After two records, both of which were produced by the same live concert, Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars set out with a new label, a new musical director, and a new idea for their third album. Some may even consider this a sophomore release because of the nature of the first and second. Packed with individual character and a new aesthetic, The Last Bullfighter marks a new direction from this genuinely all-star group. Having been recorded in the studio instead of in a club, with a live and enthusiastic audience, makes a big difference. The fidelity is far superior to the previous two discs, and because of the controlled context, the arrangements are much more complex and interesting. The masterful and intricate horn arranging was done by trombonist Francisco Torres, who went from just an arranging credit on the first two records to arranger/musical director/producer on Bullfighter. Unfortunately, much of the vivacious, joyful quality captured in the club -- thanks to both the live crowd and the loose, descarga-style feeling of the music -- is lost. There is a feeling that the All Stars went from a neighborhood jam session to Carnegie Hall. It's good to play Carnegie Hall, but it's not the same. The musicianship throughout the record is truly fantastic, and the careful, measured approach toward arranging may prove more palatable to some than the previous record's loose, free, and sometimes frazzled energy. Hopefully, Latin jazz audiences can look forward to more from Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars, as they are one of the finer groups of their kind, studio precision and club frenzy alike.
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AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez