Monday, February 6, 2012

Worldy and Cool - Bob Stewart

Elio Villafranca and Arturo Stable, two Cuban-born maestros of jazz and world music,
unveil "Dos Y Mas" -- the debut recording of their new piano and percussion collaboration. The intimate musical journey was sparked nine years ago when the pair met for the first time while working for Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana band. Together and separately, the two have developed loyal followings both as leaders and for their work with Wynton Marsalis, Pat Martino, Esperanza Spalding and others. Villafranca's virtuosic and multifaceted pianism engages Stable's poly-rhythmic percussion genius on 10 originals that pay tribute to the spiritual, classical and traditional legacies of Cuba, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Spain.

Saxophonist Bruce Babad is best known for his recordings with Luther Hughes' Cannonball/Coltrane Project and the Bill Holman Band. On his new release -- "A Tribute to Paul Desmond" -- recorded live at the A-Frame in Hollywood, Babad reveals his cool, lyrical style as he pays homage to the jazz master. Doug Ramsey, author of "Take Five: the Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond," says Babad "approximates Desmond's relaxation and lyricism with imitating him. From a pure sound standpoint, he is almost eerily like his predecessor, but in the blowing choruses his harmonic approach and tonal characteristics earmark his individuality."

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