Caribbean Jazz Project / Dave Samuels

Mosaic

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Working a bright, innovative corner of Latin jazz and drawing on Jamaican, Afro-Cuban, Venezuelan, and Peruvian rhythms to create a hybrid mosaic (as the title suggests), the loose, rotating collective that is the Caribbean Jazz Project manages to be many things at once, including a dance band with a hard bop sensibility, and at times the ensemble comes close to being a new age chillout orchestra. Whatever label they wear, CJP have a bright, infectious sound, led by vibraphonist Dave Samuels' bubbling and watery tones and, on three tracks here, the amazing talking steel drums of Andy Narell. Violinist Christian Howes guests on Samuels' "Slow Dance," giving it a wonderfully eerie and wheezing feel. Other highlights in what is truly a compellingly bright mosaic are the angular "Spinnaker," the ever-expanding "Portraits of Cuba," and the interesting version of Miles Davis' "Nardis" that starts off the sequence. CJP, in whatever incarnation (and players vary here almost from track to track with Samuels as the main constant), manage to sound new and fresh, experimental and atmospheric, and yet still familiar and traditional, and often all of these things at once, resulting in music that is as fluid as a wave in the sun.

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