamus Blake – tenor sax; Brian Hogans – alto sax (1, 4, 5); Emilio Solla – piano (6, 8); Ferenc Nemeth – drums; Edward Perez – bass; Arturo Stable – percussion; Vanessa Diamond – vocals (9))

This is a brilliant first outing: strong original songwriting from the leader and some cleverly refigured rare standards; a killer band featuring the under-appreciated Seamus Blake on tenor sax, the youthful Brian Hogans, who made quite an impression on Russell Gunn’s latest, on alto sax for three numbers, the dazzling Argentinean pianist Emilio Salla for two tracks (check out his wonderful disc, Conversas), the in-demand Hungarian drummer, Ferenc Nemeth, New York heavyweight bassist Edward Perez, who’s showing up everywhere, and the new Cuban percussion master, Arturo Stable; confident ensemble work and deft soloing; plus that je ne sais quoi that graces special sessions.

Leader Diamond displays a wide range of influences—everyone from Wes Montgomery to Pat Metheny—including some classic jazz non-guitar players: Monk, Coltrane, and Miles Davis, as well as Latin stars Mongo Santamaria, Hermeto Pascoal, and Machito.  The result is a brave combo of Norte Americano jazz mapped onto an authentic Latino sensibility.  Not really “Latin jazz,” it’s more modern post-bop with a distinctly Latin heart, as both elements receive equal billing: the best of two worlds.

One is struck by the aesthetic range of sounds and sensibilities corralled and elucidated on this disc—everything from New Tango (“Libertango”), to  Latinized Tin Pan Alley (“All or Nothing”), to Paquito D’Rivera-ish post-bop (“Paradigma”), to Steely Dan-esque jazz-pop (“Naufrage”), to haunting Cuban folk-jazz (“Sofrito”), featuring the mesmeric alto sax of Brian Hogans, to the elegiac balladry of “Delicate Contents,” with its poignant arco bass intro and heartfelt melodic line assayed by the leader, to the doubled guitar-sax melodic line of “Primavera,” to the Egberto Gismonti-like neo-samba of the title cut, to the stately folk-classical tune by noted Spanish composer Xavier Montsalvatge, “Ninghe, Ninghe,” perhaps the disc’s most endearing number.

Look for great things down the road from this pioneering world-jazz maestro.

Delicate Contents
Ninghe, Ninghe
All or Nothing

– Jan P. Dennis

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