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Album Review

Cuban music has long been the love of Canadian soprano saxophonist and flutist Jane Bunnett, as she has explored it throughout most of her career. But Cuban Rhapsody is a special project since it pairs her with the gifted Cuban pianist Hilario Durán, as they explore a wide range of individual styles in a duo setting. Their match proves to be a magical affair, as they offer performances that are lively yet intimate, adventurous yet lyrical. Bunnett begins on soprano sax for Miguel Matamoros' bittersweet "Lágrimas Negras" (Black Tears), switching to flute for a playful romp through his "Son de la Loma." They interpret two tunes by Ernesto Lecuona (composer of the well-known "Tabu"), offering a heartfelt take of "Maria la O" and a loping, cowboy-flavored setting of "Danza Lucumi," both featuring Bunnett's emotional sax and Durán's inventive piano. The pianist penned "New Danzón," but this updated version eclipses his earlier trio recording with Bunnett's powerful flute providing the perfect accompaniment. "Sherezada" is a bit different from the remaining songs as it briefly adds voices (which aren't credited), though Durán's brilliant improvising steals the show. Lovers of Cuban music will be overjoyed with the duo's consistently rewarding performances, which will easily stand the test of time.


Born: 22 October 1956 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the finest soprano saxophonists in jazz of the 1990s, Jane Bunnett originally studied classical piano but tendonitis cut short that career. After seeing the Charles Mingus group in San Francisco, Bunnett was inspired to play advanced jazz. On soprano, she recalls Steve Lacy a bit (who she has studied with), while her flute playing is quite distinctive. Bunnett has always had major players on her records: in addition to her husband, trumpeter Larry Cramer, the late pianist Don Pullen had been...
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Cuban Rhapsody, Jane Bunnett
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