Thursday, June 18, 2009

What's Good is Sometimes Boring Too

Now I love Latin jazz when it's done right. I was fortunate in my listening regarding this on two counts: 1.) My father somehow ended up with a Xavier Cugat album when I was a kid and I listened to it almost religiously. 2.) My older brother lived in Puerto Rico for a long while and he turned me on to salsa during its glory years. Those Fania Records were important to me, though nobody else in my neighborhood shared my enthusiasm.

From there I went on to Machito and Diz in his Latin mode, and so forth.

So a Dave Valentin CD has crossed my desk. It's a High Note record from 2006, Come Fly with Me. Valentin plays a beautiful flute. This recording is packed with it. The Latin jazz numbers are mostly on a high plane. But there are moments of slickness too. . . commercially oriented numbers that give a bad name to the whole endeavor and are apt to show up on some jazz radio outlets as exemplars of the art. The title cut is an example. It's good; it's well executed; but it does not have enough texture, no rough edges. That bores me.

But hey, there are times on this disk when everyone burns, like on "Enciendido." I wish there were more of them. But kudos for Valentin and his flute anyway!

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