Tony Lujan

You Don't Know What Love Is

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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan

This album captures two separate recording sessions seven years apart, from 1992 and 1999. Tracks from the 1999 session take up most of the CD and are played by Tony Lujan with a large band. The quintet tracks, nine and ten, were cut in 1992. The playing styles and types of music are quite dissimilar from the former material done with what Lujan has dubbed "Bop Latino," which he differentiates from the so-called well-worn Latin jazz and arrangements. He has astutely mixed the improvisational freedom of bop with the infectious rhythms and sounds of Afro-Cuban music. On the title tune, "You Don't Know What Love Is," the mood is upbeat and the music seems to come at you from several different directions. "Tiana Tiana" has more of the freedom of bop than the percussive qualities of Latin jazz. Regardless of which way the music is leaning at any given moment, the Mario Bauza/Clark Terry-like trumpet of Tony Lujan dominates. The bonus quintet tracks are reminiscent of the Miles Davis modal music groups, with Lujan's trumpet taking on a less feverish attack mode. He also gets some excellent improvisational support from Rob Lockhart on tenor, especially on "Wicked," which is absorbing. "Mitch N' Miles" combines the funk of organ-like keyboards with the Latin cadence generated by Lujan and the group. The only vocal on the set is by Lenny Lopes singing a very pretty "Se Nota Que Haz Llorado," complete with electronically generated strings and tinkling piano of Edsel Gomez. This is a pleasant respite from the propelling bop Latino cuts. All in all, this is an upbeat, happy, toe-tapping generous 74 minutes of music by a trumpeter who needs to be heard from more than he has been so far.

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