Friday, May 15, 2009

Jorge Sylvester's Afro-Caribbean Approach to the Trio

We spoke earlier in the week about the horn trio in modern jazz. Today we have another way to sculpt the group sound with this configuration. Jorge Sylvester plays an appealing, lucid alto. For his new CD In the Ear of the Beholder (Jazz Magnet) he brings electric bassist Donald Nicks into the fold. Nicks can slap and cajole his bass into a hip groove and he does so throughout. Most importantly, Latin set-master Bobby Sanabria is also on board, and he helps make this record pop in a big way. Together they create a very convincing route through the tangle of Latin, Caribbean, Afro, Funk and Jazz strands of music today.

Sanabria is amazing. He can sound like a full Latin percussion array or swing and funk out with the best of them. But in his own, very moving way. Jorge takes full advantage of this potent rhythm section by writing and arranging the music to capitalize on the rhythmic possibilities they can unleash. And unleash they do. A calypso like "Sly Mongoose" starts with how Rollins might go about it and takes it a couple of notches beyond that, with hard hitting syncopation from everybody and a loose but hipply rhythmic alto riding on top with joyous abandon.

In the Ear of the Beholder is jazz that is muy caliente. And extraordinarily hip too.


  1. This is some great info and I really appreciate what you're doing here. With the gutting of the arts & leisure weeklies there aren't that many places to go to get good information on music such as this. Thanks!

  2. I thank you for that comment. You are right there are less and less printed sources of music coverage out there. I try to do my part electronically and also for Cadence Magazine.