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Remember West Side Story ? Remember how well the music captured the essence of New York City in the 1950s? Latin music was only a part of it. New York blends many different kinds of music that immigrants have brought into the city through two centuries of change. Due out October 23rd, Don Byron's second release for this band reflects the city's robust musical character. His Pan-Caribbean jazz setting provides stirring rhythms and colorful harmony. Bryon's clarinet and James Zollar's trumpet lead much of the session, while piano and hand drums carry on the tradition. The album's high point comes from "You Are #6.5," with its fiery clarinet lead and dramatic accompaniment. As with his previous projects, Byron shows his willingness to excite passion through the horn. The trouble is, throughout much of the album, he and Zollar just don't ignite. The trumpeter seems to be off somewhere alone, while Byron is content to lead with long tones and directional phrase changes. As the band's front line, they're in a position to do more. A tribute to Mario Bauza, a lovely calypso standard, a whimsical, one-minute look at The President's media presence, and a gentle clarinet & piano ballad reveal Byron's plan. Add to that an eerie DJ mix and seven more Latin jazz thrillers. As always, Byron is Byron. His focus is so broad that even klezmer enters into the picture. This one brings a welcome look at one aspect of jazz, and a promise for continued eclecticism from a unique leader.
Track Listing: Theme fromHatari; You Are #6; Klang; B-Setting; A Whisper in my Ear (for Mario Bauza); Dub-Ya; Belmondo's Up; Shake 'em Up; You Are #6.5; No Whine; Dark Room; Belmondo's Up (DJ Spooky Mix).
Personnel: Don Byron: clarinet, bass clarinet; James Zollar: trumpet, flugelhorn; Edsel Gomez: piano; Leo Traversa: bass, vocals; Milton Cardona: congas, percussion, vocals; Ben Wittman: drums, percussion; Guests: Don Byron Sr.: bass; Johnny Almendra, Mauro Refosco: percussion; David Gilmore: guitars; Robert Debellis: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, flutes; J.D. Parran: flutes; Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Curtis Fowlkes: trombone; Julie Patton, Gwen Snyder, Designer: vocals.