Jerry Gonzalez & the Fort Apache Band

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The brothers Gonzales, trumpeter/conguero Jerry and bassist Andy, and their dauntless sextet, the Fort Apache Band, serve up an enigmatic collection of pensive Latin jazz that, for all of its intelligence and musicality, just misses ignition. Perhaps one reason for this is Gonzales' often subdued trumpet and flugelhorn; another is the extensive overdubbing of the percussion instruments at the cost of the spontaneity and fire of Latin rhythms interlocking on the spot. Things come almost to a dead halt with the drifting, eight-minute "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing" -- just ethereal solo horns over Larry Willis' piano -- and on the final duet track, "Ruby, My Dear." Nevertheless, one can savor the intriguing triple horn voicings on "Midnight Train" and "Heidi Ho," and "Gonzilla" is a studio tour de force of multiple trumpets, all played by Jerry, with a muted one above wild African drumming.

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