Thursday, March 19, 2020

Roland Abreu & The Cuban Latin Jazz – Roots (2020)

Roland Abreu & The Cuban Latin Jazz

Taras Bakovskyi - tenor & soprano saxophones
Paweł Kukuła - piano
Roland Abreu - bass, percussion
Dominik Jaske - drums
Nando Del Rio - percussion
Elio Rodriguez Luis - congas


V Records 018

By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by Cuban (resident in Poland) bassist/composer Roland Abreu and his Cuban Latin Jazz quartet, which also includes Ukrainian saxophonist Taras Bakovskyi, pianist Paweł Kukuła and drummer/percussionist Dominik Jaske. Two additional Cuban percussionists: Nando Del Rio and Elio Rodriguez Luis also take part in the recording. The album presents seven original compositions, all co-credited to the members of the quartet. The music was recorded at the splendid Monochrom Studio and engineered by Ignacy Gruszecki, with a truly spectacular sound quality.

Cuban Jazz can not be played perfectly by musicians not originating from Cuba, and I am glad that this album presents music, which has obvious Cuban roots, but does not try to be strictly just Cuban Jazz. It offers a very successful amalgam between the Cuban rhythms and the Slavic lyricism represented by the rest of the quartet members, which works out very well, now for the second time in a row.

The compositions are all well structured and perfectly coherent; the melodic content is excellent, as are the arrangements spiced by the Cuban elements. Although the music is mostly on the lighter side of the Jazz spectrum, it is wonderfully entertaining and even spiced with a dash of exotic humor, which makes the album a true pleasure to listen to. But Jazz connoisseurs will be also able to enjoy the great saxophone and piano soloing, the wonderfully warm bass parts and the delightful polyrhythmic percussion "balagan".

Overall combining the fluent playing, nice tunes, exuberant rhythmic background and great sound quality, this album has a great entertaining value, without compromising the artistic qualities even one notch. This is one danceable piece of unadulterated pleasure, which is guaranteed to move your ass unless you are completely deaf.

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