T.K. BLUE, LATIN BIRD


Here’s a Latin jazz record with an abundance of sizzle and invention. Arriving on the heels of Joe Lovano’s tribute to Charlie Parker, “Bird Songs” (Blue Note, 2011), saxophonist T.K. Blue also takes his inspiration from the Parker songbook and breaths new swing (along with samba, waltz and Caribbean rhythms) into a familiar playlist and a pair of engrossing originals. Blue’s vision is pleasingly eclectic on the very fine “Latin Bird” (Motema), his ninth album, thanks to a tight band -- pianist Theo Hill, bassist Essiet Okon Essiet, and the nimble percussionist Roland Guerrero who also plays congas, along with trap drummers Willie Martinez and Lewis Nash. Like Parker, Blue is enamored with harmonic progression and these tunes flexibility proves how innovative they still are. The saxophonist yields ample solo space to Hill on a lush reading of Monk’s “Round Midnight” and incorporates sparkling multi-hued rhythms on “Donna Lee” and “Si Si,” the latter featuring the one-of-a-kind trombonist Steve Turre. (11 tracks; 52:22 minutes)
   

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JAZZ IN SPACE: T.K. BLUE, LATIN BIRD

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

T.K. BLUE, LATIN BIRD


Here’s a Latin jazz record with an abundance of sizzle and invention. Arriving on the heels of Joe Lovano’s tribute to Charlie Parker, “Bird Songs” (Blue Note, 2011), saxophonist T.K. Blue also takes his inspiration from the Parker songbook and breaths new swing (along with samba, waltz and Caribbean rhythms) into a familiar playlist and a pair of engrossing originals. Blue’s vision is pleasingly eclectic on the very fine “Latin Bird” (Motema), his ninth album, thanks to a tight band -- pianist Theo Hill, bassist Essiet Okon Essiet, and the nimble percussionist Roland Guerrero who also plays congas, along with trap drummers Willie Martinez and Lewis Nash. Like Parker, Blue is enamored with harmonic progression and these tunes flexibility proves how innovative they still are. The saxophonist yields ample solo space to Hill on a lush reading of Monk’s “Round Midnight” and incorporates sparkling multi-hued rhythms on “Donna Lee” and “Si Si,” the latter featuring the one-of-a-kind trombonist Steve Turre. (11 tracks; 52:22 minutes)
   

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