The first six months of the year have flown by, leaving us half way through another year of great music. We’ve been blessed with a large number of inspiring releases so far, with much more sitting in the horizon. Diversity has been a common thread throughout the first half of 2010 – we’ve heard recordings from masters and young artists alike, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian Jazz albums, Tango Jazz releases, and much more. That’s just accounting for the albums that have been reviewed here at LJC so far; recordings that deserve more attention from percussionist Annette Aguilar, mandolin player Hamilton de Holanda, pianist Aruán Ortiz, and much more are still sitting in the wings. In the near future, we’ll get access to even more new Latin Jazz from artists like trombonist Chris Washburne, drummer Craig Russo, trumpet player Gabriel Alegria, and more. 2010 has started off the second decade of the twenty-first century with a bang, giving hope that Latin Jazz will continue to thrive in the future.

With so much great music spinning around us lately, I’ve taken a moment to reflect upon 2010 Latin Jazz releases. These recordings represent the cream of the crop in the first half of 2010; they’re all worth a serious listen. If there’s something missing, leave it in the comments below, I’d love to hear what your favorites have been in 2010. Remember, this isn’t the end of the story either – we’ve still got six more months of inspiring Latin Jazz, so stay tuned and catch up with the latest and greatest here at LJC!

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Afro-Cuban Jazz
Rhythms And Reeds . . . A Tribute To The Master Duke Ellington, Henry Brun & The Latin Playerz

De La Habana A Nueva York, Bobby Carcassés

Second Chance, Hector Martignon

I’ll See You In Cuba, Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla

The Movement, El Movimiento

El Puente (The Bridge), Steve Pouchie

New York Encounter, Michael Simon

Timbasa, Mark Weinstein

Brazilian Jazz
Lá e Cá (Here and There), Antonio Adolfo & Carol Saboya

Copacabana, Nilson Matta’s Brazilian Voyage

Simpatico, Claudio Roditi

In Session, Adriano Santos Quintet

Artists Incorporating Unique Influences From South America, Central America, and Spain
Tango Grill, Pablo Aslan

Oscar e Familia, Oscar Feldman

Dos Amantes, Kat Parra & The Sephardic Music Experience

Bien Sur!, Emilio Solla & The Tango Jazz Conspiracy

Yaoundé, Samuel Torres

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  • Chazro June 26, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Wazzup Chip! Surprised no mention of The Curtis Bros. or Dafnis Prieto, both came out with KILLA records this year. Yesterday I picked up the latest from Cuban supergroup; Interactivo – ‘Cubanos por el Mundo’. It’s been pretty much in constant rotation, really outstanding. The 2nd was a recording from Timba/dance superstars Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco – ‘Beat Cubano’ – (In smaller type in the left hand corner of the cover it says ‘Latin Jazz’)! One listen to any of these Timba bands makes it extremely clear that their inherent musicianship makes it possible for them to play any type of music. Give a listen to Tiempo Libres’s latest; ‘Back To Bach’, and you’ll hear what I’m talking about. Manolito’s record is excellent, these dudes can truly get down. Funny to note in Chucho Valdes liner notes, he says that this is music the likes of which he’s never heard before. Of course he’s being kind because this is exactly the type of music he used to play with his old jazzband, Irakere. Beautiful stuff, both discs are highly recommended.

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  • chip June 28, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Hey Chazro, glad that you’re weighing in on this one. I’m right there with you, I absolutely LOVE Blood-Spirit-Land-Water-Freedom from The Curtis Brothers and Live At The Jazz Standard from Dafnis Prieto’s Si o Si Quartet, two of the best albums last year in my opinion. They’re just not on this list because they were 2009 releases. If haven’t heard it, you would probably love Dafnis’ playing on Bobby Carcasses’ latest, De La Habana A Nueva York – great stuff. I haven’t heard the Manolito or Interactivo releases, but on your recommendation, I just picked them up. Looking forward to checking them out. I love Manolito’s Timba stuff, one of the best timba bands out there. I’ve spent a good bit of time with my head wrapped around timba, and I agree – there’s an incredibly high level of musicianship in those bands. They really take salsa to another level, and they’re fully capable of making great Latin Jazz albums. The evolution of Timba really is an interesting thing that took a lot from Irakere – there’s a lot of jazz already in that music. Another example of the blurry line between Latin Jazz and salsa. On another note, I also picked up Leyenda Viva, the latest from Oscar Valdes, Irakere’s former singer/percussionist. I can’t wait to check that one out, he’s an important musician. I’ll give my feedback once I give them all a good listen. Thanks again for the album recommendations – always appreciated!

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