Chris Washburne & the SYOTOS Band / Christopher Washburne

Nuyorican Nights

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Nuyorican Nights Review

by Rick Anderson

Trombonist Chris Washburne's amazing recovery from virulent nerve cancersurgery left him healthy but without muscle control or sensation on one side of his face-is an interesting back story to this album, but the music would make it a solid winner even without the heroism that made it possible. As one of the few people who can actually boast a PhD in salsa (no, seriously), Washburne has been at the forefront of New York's Latin jazz scene for years. His SYOTOS Band (the acronym stands for "see you on the other side, " which is what he told his friends and band members as he went in for surgery) is unbelievably tight but not at all constricted by limitations of genre-although the basis for each tune is clearly Latin, the playing styles and soloing approaches taken by the band's top-notch players frequently explode conventional stereotypes of Latin jazz. Highlights include the title track (a rumba written by bassist Harvie Swartz) and Washburne's own wryly titled "Man without a Face." Highly recommended.

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