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  • Jonathan Widran

FRANK COLON, Latin Lounge

Throughout his illustrious career as a sideman, veteran percussionist amped up the grooves behind everyone from The Manhattan Transfer and Aretha Franklin to Tania Maria. Yet the release of his multi-dimensional musical experience Latin Lounge – much too rhythmically eclectic and melodically fascinating a journey to simply call a “new album” – proves that he’s clearly been holding back.

Don’t let the project’s use of the name “lounge” in the title lull you into thinking this just a chill kind of affair. It’s anything but. The “lounge that Colon has created is more of a meeting place for all sorts of genre-specific delights, from rock (the edgy, Santana-esque fusion jam “The Whales of Bahia”) to spirited, sensual flamenco (“Spanish Heart”), a soulful, lighthearted “Samba Gitano” and the lushly romantic “Tango Lucumi.”

Produced by Daniel Figueiredo and recorded in Rio, the 10-track “lounge” is also a cozy yet spirited gathering spot for the well-known Brazilian musicians who bring Colon’s visions to life – including trumpeter Jose Arimateia, flutist Carlos Malta and drummer Julio Falavigna. Other key sonic textures include harmonica, Fender Rhodes and accordion. You can certainly enjoy the dynamic twists and turns Colon and his friends create on their own merits – but the wise listener will her the music as an open door to the reality Colon speaks of when he says, “The blend of musical cultures raises consciousness, brings people together and promotes peace.”

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