CD Reviews

MusicWeb International

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

Reviewers: Tony Augarde, Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]

AmazonUK   AmazonUS


Latin Jazz Project Volume 1






Coral Keys


Vera Cruz

St. Thomas

Cubo Azul

Childs Dance

Santa Cruz

Southern Side


Cool for Now

Ray Obiedo (guitars and synths); David K. Mathews (piano and organ); Norbert Stachel (flute, soprano, alto and tenor saxophones); Roger Glenn (flute, alto flute and piccolo); Peter Horvath (piano: solo: 5 and 6); Phil Hawkins (steel pans); Sandy Cressman (vocals); Peter Michael Escovedo (congas, bongo and timbales); Michael Spiro (percussion, maracas, güiro, bongo and bell); Karl Perazzo (congas, timbales, bongo and bell); David Belove (bass); Derek Rolando (congas, timbales); Jon Bendich (congas); Jeff Cressman (trombone); Mike Rinta (trombone, horn arrangements); Mike Olmos (trumpet); Marc van Wageningen (bass); Paul van Wageningen (drums); With Special Guests: Sheila E (conga: solo: 11) and percussion (11); Bob Mintzer (tenor saxophone: solo: 6); Elena Pinderhughes (flute: 2 and 7); Orestes Vilato (timbales: 8); Ray Vega (trumpet: solo: 8)

Recorded at Werewolf Recording, Oakland, CA, no date


There are no notes or recording details in what promises to be a multi-volume series of discs from Ray Obiedo. The copyright date is 2016 but the recording dates of the various ensembles or some of them at least, must be earlier as at least one of the personnel died around 2011. As a guitar stylist Obiedo’s bright dextrous approach sets the tone for the various pieces.

With the ensemble spearheaded by flautist Roger Glenn textures are clean-limbed and clear. Coral Keys, the Walter Bishop Jr composition, with the somewhat larger ensemble where Elena Pinderhughes replaces Glenn and added percussion is added, offers instead a laid-back groove that is also airy and rhythmically alive. The band Obiedo leads on Milton Nascimento’s Vera Cruz offers probably the funkiest Latino of all, the steel pans of Phil Hawkins and vocals of Sandy Cressman adding to the sonic mix in terms of variety and colour. Taking on Sonny Rollins’s St Thomas is no easy undertaking but tenor player Norbert Stachel girds his loins in quiet emulation of the master of the short story in music-making, albeit Stachel knows when to stop blowing. There are also a few Ray Bryant Cubano Chant riffs to end this avuncular opus.

Not to be overlooked in the Latino percussion and guitar styling is pianist David K Matthews, a sensitive and thoughtful player who never does too much but always just enough. One of his best solos is on the Obiedo original but apostrophe-free Childs Dance. Roger Glenn’s punchy Santa Cruz offers even more by way of stuff-strutting. This ingenious piece fits the Latin aura well, not least because the theme itself is attractive, the brass calls are sinewy and strong and the two-horn team offers a stronger profile than can be heard elsewhere. The last track is an attractive percussion duet between Sheila E, the only time we hear from her during the course of the album, and Peter Michael Escovedo.

Whenever and wherever these tracks were recorded – the colourful booklet isn’t telling us but does present full personnel details – this is largely a laid-back and effective slice of the Latin muse.

Jonathan Woolf

Return to Index