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Manuel Valera: Forma Nueva

- CD Reviews

Manuel Valera: Forma Nueva
2004 Mavo Records
(Manuel Valera Website)
Publicity: St Cyr Collective

Manuel Valera on Piano
Seamus Blake on Saxophone
John Patitucci on Bass
Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez on Drums
Bill Stewart on Drums

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 20, 2006

This CD is a collection of Latin Jazz fusion works, all composed by Manuel Valera. A resonant clavé rhythm enhances several compositions, while either piano or saxophone soar over the collection of drums and percussive effects. Valera has worked with renowned musicians, such as Paquito D’Rivera and Dave Valentin.

(All music composed by Manuel Valera).

Notable tracks:

#2 –Forma Nueva - With Stewart’s vibrant drum entrance, this track features Valera on piano, with rapid fingering to match the catchy Salsa beat. Both Hernandez’ Latin percussion and Stewart’s metal cymbals can be heard, under Valera’s vibrant volume. This title piece excellently fuses the genres and is almost danceable.

#4 –Displaced - Featuring Valera’s piano and Patitucci’s bass, this track is abstract and contemporary, with steady percussive undertones. Valera catches the strengths of his band and allows them to play off each other’s nuanced interpretation.

#11 –Como NG - This piece has vibrant Salsa infusion with definitive conga rhythm and contrasting, traditional drums. Bass and piano work in a seemingly unstructured form to create some excitement and energy.

#12 -Things Aren’t What They Seem - Seamus Blake is featured here on slow, sensual sax, throughout the track, as he takes a modern, but melodic theme and contrasts it to the raindrop piano notes and percussive brushes. This piece is mellow and moody.

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