4 January 2007
MARK WEINSTEIN - CUBAN ROOTS
Well,what can you say about this that hasn't been said before.Probably the hardest,heaviest and certainly the rarest afro cuban jazz lp ever made.Recorded in a 3 hour session for the Musicor label in 1967 who decided it wasnt commercial enough and pressed just 500 copies.Check the band:
Mark Weinstein - trombone Arnie Lawrence - alto sax Mario Rivera - baritone sax
Chick Corea - piano Bobby Valentin - bass Kako - bell and palito Julito Collazo - conga and bass drum Tommy Lopez - conga drum Papaito - conga drum
Now read on:
Originally released in 1967 on Musicor, Mark Weinstein's classic "Cuban Roots" with his Cosa Nueva Orchestra has at long last been re-issued on CD by Catalogue Music [this was written about 2004-however its just made a reissue in Japan] laboriously restored and remastered from the best available vinyl discs as the original master was long lost.
The entire album had been recorded in a single three hour session in a tiny studio, and all tracks are first complete takes. Even the original Musicor release was not of the greatest technical quality and in fact rather harsh-sounding, and an early re-release on Ariola suffered from a flawed pressing and fuzzy sound. With the current CD re-issue, "Cuban Roots" can be heard far better and far more cleanly than ever before. Don't expect the perfection of a modern digital recording, or even of a remaster from an original analogue high quality master, though. This would be plainly impossible to achieve. But the quality is still very, very good indeed and a real joy, especially if you've ever heard the vinyl releases
Dedicated Afro-Cuban/Latin jazz aficionados will not need reminding what a momentous event the release of Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots" was back in 1967 and why it almost instantly acquired legendary and even cult status. "Cuban Roots" represented an epic revelation. Never before had Cuban folk and especially Santeria rhythms been heard outside the boundaries of Cuban folk music. The complexity and sophistication of these rhythms came almost as a shock in the jazz world. Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots" was - is! - as mind-blowing as few albums before or since. Despite a distinct lack of critical acclaim at the time, the reputation of "Cuban Roots" spread rapidly through the ranks of Afro-Cuban jazz devotees on both sides of the Atlantic. As the album was never widely available (at any rate on this side of the pond), musicians and connoisseurs alike would often gather around whomever was fortunate enough to have a copy to listen to this amazing revolutionary recording. The popular excitement "Cuban Roots" generated was quite extraordinary. The original release quickly became a prized collectible and today probably is one of the most collectible vinyls on the planet, while even the Ariola re-release is quite sought-after and you'd probably have to be incredibly lucky to find one.
In addition to the sophisticated complex Afro-Cuban rhythms, the equal complexity of the ensemble writing and playing on Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots" also stands out. The great spontaneity of this recording is given a further edge by the fact that it was based on a single full band rehearsal. Weinstein's crisp hard-edged trombone hardly stops playing, alternating between improvs and playing the second voice in the arranged responses mainly owing to the lack of a second trombonist. In addition to Weinstein, the band is comprised of a formidable array of luminaries. Mario Rivera on bari, then with Tito Puente, held the horns together. Arnie Lawrence on alto was picked on the strength of his prowess as a mambo dancer and his innate timing. A young Chick Corea, apparently somewhat bewildered at the rehearsal, on the cusp of his stint with Miles Davis shows much of the panache and style for which he was soon to become renowned. Julito Callazo, Tommy Lopez and Papaito from Sonora Matencera, already giants, here played together for the first time, and Papiro played conga on at least two of the tracks. Congas substituted for bata drums as the latter's use in a secular setting was at the time considered sacrilegious. Bassist Bobby Valentin, known for his great musical open-mindedness, and Kako on bell and palitos completed the line-up.
The opener of Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots", "Malanga", kicks the album off with an instantly riveting beat and complex and almost fierce improvs from Weinstein's edgy trombone and Lawrence's alto. Lennon and McCartney's "Michelle" is a brilliant arrangement that must have served as the template for many a subsequent horn-based version, though the driving as well as driven percussion here has never been approached elsewhere. "Ochosi-Om-Mi" is lyrical, an irresistible groove, with tasty as-if-in-a-dream like improvs. Things approach fever-pitch with "Chango", the hypnotic beats of the percussion driving on the horns, the improvs soaring to ever greater heights of invention. "Ochun" is perhaps the most light-hearted of the pieces, a happy, irresistible groove that practically forces you to jump up and dance - after all, this music, these rhythms, are meant to be danced to. Mark Weinstein's trombone and Chick Corea's ivories are especially driving and provide fine improvs - this is young Corea at his finest, rising to the challenge thrown up by Weinstein. An original Weinstein composition, "Just Another Guajira" continues in a happy vein, like a mambo on steroids. "El Desenganado de los Roncos" is at once very lyrical and incredibly complex, the ensemble playing is out of this world, as indeed are the improvs. "Cuban Roots" closes with "El Barracon", a driving piece, feverish, ecstatic. Even after nearly forty years, Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots" still sounds fresh and exciting and still delights and surprises. I still discover something new with every listen, and not only because of the cleaned-up nature of this re-issue.
This superb article was lifted from rainlore.com .
There's also an excellent interview with Mark Weinstein here
The post is a rip of the cd @320 -I have been outbid for a vinyl copy on ebay the few times it has appeared...but one day,one day !!!