Proteus 7

Cha Cha Lounge

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Unlike other classical brass groups, Proteus 7 has a lot of collective professional expertise in other idioms, which thoroughly invigorates what could have been another of those boring, neither-fish-nor-fowl "crossover" albums. With the aid of a couple of good Latin percussion ringers and an additional trumpeter, the seven Proteans come up with a fairly hot, unsentimental, crisply rendered program of Afro-Cuban, Mexican, Brazilian, South African and Pat Metheny tunes interspersed with some pleasing, driving originals by trumpeter Anthony DiLorenzo. A lot of the jazz impetus comes from reedman Charles Pillow, who tosses off several accomplished, heated solos -- and it's a safe bet that almost any Latin ensemble would love to execute the ensembles with the stunning, classically trained precision of Proteus. Indeed, their rendition of "Mambo No. 5" rivals the legendary sharpness of the original Perez Prado band version, though the temperature is cooler. In other words, this is far more than just a cha-cha lounge act and the whole thing is staggeringly well-recorded by Dorian's fiber-optic 24-bit process.

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