Martin Arroyo's sophomore release features a sophisticated, sleek band sound and some very intelligent writing. With a cast of lesser-known New York Latin jazz proponents, drummer Marlon Simon being the most recognizable name in the bunch, Arroyo's bandmembers have more than enough musicianship among them, if lacking slightly in celebrity. Arroyo, with a very modern touch, penned the majority of the tunes that appear on the record. His melodic concepts are very much in keeping with the emerging East Coast Latin sound, which continues to differentiate itself from both Latin music and jazz, creating a voice all its own. Arroyo himself uses a light, laid-back approach to his instrument, and is a very responsive accompanist and a tasteful solo voice. His horn players, including saxophonist Luis Disla and trumpeter James Zollar, do themselves credit with inspired and confident solos, especially on the album's live cuts, which were recorded at Philadelphia favorite The Five Spot. Drummer Marlon Simon and conguero Wilson "Chembo" Corniel, though seldom flashy or impressive, contribute a strong foundation. Martin Arroyo's self-titled record has character and style. One can only hope there's more where that came from.
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AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez