Dec 13 2015
Excellent debut as ensemble leader from bassist Carlos Henriquez, who doesn’t do anything particularly fancy with this Latin Jazz recording, just throws a four-seam fastball right over the heart of the plate. Key to the success of The Bronx Pyramid is that the rich rhythmic delivery, in perpetual motion, is never an obstacle to the band patiently laying down some solid melodic formations. Exhibit A would be “Cuchifrito” and the way the rhythmic attack allows the ensemble to shift gears and let soloists take the melody for a ride at a number of different speeds. Furthermore, that rhythmic-melodic foundation allows a track like “Al Fin Te Vi,” a duo of Henriquez’s bass arco and the spry dancing motion from trumpeter Michael Rodriguez, express something that is cut from a different mold, yet retain album cohesion.
The lovely ballad “Joshua’s Dream” may be this ensemble at its best, but the heart of the album lies in tracks like “9 O’Clock Bomba,” “Brook Avenue” and “Descarga Entre Amigos,” with their abounding warmth and intoxicating chatter.
My favorite recordings that fall under the (very broad) Latin Jazz category are those that are plenty lively but are still a perfect fit for a lazy Sunday morning. I’d argue that nobody has achieved that particular synthesis of qualities better in 2015 than Carlos Henriquez has with The Bronx Pyramid. It’s also, arguably, the Latin Jazz pick of the year.
Your album personnel: Carlos Henriquez (bass), Michael Rodriguez (trumpet), Robert Rodriguez (piano), Felipe Lamoglia (tenor sax), Ali Jackson (drums ), Bobby Allende (congas) and guests: Rubén Blades (vocals), Pedrito Martinez (batas), Renzo Padilla (coro) and Kike Gonzalez (coro).
Released on Blue Engine Records.
Jazz from NYC.