Isis Alsina

New Directions

Pimienta Records 176 160 514-2

Isis Alsina, vocals; Ernesto Simpson, drums/percussion; Doug Bickel, piano/keyboards, Ed Calle, saxophone; Arturo Sandoval, trumpet; Denis Marks, bass

Latin Jazz. Chunky rhythms. Then "Misty" done with some very hip phrasing to a more or less standard arrangement, with a bass booming gloriously behind it all, and a piano that knows where it is going under guided hands. Drums resolutely "there", occasionally offering odd, interesting little accents. Then there is some stripper music, followed by "Stormy Weather" with Ed Calle's sax threatening a downpour. And right down home they all get, too.

Though coming all the way from Havana, Isis Alsina seems somehow best doing the standard book. She has an approach that would have gone down well in the big-band era. Latin numbers can be jolly or sad, the accent being mostly on the rhythm, of course.

Nevertheless,Isis sings very well and she would be a wow in any night club. She obviously loves singing, and she reads the melodies very well and delivers with a personal flair. "Drume Negrita" (track 9) is sung with great appeal and Sandoval plays beautifully restrained trumpet. A record for Latin fans, including a fine lacing of standards.

by Lawrence Brazier

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