Perico Sambeat

Ademuz

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AllMusic Review by

Perico Sambeat, an overlooked Spanish altoist and composer, recorded this album in 1995 with the help of future superstars Brad Mehldau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Mark Turner. Michael Leonhart, the underrated trumpeter, is the session's third horn. In the rhythm section are Joe Martin on bass, Jordi Rossy on drums, and both Guillermo McGill and Enric Canada on percussion. Enrique Morente contributes vocals on three tracks.

This is a fairly large ensemble, and the sounds on this record are, accordingly, huge. Sambeat's Latin jazz compositions present the listener with an unusually dramatic sweep, a breathtaking landscape of beautiful melodies, striking harmonic colors, churning, multi-layered rhythms, subtle dynamics, and brilliant solos. Morente's yearning, intense vocal performances lend an aura of heightened spiritual fervor. Overall, the first four tracks are the most ambitious -- particularly "Ademuz," with its hard-hitting, quasi-fusion groove and keyboard, electric bass, and overdriven guitar textures, all of which give way to an acoustic ambience as the tune progresses. The remaining three tracks are a bit more conventional, particularly "Barri de la Coma," the closing Latin romp based on rhythm changes with a modified bridge. Sambeat's flute and Leonhart's muted trumpet are nice touches on the shout chorus.

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