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Album Review

One of contemporary jazz's most diverse and dynamic performers over the past two decades, Tony Guerrero has amassed a dizzyingly eclectic résumé since breaking onto the scene as a solo artist with his first three independent releases in the late '80s and early '90s, Tiara, Different Places, and Another Day, Another Dream. With the release of his highly anticipated Native Language Music debut, Apasionado, the multi-talented flügelhornist, trumpeter, keyboardist, composer, and producer celebrates not only 20 years as a recording artist, but also his lifelong affinity for the music of his Mexican-Italian heritage as well as Brazilian samba and bossa nova. The disc's 12 tracks feature some of Southern California's most storied players who also happen to be the flügelhornist's longtime friends and collaborators. In addition to the core rhythm section of pianist and keyboardist Bill Cantos, bassist Jerry Watts, and drummer Mike Shapiro, the disc features key contributions from Brian Bromberg (bass); guitarists Grant Geissman and Gannin Arnold; drummer John Ferraro; saxophonists Jeff Kashiwa (a Native Language labelmate) and Eric Marienthal; cellist Christie Staudhammer; vibraphonist Drew Hester; and saxman/alto flutist Robert Kyle, who is a member of Guerrero's popular progressive cocktail lounge/fusion ensemble the Hi-Fi Quintet. After 11 all-instrumental, flügelhorn-driven tracks that find Guerrero applying his melodic grace to Italian, Brazilian, and Latin vibes and rhythms on bossas like "Little Flower" and "Sunlight" and the samba-influenced "Fire Dance," "Puerto Nuevo," and "Flutterbye," Apasionado closes with a beautiful and sensual vocal by acclaimed jazz singer Sara Gazarek on a soulful cover of James Taylor's "You Can Close Your Eyes." Along the way, Guerrero performs songs inspired by family members near and dear to him — the lush, gentle ballads "Gabriella" (for his two-year-old daughter) and "A Song for Nico" (for his infant son Nicolas) and the vibrant, easy funk brassy jam "Jacala," named for the town in Mexico where Guerrero's dad was born. Other songs capturing the energy and romantic charms that underlie every song are the highly percussive, soaring "Amando" ("loving" in both Spanish and Portuguese) and "What the Heart Dreams."


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Trumpeter and self-taught keyboardist, drummer, and guitarist Tony Guerrero became involved in contemporary jazz while learning how to play wind instruments. His first experiences as a performer came soon after joining the All District Honor Band, the California Junior Philharmonic, and the California Swingphonics Orchestra. His first releases, called Tiara and Different Places, revealed his talent to combine jazz and Latin pop rhythms, melded in a very unique way. Guerrero headlined the 1991 Cancun...
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Apasionado, Tony Guerrero
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