Horacio Hernandez – Italuba II – Cacao Musica

by | Nov 20, 2007 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Horacio Hernandez – Italuba II – Cacao Musica  CME 001,  55:39 **** [www.cacaomusica.com]:

(Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, drums; Amik Guerra Lig Long, trumpet/flugelhorn; Ivan Bridon Napoles, piano/keyboards; Daniel Martinez Izquierdo, electric bass)

[This is part of a major CD release of albums of Venezuelan Latin jazz coming straight from the source country.  The very colorful albums sport an unusual spiral-bound design, and the last section of the liner notes of each album is a bit of the fascinating history of chocolate. Learn more at their web site…Ed.]

Horacio Hernandez, affectionally known as “El Negro” is one in-demand drummer! He has graced the efforts of Carlos Santana, and Afro Cuban sessions of Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Michel Camilo. He may be Cuba’s most famous exported present-day drummer. He had defected from Cuba to Italy, and now makes his home in the melting pot of New York City.

His debut as a leader, Italuba, was nominated for a Grammy. Now he is back with Italuba II, a mélange of rock, jazz, and Afro Cuban rhythms. It’s a winning mix as evidenced on the trumpet driven anthemic Te Prima; the lyrical straight ahead jazz of Afternoon at the Boulevard; and the fusion Metheny-like, Mr.  Also highly enjoyable is the Caribbean feel of Meridien, dedicated to Paquito D’Rivera.

What jumps out to listeners of Italuba is the craft of musicianship of its members. Long is a first rate trumpeter with power to spare. Napoles’ keyboard work easily crosses genres and bassist Izquierdo plays a mean electric bass. “El Negro” drives this band with finesse, showing his brilliant percussive drumming skills, yet never overwhelming his band mates. Their blend of lyricism with Afro Cuban jazz swing keeps a happy vibe going throughout each song.

Sound quality is superb and Cacao Musica’s gatefold design is striking and features beautiful photography and extensive liner notes. Heartily recommended!

– Jeff Krow

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