Tony Martinez & The Cuban Power


Blue Jacket 5033-2

Tony Martinez, alto and tenor sax, piano, keyboards, percussion, lead vocals, background vocals, composer and arranger; Gonzalo Rubalcaba, piano, keyboards; Julio Padron, trumpet, vocals; Gendrickson Mena, trumpet; Leandro Saint-Hill, soprano and tenor sax; Danny Martinez, guitar, bass (track 6); Eduardo "Dudu" Penz, electric bass, baby bass; Miguel "Anga" Diaz, congas, percussion; Julio Barreto, drums, percussion; Alberto Stivens, timbales, percussion, bongos, congas, background vocals; Rodrigo Rodriguez, maracas, bongos, guiro, cowbell, background vocals.

Tony Martinez has put heart and soul into these eight tracks and is well rewarded. Starting with "Tumbao pa' mi timbal" ­ a slick, lively, danceable piece strongly emphasizing its Cuban genre. Its polyrhythmic structure with a tambao melody has congas working overtime ­ and everything else percussive. A marvelous, tight brass section carries it to a bright conclusion. Martinez blends his Latin Cuban Jazz, congas and rumbas into a fusion of explosive energy, complex polyrhythms and hot Jazz. This is his exaltation of Cuban folklore and history. He says that every time he hears this work he rejoices in the detail he finds in it. We can find no fault in that statement. Where ever you listen there is usually something fiery going on somewhere else. This is hot, passionate, powerful music. There are some fluffier interludes; "Cha Cha Cha para mi alma" is the good old 50s Cha Cha Cha ­ celebrated on alto by Martinez and guitar by Danny Martinez. "Homenaje A Emilano" has good solo work from Martinez on piano (this man is everywhere!), Julio Padron on trumpet and Julio Barreto on drums. Martinez searches deeply into his roots for this music, and comes up with a really good CD. If you are looking for something that is complicated, with spiritual and emotional depth, plus hot Latin Cuban Jazz ­ this is for you.

by Ferdinand Maylin


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