This week we feature music from some of the nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album for this year’s Latin Grammys. The awards show will be on November 17 in Las Vegas.
Brazilian pianist, composer and arranger Antonio Adolfo’s new CD Tropical Infinito augments his usual quintet with a horn section. “During the early 1960s – at age 17 to be exact, when I became a professional musician – most jazz recordings by the major artists included horns,” he says. “These albums influenced an entire generation of Brazilian jazz and bossa musicians. Only one or two music stores in Rio imported the newly released American jazz LPs and I remember scrambling to be the first to buy those albums. Then I would call my musician friends to come to my house to listen to Miles, Coltrane, Bill Evans, the Jazz Messengers, Benny Golson, Art Farmer, Horace Silver, Oliver Nelson, and others, to learn the jazz vocabulary from the masters.”
Venezuelan trumpeter Raul Agraz moved to New York in the 1990s and has stayed busy working in Broadway shows and for TV and films. Between Brothers is his debut release, and it includes bossa novas, traditional Venezuelan and Afro-Cuban rhythms, and some swinging big band arrangements.
The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra: Led by pianist, composer, and director Arturo O’Farrill, the orchestra is the standard-bearer for creative interpretation of Latin jazz greats such as Tito Puente, Frank “Machito” Grillo, and Chico O’Farrill (Arturo’s father and founder of the orchestra), as well as the driving force behind new commissions from Latin music’s most talented composers and arrangers. Their latest release is Cuba: The Conversation Continues, recorded in Havana 48 hours after President Obama announced his plan to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba.