Hilton Ruiz

Heroes

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Although often overlooked, pianist Hilton Ruiz has been one of the top Latin jazz bandleaders (at least on record) of the 1980s and '90s. For this spirited affair, Ruiz uses a nonet consisting of up-and-coming tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, trumpeter Charlie Sepulveda, the great trombonist Steve Turre, bassist Andy Gonzalez, drummer Ignacio Berroa and three percussionists. Tito Puente sits in on three of the nine numbers, two of them on vibes. The music is generally more bop-oriented than Ruiz's earlier Novus releases, with highlights including his "Sonny's Mood," "Little Suede Shoes," "Maiden Voyage" and "Con Alma"; the latter is a duet by Ruiz and Sepulveda. Recommended.

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