Ray Martínez: Legacy
(Ray Martínez Web Page)
2015: Tropical Note Productions
Composer, Arranger, Producer, Leader
Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Coro
Oscar Hernández on Piano, Synthesizer
Adán Pérez on Piano, Fender Rhodes
Bobby Baxmeya on Guitar, Violin
Milena Bey on Vocals
Alfredo Viriaux on Batá Drums, Vocals, Coro
Humberto Hernandez on Batá Drums, Chékere, Coro
Vince Cherico on Trap Drums
Willie Martínez on Trap Drums
Chembo Corniel on Conga Drums
Mauricio Herrera on Conga Drums
Edson Silva on Minor Percussion
Siraj Al’ Hasan on Soprano and Tenor Saxes
Frank Fontaine on Flute
Nestor Sánchez, Adalberto Santiago on Coro
Mario Rivera on Tenor and Soprano Saxes
Dave Valentin on Flute
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 14, 2015
This CD presents the listener with a full, Latin-Jazz orchestra, with bassist, Ray Martínez’ original compositions and arrangements. Martínez brings on numerous special guests, like Chembo Corniel on congas, Dave Valentin on flute, and the late, Mario Rivera on saxophones, all of whom have been reviewed live, at several events, on these pages. The Latin clavé rhythms are infused in the ebullient orchestrations, expanded with vocals and “coro” (Latin freestyle singers). Martínez pays tribute to his father and to Mario Rivera, whose pre-recorded music appears on two of the album’s nine tracks. The nine compositions are diversified, some rambunctious salsas and others jazzy string-brass arrangements. There’s tremendous talent on display, and on each listening experience the individual tracks reveal new, vibrant details.
All compositions by Ray Martínez.
#1 – Storm – Featured on “Storm” are Frank Fontaine on a blazing flute solo, Mauricio Herrera on fiery congas, and Adán Pérez on pulsating piano. A bass-piano duo, with danceable mambo, amidst the ensemble’s striking musicality, engages the listener. The percussive flashes and atonal guitar add stunning, contemporary effects.
#3 – Los Colores de Mi Gente – Nestor Sánchez, Adalberto Santiago, and Martínez enhance “Los Colores de Mi Gente” with coro vocal effects, while Siraj Al’ Hasan appears on tenor and soprano saxes with breezy lyricism. Chembo Corniel on congas and Martínez on guitar, along with the contagious coro singers, brightened the mood of this very tropical tune. My thoughts were transported to the clubs of Santo Domingo with the lively, gorgeous theme.
#4 – Romance – Adán Pérez on Fender Rhodes and Willie Martínez on trap drums are showcased on this track, along with Dave Valentin on lively, fluttering flute. Martínez’ moody, bluesy bass solo adds a rich layer to the lovely melody. The punctuated drums and effervescent keyboard signal it’s time for cha-cha. The way Mr. Martínez shifts from one Latin tempo to the next is a remarkable feat.
#6 – A Melancholy Afternoon – This track is a lovely homage to Mario Rivera, a true virtuoso on tenor sax. The bass-sax duet, with Rivera taking the tune for a “melancholy” ride, makes this a must-listen-to-twice track. I reviewed Mario Rivera twice in 2006, when he appeared at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, with the second occasion being the 88th birthday celebration for Bebo Valdés, who performed on piano. This track, “A Melancholy Afternoon”, featuring Mr. Rivera (who died in 2007) on spellbinding sax, along with Mr. Martínez on earthy bass, is truly a class act.