Roy Hargrove's Crisol: Afrodisia
Roy Hargrove's Crisol
Habana (Verve 314 537 563-2)
Roy Hargrove (trumpet),
Frank Lacy (trombone), Gary Bartz (alto sax), David Sanchez (tenor sax), Chucho Valdes (piano), Russell Malone (guitar), John Benitez (bass), Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez (drums), Jose Luis “Changuito” Quintana (timbales), Miguel “Anga” Diaz (congas).
Composed by Kenny Dorham. Arranged by Don Sickler.
Recorded: Orvieto, Italy, January 5-6, 1997
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Invited by pianist Chucho Valdes, Roy Hargrove took his quintet to Havana, Cuba, for a jazz festival in 1996. For 11 days the trumpeter immersed himself in musical engagements with top Cuban musicians, and learned quickly and enthusiastically. Back in New York, Hargrove gradually transformed his big band into an Afro-Cuban powerhouse, and during the Umbria Winter Jazz Festival in Orvieto, Italy, he recorded Habana at the empty Teatro Mancinelli opera house. Crisol included musicians he had played with in Cuba – Valdes, Quintana and Diaz. This project, and the regrettably short life of this stirring ensemble, will always be considered a high point in Hargrove's career.
Kenny Dorham's vibrant "Afrodisia" is skillfully arranged by Don Sickler. The appealing theme is alternated with a provocative contrapuntal vamp. Then Hargrove solos with zesty flurries of notes and ascending exclamations, followed by the raw-edged sure flow of Sanchez. Bartz heats things up even more with his highly expressive, rhythmically intense improvisation. That killer vamp returns preceding the reprise, and the exciting out-chorus interweaves passages and riffs by the saxes with jabbing punctuations by the brass.
Reviewer: Scott Albin