Jazz CD Reviews

Pablo Menendez & Mezcla – I’ll See You In Cuba – Zoho

Not your typical Afro-Cuban or Buena Vista-style jazz album.

Published on May 19, 2010

Pablo Menendez & Mezcla – I’ll See You In Cuba – Zoho

Pablo Menendez & Mezcla – I’ll See You In Cuba – Zoho ZM 201001, 1 hr. 3 min. ****:

(Pablo Menendez – guitar, vocals; Magela Herrera – flute, vocals, piano; Mayquel Gonzalez – trumpet & flugelhorn; Octavio Rodriguez – percussion; Orlando Sanchez – tenor sax, piano)

I’ll See You In Cuba is not your typical Afro-Cuban or Buena Vista-style jazz album.  Those forms are incorporated throughout the album,  just not in the traditional style your ears are used to.   Pablo Menendez infuses rock and jazz and has created his own style of Afro-Vista Rock Jazz.  The beats are fast yet controlled by his masterful guitar playing.  He’s accompanied by his band, Mezcla, who keep up the tone and drive these songs their entire way.  

Magela Herrera’s flute lead in Quien Tiene Ritmo?; my favorite track on the album ("Who’s Got Rhythm?") is James Moodyesque, as she leads the rest of the group on a flighty journey until individual jams take over followed by a chanting of "Quien Tiene Ritmo?"

The cover and newly-styled rendition of Thelonious Monk’s ‘Round Midnight shows the full spectrum of Menendez’ range as an artist and band leader. By adding the twist of Cuban influences to the track,  the listener is given yet another reason to jump the traditional ship and listen outside of the cigar box they may have thought Cuban music was in.

TrackList:

1. Big Breker
2. Quien Tiene Ritmo?
3. El Medico De Los Pianos (for Benjamin Treuhaft)
4. I’ll See You In C.U.B.A.
5. Chicoy’s Blues
6. Oslo
7. Chucho’s Blues
8. ‘Round Midnight
9. Homenaje A Afro Cuba
10.  Chicoy’s Son

- Paul Pelon IV




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