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Roland Vazquez: Best of the LA Jazz Ensemble

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Album Review

During 1975-81 drummer Roland Vazquez led the L.A. Jazz Ensemble (also known as the Urban Ensemble), a part-time group that featured some of the busier Los Angeles-based studio musicians. This CD reissue has six numbers taken from a couple of the band's small-label LPs plus four previously unreleased songs. Although there are a few notable names included on some selections (including keyboardists Clare Fischer and Patrice Rushen, bassist Abe Laboriel and a guest spot for Bennie Maupin on soprano), many of the musicians have remained quite obscure. The music essentially sounds like a hip college stage band and none of the complex melodies (all originals by Vazquez) are at all memorable, making this a set of lesser interest.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Drummer/composer Roland Vazquez was born in 1951, and upon witnessing a performance by Latin jazz conga legend Mongo Santamaria in 1963, he was inspired to follow a similar stylistic path. He played the drum kit in various R&B or rock bands around Los Angeles, then studied at Westminster College in Utah, receiving a B.A. He was back in L.A. shortly thereafter, forming his fusion combos the L.A. Jazz Ensemble, aka the Urban Ensemble, recording music that straddled the fence between commercial dance...
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Roland Vazquez: Best of the LA Jazz Ensemble, Roland Vazquez
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