Stefon Harris, David Sanchez and Christian Scott - Ninety Miles (Concord Picante, 2011)


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Ninety Miles (the distance between the tip of Florida and the island of Cuba) is a collaborative album featuring David Sanchez on saxophones, Stefon Harris on vibraphone and marimba and Christian Scott on trumpet. Joining them are a range of Cuban musicians that make this quite a special and successful project. Jazz and the music of Cuba have a long history, dating back to the experiments of Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo and even before that to Jelly Roll Morton's notion of the “Spanish Tinge." This album takes a modern approach, combining the fresh distinctive approach of the American headliners with the deep rhythmic sensibility of their Cuban counterparts. The music works really well throughout, the band is tight and the music flows like a deep river of sound. Highlights are many but include Harris' composition “Black Action Figure" which was the title track of an earlier album of his. “Congo" and “Brown Belle Blues" develop complex percussive rhythms and fine playing from the front line. Harris can weave in and out of the drums and percussion, while Sanchez and Scott ride over them or punch through depending on the situation. The CD version of the album comes with a couple of short documentary films about the making of the album. Ninety Miles—amazon.com

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This story appears courtesy of Music and More by Tim Niland.
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