(From liner notes by Mark Levine) With everybody and his brother releasing Latin jazz CDs these days, it is a great pleasure to discover someone who honors both traditions, plays and writes creatively, and is smart enough to surround himself with the best musicians available - I'm talking about Steve Feierabend. There is no longer any doubt that a Latin jazz renaissance is under way on the West Coast. The torch has been passed, from Cal, Mongo, Willie, and Poncho, to the younger cats, who have given a new twist to la musica. The LA-San Diego Latin jazz scene has been especially productive, as Steve's new CD displays. Living in San Francisco, I often look south with envy, at the tremendous wealth of musicians there, many of whom are featured on Steve's recording. Two of my favorite pianists, Chris Barron and Lynn Willard, shine throughout. Chris plays with the Banda Brothers, another group that is pointing the way to the future, and Lynn plays with Jack Costanzo's band. Rene Camacho, bassist extraordinaire, a regular with Susie Hansen's great band, anchors a superb rhythm section. He lists Celia Cruz, Jack Costanzo, The Pointer Sisters, and Justo Almario's groundbreaking band Tolu in his credits. He is joined by drummer Mike Holguin, from San Diego, who has played with Son Mayor, and Celia Cruz; and George Ortiz, the current timbalero for Poncho Sanchez, and a former member of Son Mayor. Gilbert Castellano is a great straight ahead trumpet player, evidenced by his work with Anthony Wilson's nonet, and the Clayton/Hamilton Band. He also has his own CD out, with a group called the B3 Quartet. Gunnar Biggs is a veteran of Buddy Rich's band and has played with Mose Allison and Butch Lacey. Duncan Moore has recorded with Mike Wofford and Bill Cunliffe, and Tommy Aros is currently with Latin pop star Luis Miguel. There are too many great moments in this recording to talk about, but I'll mention a few - I'm partial to playing standards in clave, and Steve does it just right with Lerner & Lowe's 'I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face.' Great solos by Steve, pianist Chris Barron, and timbalero George Ortiz. The whole track builds and burns. 'The Well' is a hypnotic blend of Coltrane and Cuba. Trumpet player Gilbert Castellanos makes a fiery appearance on 'Bop Mambo.' 'Amique' is built on an off-center, but infectious 6/8 rhythm. The CD closes with Coltrane's 'Wise One.' I've always felt that the last tune on a CD should be as strong as the first cut, and Steve evidently believes the same. Both he and Chris play thoughtful solos over a quiet 6/8 rhythm. Steve's credits include graduating with honors from Berklee, where he studied with the great teacher and trumpet player Herb Pomeroy, as well as graduate studies with Kenny Barron and Akira Tana at Rutgers. Steve has worked with Charles McPherson, Brian Lynch, Bill Cunliffe and many other notables in both the worlds of jazz and Latin music. Steve writes great tunes and now lives in the Bay Area. San Diego's loss, San Francisco's gain - welcome, Steve! Peace - Mark Levine Mark Levine is a world-class pianist, bandleader, composer, author, and educator. He was an integral part of the West Coast Latin jazz scene in it's golden age of the 60's and 70's playing and recording with legends like Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, and Willie Bobo as well as many others.Mark continues to be at the forefront of the Latin jazz scene with his band The Latin Tinge who have a new CD on Left Coast Clave records called 'Isla'.
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