CD of the Month
August 2010 CD of the Month
Drummer/percussionist Craig Russo has been a member of several leading Latin music groups of the Midwest for over 20 years. In 2001 he founded his Latin Jazz Project; the members include some of the finest musicians along the legendary Route 66 between Chicago and Saint Louis. The Craig Russo Latin Jazz Project most recent recording, their 4th CD, just out on Mr. Russo’s own Cagoot Records is Mambo Influenciado. Like their previous albums, the objective of Mambo Influenciado is to take standards from both the jazz and Latin songbooks, play them with ample swing, inject them with the percussion traditions of the Caribbean and voila! An exciting sound that will compel the listener to keep playing the CD from start to finish without tiring.
Over the past 5 years Craig has visited Cuba several times to study percussion, his efforts are evident on Mambo Influenciado which showcases Cuban rhythms as well as Trinidadian calypso and Puerto Rican bomba. The title track was written by legendary Cuban pianist, Jesús “Chucho” Valdés in the mid-1960s to showcase the influence of the mambo on other Cuban rhythms; it has since become a Latin jazz evergreen. The veteran vocalist Nancy Kelly shines on the 2 tracks she is invited to sing on, former Front Range resident, pianist John “Chip” Stevens who has played with Arturo Sandoval contributes all the proper ingredients as does the highly touted tenor saxophonist, Chip McNeil. Add the superb playing by the rest of the Latin Jazz Project and you have a CD that will continue to please your ears even after repeated listening, just don’t blame us if you feel motivated to get up and dance!