Ed Maina – In the Company of Brothers
This Is the Moment
You're Still Here With Me
Picture of Hope
My Father's Sky
Imela Chukwu (Reprise)
Ed Maina (alto, soprano and tenor saxophones, clarinet, alto flute,
piccolo): Rick Krive, Jim Gaisor, Kemuel Roig (piano): Dave Cabrera (rhythm
guitar): Jonathan Orriols, Gustavo Eraso (solo guitar): Gabby Bivas, Abe
Laboriel, Oskar Cartaya, John DiModica (bass): Hector ‘Pocho’ Nuciosup,
Charlie Santiago, Daniel Berroa (percussion) Abner Torres, Hilario Bell
(drums): Ira Sullivan (trumpet solo) Jim Hacker (trumpet, flugelhorn): John
Kricker (trombone): Rick Krive, Javier Dias, Carolina Herrera (vocal):
Priscilla Wagner (bass flute): Chuk Wu (prayer on Imela Chukwu): Eddy
Garcia (Kalimba on Imela Chukwu)
No recording details
If the Almighty sanctions Soul, then Ed Maina – who thanks him in his
sleeve note – is well placed to preach the message in his latest album. The
multi-instrumentalist and his band of brothers serve up a varied palette of
tempos and styles and are never tempted to coast along, even though they
largely ignore the lure of standards.
Maina’s alto playing, cool and precise on This is the Moment, acts
as an apt foil for the rockier, raunchier guitar work of Jonathan Orriols
whose take-off solo is seconded by the throbbing bass work of Gabby Vivas,
a potent presence. On one of his own compositions, the slow ballad You’re Still Here with Me – there are six all told whether
credited solo or as co-composer – Maina plays clarinet and alto flute with
clarity and poise: think of Jimmy Hamilton, but with a much warmer tone.
But there are lissome Latino moments during the album too, such as Quelly’s Song where his flute playing is fast, forceful and
One of the very best tracks in an album of consistently good things is the
Maina-Billingsley piece Priscilla. Coursing with filmic
romanticism this soulfully funky opus shows Maina at his considerable best
as composer and performer – and he can blow hard when required - though the
rhythmically vivacious Mi Hermano sees him playing flute with
dexterous speed abetted by pianist Kemuel Roig. Funky, though tautly
smooth, is Freed Indeed in which the expanded horn section can be
heard at its fullest. Soloist Ira Sullivan plays a characteristically sassy
muted solo. It would have been good to have heard more from him.
Maina dons the soprano sax for the laid-back ballad Picture of Hope where Rick Krive’s keyboard styling can be
appreciated. It’s clear from these personnel call-outs that the brothers
are many and varied and the ever-changing personnel bring new qualities.
The prayerful chants and laid back rocky groove on Imela Chukwu –
I assume the solo guitarist is again Orriols and not Gustavo Eraso – offers
an example of this changeability, the song being briefly reprised, and
clarified, as a trio version at the album’s end; just tenor sax, guitar
(definitely Eraso) and bassist Abe Laboriel. There’s also quite an allusive
version of Amazing Grace for just Maina’s piccolo and Priscilla
Wagner’s bass flute.
There is much variety on offer here, from a shifting raft of musicians.
What remains constant is Maina’s communicability, freshness and collegiate