Eliseo

Prophecy

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A promising and entertaining multi-instrumentalist, but mostly bass, its derivatives, and occasional vocalist, Eliseo Borrero has dedicated this album to the people of Vieques, the island off Puerto Rico where the U.S. Navy hold training sessions using live ammo. Serious dedication notwithstanding, the album is a welcome addition to the ever growing library of Latin jazz albums. Eliseo and his compadres, some of whom have worked with Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah, are adept at more than one instrument formulating a melange of colorful aural images. The group has chosen to mix Latin with other rhythms and styles of the day. "Elegua's Hip-Hop" fuses the laid-back mellowness of Weather Report, the jerky rhythms of hip-hop overlaid cadence with some dissonance from Eric Jorgensen's trombone on top, making this a very busy track. Less frenetic but equally grabbing is the opening cut, "Comparsa Pa'l Compadre," which features a vocal chorus whose purpose is to repeat the title of the song. Eliseo uses "Si Asi Fuera" to bring his smooth vocalizing into play. The one non-Eliseo penned tune, the classic "Stella by Starlight," is given a straightforward rendition, complete with strings, and featuring the leader on bass guitar. It's a nice interlude, but seems very out of place on an album seemingly determined to make the rhythms as pulsating and throbbing as humanly possible, with help from electronically enhanced instrumentation. The better tracks are those with less of the electronic wizardry and more of a variety of authentic percussive instruments along with the horns. This happens on "Bombeando," revealing the vitality of these musicians and their music. Intrusive ersatz sounds to the contrary, this is a high energy CD which is recommended.

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