Ray Vega, trumpet, rotary valve trumpet, chekere, cowbell, percussion; Bobby Porcelli, alto saxophone; Igor Atalita, piano; Gregg August, acoustic bass; Wilson "Chembo" Corniel, congas, chekere, percussion; Adam Weber, drums and chekere
Ray Vega wades into Wayne Shorter's "Black Nile" with some bite, playing straight Jazz over Latin rhythms and ripping into a snorting solo. He and his band have been playing together for eight years, which must be some sort of record. They play well as a unit, they are full blooded, creating a lot of drama; often strutting and brash, sometimes funky, Vega can sound like a boiler that is about to shoot its safety valve any moment. McCoy Tyner's "Contemplation" suggests a little restraint; there are some nicely fashioned solos here. Alto sax player Bobby Porcelli shines in his own piece, "Ne Quitez Pas", a swinging tune that he solos in with relish. "Squeeze, Squeeze" is the first of four original tunes written by Vega in this set. There is some tight ensemble playing, and Vega again displays what a strong and thoughtful trumpet player he is. "Sky!" is another Vega piece and has more excellent trumpet, with the alto sax of Porcelli never far away. Though there are more reflective pieces; bass player Gregg August's "Crescent Mood", for example. The dynamic of the band is always very strong. Vega gives his all on the trumpet, and his tightly knit ensemble responds in equal measure. Powerful stuff.
by Ferdinand Maylin
Copyright Jazz Now, April 2004 issue, all rights reserved
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