4 July 2009
JULIO GUTIERREZ - PROGRESSIVE LATIN
Julio Gutierrez for Gema from 1960.
The title says it all for this groundbreaking heavyweight descarga session...Highly recommended.
Has anyone out there got a copy of Gutierrez's "Havana BC" they want to sell me?If so leave me a message in the comments.
Progressive Latin should be considered a classic of Latin jazz if it isn't already. "Cosa Buena" cooks, and "Closing Time" is a slower bossa nova with flute and horns that captures the mood of a good night out at its end. "Yambambe," an Afro rhythm behind mostly piano, sounds more sophisticated than its simple construction. "El Altiplano" is supposed to be an Incan melody with Afro elements. In any case, vocal interjections pave the way for a longer descarga where a variety of intriguing elements (horns, flute piano, even organ) work together in their own weird ways and combinations. The "Route 66" theme arrangement is a coup; the sax and flute are recorded gorgeously, and the piano and conga pace it ideally, with brief drum solo breaks. "Sad City" is a haunting flute piece, while "Guantanamera" has an interesting change but there is only so much one can expect from this tune. "Malaguena" is another long descarga that gets a little wild. Progressive Latin is something of a masterpiece from the great arranger Julio Gutierrez. Tony Wilds
What impressed me most about this album is Julio's use of space and the length of the tunes, considering that in the era when it was recorded, 2 1/2 minute tunes were standard. Great musicians like El Negro Vivar (trumpet) and Chombo Silva (sax) were able to beautifully stretch out over an almost post-bop/Afro-Cuban jazz setting. There is some serious blowing on this disc. This is another essential Latin jazz gem from the late 50s/early 60s.