Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Blanchard & Sanchez - NYC Jazz Record

Terence Blanchard & Poncho Sanchez - Chano y Dizzy!

Chano Pozo passed away at the age of 33 over 60 years
ago but his legacy as a conguero is still strong today.
Despite his brief tenure with Dizzy Gillespie, Pozo’s
influence on the bebop trumpeter was immeasurable,
resulting in a fascination with Cuban rhythms that
would last a lifetime and influence countless other
musicians. For his new album, percussionist Poncho
Sanchez has brought in trumpeter Terence Blanchard
not necessarily to fill Dizzy’s shoes but certainly wear
them for an hour and pay homage to their brief but
pioneering partnership. Thankfully Blanchard does
not often reach for the Gillespie pyrotechnics but
instead focuses on honoring the tunes and legacy in his
own more economical style.

The album opens with a medley of Gillespieassociated,
Pozo-penned tunes: “Tin Tin Deo”,
“Manteca” and “Guachi Guaro”. Sanchez’ vocals and
Blanchard’s trumpet dance around each other before
the full band jumps in with forceful montunos and a
wall of percussion. “Con Alma” and the Blanchardpenned
“Wandering Wonder” find the trumpeter
hopping around the changes before giving way to
Sanchez’ grizzled palms while “Siboney” displays
Blanchard’s drippy take on the cha-cha until the band
joins in with an upbeat chanting of the title. Bop
standard “Groovin’ High” gets a medium tempo and
infectious rhythmic battle that closes by summoning
the ghost of another trumpeter, Miles Davis, with a
short riff on “Four”. The album closes with Pozo’s
“Arinanara” - an upbeat tune that can’t help but fill the
dancefloor. Sanchez and bassist Tony Banda’s vocals
propel the intro into an all-out percussive assault over
which Blanchard blares with ease.

Sanchez is a prolific bandleader who never slows
down. His infectious rhythms are on full display with
this recording, a charming homage to a vital jazz

Blanchard & Sanchez @ NYC Jazz Record

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