Eduardo Tancredi

Latin Spell

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Classically trained on piano from the age of six, Uruguayan Edu Tancredi studied jazz and became an assistant professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where this CD was recorded and mixed. Whatever you want to call the music -- which is billed as Afro-Uruguayan but has heavy influences of Cuban and Puerto Rican styles -- its energy is infectious. Seven of the tunes are Tancredi's, including two tributes to his favorite Nick at Nite TV show, Bewitched: one is the familiar theme, the other, "A Cha-Cha for Endora," is much sweeter than she ever was. On "Venimos Tumbando" everyone gets to solo, and the fine playing on trombone, trumpet, piano, bass, and sax is propelled by a churning combination of drums, congas, and bongos. Melodies are tight rather than soaring, typically chromatic in the familiar Latin tradition, with the major interest generated by the interplay among the band, especially on the smoking tenor/alto exchange on "Hocus Pocus." Things rarely slow down on this release, and "Callejeando" fades up like a polyrhythmic street parade. The last track, "Olimar," is the only explicitly Uruguayan tune, atmospheric and distinctive, with Tancredi playing repique and chico drums along with piano for a very different sound and rhythm. Varied and enjoyable.

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