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Album Review

The term Latin jazz usually refers to a blend of bop and Afro-Cuban music, but if you were to combine bop with Argentinean tango, Venezuelan joropo, Puerto Rican plena, Columbian cumbia, or Mexican ranchero, you would technically be playing Latin jazz. Some artists have tried to expand Latin jazz by employing non-Cuban rhythms from different parts of Latin America, the Lewis Trio, however, puts an unusual spin on Latin jazz by looking to both Cuba and parts of Europe for inspiration. The Lewis Trio's debut album Battangó isn't unusual because it combines bop and Afro-Cuban elements, Dizzy Gillespie was doing that back in the 1940s. But unlike a lot of Latin jazz artists, the Lewis Trio (which consists of violinist Ricardo Gonzáles Lewis, pianist Iván Gonzáles Lewis, and bassist Alain Pérez) is very mindful of European classical music and the French jazz tradition that violinist Stephane Grappelli was a big part of. This isn't to say that Ricardo is a swing musician or that Grappelli (an associate of Django Reinhardt) is the only violinist who has influenced his playing, Ricardo indicates that he's also well aware of what Jean-Luc Ponty, Michael White, and others have accomplished on the violin. And his solos show an awareness of the role that the violin has played in Cuban charanga bands, although unlike charanga recordings, this CD contains no flute playing. Battangó isn't innovative, but it does have a certain freshness that is missing from a lot of today's Latin jazz.


Genre: Latino

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Lewis Trio mixes together Cuban, American, and French jazz, and is comprised of several accomplished Cuban musicians — bandleader/violinist Ricardo Gonzalez Lewis, pianist Ivan Gonzalez Lewis, and bassist Alain Perez. While the trio's music possesses an unmistakable Cuban feel throughout, different musical elements add up to create quite an original sound...
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Battangó, Lewis Trio
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