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  • Jonathan Widran

RON RIEDER, Latin Jazz Sessions

If Ron Rieder’s fierce, festive and fiery debut album, the humbly titled Latin Jazz Sessions, feels like that blast of gale force Brazilian samba an Afro-Cuban jazz you’ve been waiting to sweep your away into Latin jazz la la land, it’s with good reason. Disguised, a la Clark Kent, as a successful physical scientist for many years, the brilliant composer was biding his time, making music wherever he cold, until he had the opportunity to create this rip-roaring jam session with this dream all-star group.

The warm-toned abstract cover art prominently featuring a hat-wearing upright bassist may have listeners thinking that Rieder is one of the musicians; having a phenomenal steel drummer named Ron Reid on the joyful, intensely percussive Caribbean flavored “St. John” and the buoyant, scorching closer “Capitol Mayhem” might add to the confusion. Rieder actually co-produces and co-arranges his brilliant, rhythmically eclectic compositions, which are brought to ever-glowing and ever-grooving life by Mike Tucker’s hard-jumpin’, oft-squealing tenor madness,

Fernando Brandao’s sultry, whimsical flute (most notably on the lighthearted charmer “Samba Feliz”), Alain Mallet’s alternately elegant and rambunctious piano and the booming drums and percussion of Mark Walker and Ricardo Monzon. And let’s not leave off the two master groovemeisters who keep the bass throbbing, Gerson Lazo-Quiroga and Oscar Stagnaro.

These sessions burn from the get go, with the sassy “Un Coco Loco” leaping forth on the wings of Tucker and Maillat’s snazzy repartee with Monzon, and “The Samba Moon” adding a little snappy dancing and romancing to the mix. Balancing all the heat are the lush, breezy samba ballad “Spring Serenade” and the smoky, sultry “From Dawn to Dusk.” Here’s hoping that Latin Jazz Sessions isn’t just a one and done dream fulfilled by Ron Rieder, but a springboard for much more zesty creativity in the future!


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