Bennett Paster

Grupo Yanqui

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Pianist Bennett Paster and bassist Gregory Ryan team up with drummer Rob Garcia to form the core of Grupo Yanqui. Chris Cheek and Yosvany Terry Cabrera share saxophone duties (and appear only on separate tracks), while Gilad and Dafnis Prieto handle percussion. Not unlike the Rumba Club, Grupo Yanqui looks at Latin jazz as a springboard for highly creative and complex original music. Paster penned six tunes for the session; Ryan, who plays both acoustic and electric bass, contributes three others. There's also a playful arrangement of Harburg and Lane's "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" and a boisterous closing rendition of Bebo Vald├ęs' "Cactus Mambo." Paster is featured without horns on his "Fantasy," a piece with symphonic overtones and an intoxicating, repeated melody. Other highlights include Ryan's "Storytime," a snappy minor-key groove in six; Paster's "Tema Para Yosvany," an elaborate piece based on a tricky figure in five; and "Oaktown Morning Blues," also by Paster, a brooding song in a slow 7/4. Involved arrangements, passionate solos, and vigorous, spontaneous interplay, all with a melodic and cosmopolitan Latin funk touch. Highly recommended.

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