Jazz CD Reviews
Alfredo Naranjo – Y El Guajeo – Cacao Musica
Published on February 12, 2008
(Alfredo Naranjo, vibes, and his 8-11 piece band, plus guests David Pena, Jimmy Bosch, Luis Julio Toro & others)
This is another in the series of Latin jazz releases from the Venezuelan label Cacao Musica, which comes with an impressive spiral binding and interesting English notes, including a section all about the growing of Cacao in the New World.
Naranjo is a composer and arranger as well as vibist and guiro player, and has written all 14 tunes here. Born in Caracas, he studied in New York City, and has played in jazz festivals world wide, including one with fellow vibist Dave Samuels. At one of the festival in Venezuela he played with Al Jarreau, Tito Puente and Ray Charles. This is his fifth CD, and his sound reminds me of one of my favorites from the 1950s – Cal Tjader – though with vocals contributed by the band members. He is a nonconformist and doesn’t sound like the typical Latin band. I didn’t hear any of those montunas that sound like the needle stuck – Naranjo’s rhythms and sounds are always changing and developing in his terrific and varied arrangements.
The classic song Linda is sped up from its usual prayerful delivery and given a lighter and happier treatment. Master Tito obviously honors the late Tito Puente. The timbales, congas and bongos are working full time thruout and are captured well by Cacao’s sonics. There are no translations of the lyrics but you really don’t need them. This is a very infectious Latin jazz romp that comes across in any language!
TrackList: Introduction, Mi Socio, Guajeo y su rumbata, Mueve, Los caballos, Ella, Linda, Comprame mi disco, Master Tito, Caramelo, Baila, Guajeando, Dile que venga, Payaso.
– John Henry