Tony Martinez

La Habana Vive

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A brilliant if little-known improviser, Tony Martinez on alto recalls Richie Cole's tone a bit, while on tenor he looks more toward Michael Brecker. His solos fall between advanced hard bop and Afro-Cuban jazz. On this release, he wrote all nine pieces, including tributes to Emiliano Salvador and John Coltrane ("Coltrane My Giant," which is a Latinized "Giant Steps"). Martinez' "Cuban Latin Jazz" group is a septet with both Julio Padron and Mathieu Michel on trumpet. There are also many guests on this CD, including five background vocalists, several percussionists, and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Rubalcaba's presence does not stop Martinez from featuring his own piano on "Tony's Cha Cha Cha," one of the set's highpoints. Highly recommended.

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