Mar 15 2017
The 1970s get ripped on pretty hard in some jazz circles, because it saw the birth of the fusion that led to what’s commonly referred to as smooth jazz. But where smooth jazz was a degradation (or complete abandonment) of the foundation of jazz, much of the fusion of the 1970s was a launching pad into some seriously inventive explorations of jazz music and its relationships with other musics of the world. One avenue that yielded some especially nifty dividends was where jazz avant-garde meshed with Latin Jazz and psychedelic rock. The improvisational forays of avant-garde and the rich polyrhythms of Latin Jazz might seem of contradictory natures, but they have meeting points, and making those connections happen could be facilitated by the rich dynamism of psychedelic rock, which possessed a duality of wandering solos and structured rhythmic devices.
The ensemble Sr. Langosta provides an updated version of that particular fusion. El Experimento Caribeño is a wealth of rhythmic displays. The ensemble digs into a groove and then lets loose additional percussive fireworks and melodic strands to pass like ripples over the rhythmic surface. And while most of the album is swimming in deep rhythms full of turbulence, occasionally the ensemble breaks into patient exhalations of melody like on the beautiful “Insular” and the simmering boil of “Ha Sido La Bruja.” A fiery solo from electric guitar on “Funk You!” and the space-y effects accompanying the melody on “Cerdos de Cuello Blanco” and “Electrik-Tukumán” and how this flows seamlessly into vibraphone and trumpet solos… it all speaks to how these different forms of expression can exist in the same confluence.
But not to be lost in the historical context and cerebral abstractions is that El Experimento Caribeño is very fun music, and is far more likely to inspire the feet to motion than the brain to ruminate.
Your album personnel: J.A. Ferreras (electric guitar), Manuel Rodriguez (electric bass), Gamaliel Santiago (drums), Alexandra Rivera (piano, rhodes, organ), Timothy Cooper (congas, vibraphone, percussion), Daniel Ramírez (trumpet, flugelhorn), Francisco Cruz (alto & baritone saxophones), Janice Maisonet (tenor sax), Isaías Sánchez (trombone), Jair Rodriguez Thomas (flute), Jorge L. Morales (didgeridoo, tablas) and Fabián Wilkins (synths, loops).
Released on Ropeadope Records.
Listen to more of the album at the artist’s Bandcamp page.
Music from San Juan, Puerto Rico.