Starting in the late '90s, San Francisco-based pianist Mark Levine led an excellent Afro-Cuban jazz quartet called the Latin Tinge. Levine -- who early in his career had associations with Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo, and Cal Tjader (1979-1983) in addition to Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Stan Getz, and Bobby Hutcherson -- is an excellent hard bop player who has a real feel for Latin jazz. The Latin Tinge consists of Levine's fluent piano, bassist Peter Barshay, drummer Paul Van Wageningen, and percussionist Michael Spiro. On this CD, the quartet performs originals and obscurities plus Latinized versions of McCoy Tyner's "Effendi," Wayne Shorter's "Angola," "You're My Everything," "Sugar," and two Joe Henderson songs: "A Shade of Jade" and "Inner Urge." Although few surprises occur, the rhythmic grooves are quite infectious, the musicians listen closely to each other, the repertoire is diverse, and Mark Levine's piano is a joy to hear. Fun music.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow