This combo, featuring vibraphone-marimba master Dave Samuels, Puerto Rican flutist Dave Valentin
, and Argentine keyboardist Dario Eskenazi, whisks Afro-Latin rhythms into a zesty smooth-jazz sauce. And this CD, with percussionists Richie Flores and Roberto Quintero, is the group's most aggressive to date. Various grooves, such as the mambo, songo, samba, and the cha-cha, are sonically stamped with the impressive improvisations of the soloists. Special guest and founding CJP member Paquito D'Rivera
's birdlike alto sax lines fly on the spirited rendition of Thelonious Monk
's tricky tune "Bemsha Swing," which features melodic snippets of the Cuban classic, "Sanduga." On Oliver Nelson
's bluesy "Stolen Moments," Samuels's improvisations evoke Cal Tjader
's good vibes. On "See You in a Minute," Valentin pays tribute to the late Cuban flutist Jose Fajardo. Flores and Quintero work their drum magic on the folkloric "Masacoteando." All together, the CJP speaks all of the Latin musical languages, with the accent on swing. --Eugene Holley Jr.