Conjunto, the Latin jazz-inspired ensemble led by brilliant violinist James Sanders, introduces their latest CD Chicago Sessions.
Chicago Sessions has been a labor of love from concept to composition to recording. In addition to regular members, Steve Eisen, Donald Neale, Jose Porcayo, Jean-Christophe Leroy, Roel Trevino and Joe Frau - Angel d'Cuba, Alfonso Ponticelli and Tito Carillo lend their considerable talents to a number of tracks that make this cd a feast of Latin expression.
Conjunto came together in 2000. Their fan base steadily grows as word of their amazing rhythms, melodies and original jazz-inspired music gets around. This is Conjunto's second CD. Their first and very well-received cd, Conjunto - Live in Little Village, was released in September, 2002.
Conjunto is known as a Latin Jazz Ensemble. However, this is not completely accurate. It is more accurately defined - if this music can be defined at all - as jazz, blues and Cuban Charanga inspired. Clearly the rhythms performed by Roel Trevino on Congas, Jean-Christophe Leroy on Drums and Joe Frau on Bongos are Afro-Cuban. As well, Jose Pocayo on Bass brings a quietly commanding authority to the rhythmic side of this music. On all tracks of this latest CD they provide an enthralling foundation for melodies and improvisations played by Sanders on Violin and the inestimable Steve Eisen on Flute and Tenor Sax.
In addition to the band's regular performers, Sanders invited a few guests to appear on Chicago Sessions. Angel d'Cuba brings his amazing voice to two of the tracks. It doesn't matter if you understand the words. It's the feeeeeling he brings to the music. The contrast between his voice and solos by Sanders on Violin, Eisen on Flute and Neale on Keys is at times fun and playful, sometimes serious, but always exciting and absorbing. And always, always the rhythm section is there backing up the soloists, coming to the forefront now with exuberant energy and spirit, stepping to the side now again to let the Angel soar.
Alfonso Ponticelli on Gypsy Jazz Guitar...wait, what?...gypsy jazz guitar? Not something you hear every day. But it's fabulous. Ponticelli's performance is simply breathtaking. Coupled with Sanders' violin it is a highly unexpected sound. It is the kind of thing that makes this ensemble's music impossible to categorize. It's appealing and fresh and somehow also familiar and easy to fall in love with.
Tito Carillo's Trumpet is, as always, a sound to be reckoned with. On both tracks that he appears, Carillo shows considerable restraint. You know it's Tito...he's there giving it everything. But he knows he's playing as part of an ensemble. He allows all members to shine, which makes his sound brighter, more brilliant.