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  • Jonathan Widran


One of the major challenges for veteran artists is adapting to the evolving way that music is consumed. In 2000, ten years into his solo recording career, guitarist/composer Juan Carlos Quintero formed Moondo Records as a distribution and licensing platform for himself and other world music artists.

Now hip to the digital age, the Medillin, Colombia born, Berklee and Boston Conservatory of Music educated artist resurrected his original concept in 2019 as Moondo Music LLC to reflect new distribution models, with the goal of re-issuing music from his own extensive catalog and collaborating on new projects with world music artists.

One powerful realization that takes hold when listening to his first re-release Caminando – retitled from his long out of print 1997 gem The Way Home – is the timeless Latin meets contemporary jazz coolness and fire of his infectious melodies and spirited grooves that roll like a travelogue across Latin America - from the joyous cumbia (an original Colombian folk style) of “El Baile” and “El Baile” to the brisk and bouncy cha cha cha vibe of “Caminando” and the the sensual bolero-influenced “The Way Home.”

The array of Latin grooves emerge organically from Quintero’s effortless interaction with an ensemble featuring pianist Joe Rotondi, bassist Eddie Resto and a host of all star percussionists. The guitarist can do the radio-friendly pop-flamenco styled thing as well as anyone, loping along casually on the tropical-flavored cruise “El Pueblo,” but unlike other pop-flamenco artists of the time, he challenges he challenges himself and Rotondi to jet off course and toss off a couple of bebop licks.

More in character with Quintero's wide cultural vision, however, are more polyrhythmic hybrid excursions like "Hermanos," which fuses fast and rumbling guitar runs with folksy, twangy, country/Americana sensibilities, and the irrepressible, bongo-happy quartet piece, "Little Indians," which perfectly blends straight-ahead and Latin pop flavors. Quintero also has a blast venturing into odd-metered, avant-garde territory on the jumpy closer "Porque Si."


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