Hilton Ruiz


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Pianist Hilton Ruiz mixes together elements of salsa, r&b, funk and jazz but, instead of his music becoming some type of hybrid, the result is a very danceable variety of jazz that is both accessible and challenging. Ruiz, whose main influence is McCoy Tyner, gathered together a very interesting assortment of players for Strut. Trumpeter Lew Soloff contributes some high notes and leads the horn riffing, trombonist Dick Griffin's extroverted trombone is witty in its short spots, Sam Rivers (mostly on tenor) and percussionist Mongo Santamaria add their sounds to the brew and guitarist Rodney Jones is second only to Ruiz in taking solo honors. It is particularly rewarding to hear a Latin remake of "The Sidewinder" and many of the other good-natured melodies are catchy. Strut should be able to win over both jazz fans and those listeners who claim to not understand or be able to appreciative creative music.

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