Ray Barretto's Carnaval combines two 1962 sessions, Pachanga with Barretto (his Milestone label debut as a leader) and Latino!. Both sets feature Barretto's first band, Charanga Moderna, with trumpeter El Negro Vivar and tenor saxophonist Jose Chombo Silva added to the front line for the latter LP. The first album is very much Latin jazz of its time, with all ten tracks designed for dancing the briefly popular pachanga, a dance that was simply too manic and difficult to catch on widely. The pachanga-friendly tempos on these ten brief cuts (most under three minutes) make the album sound rushed and nervous to ears unfamiliar with the dance fad. The far-better Latino!, recorded in nearly the same session, is a good old-fashioned jam session, with more leisurely tempos and extended playing times that give all the soloists – especially Vivar, Silva, and flutist Jose Canoura – plenty of room to stretch out. These two albums are very different, but hearing both of them in proximity reveals much about the state of the New York City Latin jazz scene in the early '60s.
With his idiomatic and graceful style, pianist Philip Martin has established himself as the foremost exponent of Gottschalk. Much of his music is by no means easy to play; it requires an impeccable technique matched with Èlan and joie de vivre for its most effective execution. Although not essentially a great composer, Louis Moreau Gottschalk had a unique spontaneity and individuality which Martins performances bring vividly to the fore. The composers music was hugely popular during his lifetime and his works display a real melodic charm and a great sense of fun. Each of the eight discs in Martins extensive Gottschalk series has received wide acclaim and left pianophiles eagerly awaiting the next issue.
I’ve had this Robert Schumann compilation from Brazilian pianist Guiomar Novaes for a half year now and keep coming back to it, always with the pleasure. Novaes presents balanced interpretations of some famous Schuman compositions; there’s nothing adventurous or idiosyncratic about her approach but they are musical and very winning.
Probably my two favorites performances are of the Papillons waltzes, Schumann’s Op. 2, and the big and beautiful Symphonic Variations. Novaes’ Papillons are charming and light without being lightweight. A heavier composition, the Symphonic Variations elicit an emotional reading from Novaes.
Carnaval is fantastic collection of songs released by Spyro Gyra. The album was originally released in 1980, the start of their golden years. The cd itself is great. All of the songs are a pleasure to listen to, and have appropriate names for the tracks.Horn parts are an integral part of this record.