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Chembo Corniel: Things I Wanted To Do

- CD Reviews

Chembo Corniel: Things I Wanted To Do
(Chembo Corniel Website)
2009 Chembo Records, Inc.
Produced by Jerry Lacay and Wilson “Chembo” Corniel

Grupo Chaworo:
Chembo Corniel on Tumbadoras and Percussion
Elio Villafranca on Piano and Fender Rhodes
Carlo De Rosa on Acoustic Bass
Vince Cherico on Drums
Ivan Renta on Tenor and Soprano Sax

Dave Samuels, Ludovic Beier, Jimmy Bosch, David Oquendo,
John Di Martino, Rubén Rodriguez, Tino Derado, Gennaro Tedesco,
Octavio Kotan, Junior Rivera, Frank Fontaine, Marvin Diz,
Nelson Jaime, Pedro Martínez, Ogduardo Román Diaz, Iliana Santamaría

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 11, 2009

(See a Review and Photos of a Live Concert of the Music on This CD)

This CD is a brilliantly conceived fusion of Jazz, Latin, Afro-Caribbean, Swing, Ballads, and more, with a five-musician ensemble of renowned artists in the Latin Jazz genre. No fewer than sixteen guest artists, many of whom have been reviewed in this magazine, add scintillating embellishments and danceable motifs, including flute, accordion, rhythm guitar, and timbales. For all fans of congas, here called tumbadoras (Spanish equivalent), you will not be able to stay seated during this vibrant, energized recording.

Notable tracks:

#4 - Tenia Que Ser Asi – Composed by Bobby Collazo. This smooth, atmospheric track combines Dave Samuels’ elegant vibes with a rhumba-bossa beat, as Chembo adds soft percussives to Rubén Rodriguez’ breezy bass and Tim Derado’s jazzy piano. Ivan Renta seamlessly takes the lead with evocative, South of the Border intonations.

#5 – Descarga Patato – Composed by Ivan Renta. This tribute to the great, late Conga artist, Carlos “Patato” Valdes (See Patato at Blue Note in 2003), brings in Jimmy Bosch on trombone, Junior Rivera on Tres, Frank Fontaine on Flute, Marvin Diz on Timbales, and Pedro Martínez, Ogduardo Román, and Iliana Santamaría, all on Vocals. This track reminded me of the good old days at The Copacabana, as well as a Herbie Mann concert in New Orleans. With brash, ebullient music, danceable and sing-able (in fact the whole band sings along), Chembo has created and produced a sound that you will want to hear over and over again, brisk, driven, and magnetic.

#7 – Things I Wanted To Do – Composed by John Walsh, arr. Chembo Corniel. This title song features Gennaro Tedesco on Lead Guitar and Octavio Kotan on Rhythm Guitar. Elio Villafranca takes a wild ride on his keyboard, with mesmerizing melody and effusive energy, while Chembo adds rich exotic rhythms to this contemporary track. The guitars add a moment of metal, and Chembo’s versatility and wide musical embrace is revealed.

#9 – Swing Street – Composed by Ludovic Beier, arr. Hector Martignon. I am friends with both Ludovic Beier, from France, and this track’s arranger, Hector Martignon, from Colombia, and both accordionists have been frequently reviewed in this magazine. With Elio and Chembo opening this track, backed by Carlo De Rosa’s buoyant bass and Vince Cherico’s rapid drums, Ludovic Beier leads the theme with his new Latin look. Ludovic is known for retro Swing, ŕ la Django, and his new Latin sound is spectacular. In fact, Chembo’s entire new recording is a must-have CD.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at