There are few musical boundaries that pianist Merl Saunders hasn't ventured into. For Fiesta Amazonica, a follow up to his classic Blues for the Rainforest, he continues to blend of world beat, new age, blues, funk, and jazz. Guests on the recording include Jerry Garcia, Steve Kimmock, Rob Wasserman, Bob Weir, and Vince Welnick. Songs on this album were inspired by a trip Saunders took to visit the rainforests in South America. The title track attempts to capture the energy of an Amazon tribal celebration. It features a brilliant guitar solo by Zero and Other Ones guitarist Steve Kimmock. Perhaps the most intense tune, "Ayahuasca Zone" was based on a ceremony in which rainforest natives ingested a powerful psychedelic drug. An eclectic and dissonant tune, it brings the wild ceremony to life. With its strange directions and brilliant songwriting, this album is a testament to Saunders' long and diverse career.
AllMusic Review by Curtis Zimmermann