Diego Urcola is no stranger to the limelight, or the practice room, for that matter. Having begun his musical studies at the age of nine in the Colegio Ward in Buenos Aires, followed up by the prestigious Berklee College of Music, rounded off at City College of New York, Urcola has been through some of the finest training that the Latin jazz idiom has to offer. As for the limelight, his long stint with Paquito d'Rivera's quintet, the United Nation Orchestra, and the Caribbean Jazz Project, to name only a few, have provided more than enough of that. With a credit's list to last a lifetime, Urcola set out to create something truly special for his sophomore release, Viva. The lineup reads like a who's-who in Latin jazz, showcasing the founding fathers of the style, and the young lions of tomorrow, including Dave Samuels, Paquito d'Rivera, Jimmy Heath, Avishai Cohen, Berklee chum Antonio Sanchéz, Edward Simon, and Pernell Saturnino. The record is sonically vibrant and clear, and the authorship is consistently excellent. The performances are as first rate as one might expect of players of such a caliber. The arrangements and solos are tasteful and listenable from start to finish. Viva, as the name implies, truly lives.
AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez