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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

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Caribbean Jazz Project
Caribbean Jazz Project- Afro Bop Alliance
Heads Up

By Michael Stone

Published June 13, 2008

Since founding the Caribbean Jazz Project in 1993, Dave Samuels (vibes and marimba) has overseen a collective featuring the considerable talents of Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Valentin and Andy Narell. On this new release, he teams up with the Maryland-based Afro Bop Alliance, resetting the CJP’s numbers in revelatory big-band style. One of the key additions is Terry Gibbs, whose pioneering artistry on the vibraphone exerted a profound influence on the younger Samuels, and resonates clearly here, as does Samuels’ own past work with the eclectic likes of Chet Baker, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny, Spyro Gyra, the Yellowjackets, and Frank Zappa. This historic union features five Samuels originals  (“Rendevous,” “Five For Elvin,” “Picture Frame,” “Birds Of A Feather,” and “Afro Green”), plus a suave interpretation of Coltrane’s “Naima,” a majestic take on Oliver Nelson’s archetypal “Stolen Moments,” a sweeping read of Monk’s “Bemsha Swing,” and a sparkling version of the Gillespie- Pozo chestnut “Soul Sauce” that recalls the best of Cal Tjader.

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