Latin bandleaders these days are making music that becomes simultaneously more modern and more ancient. Jazzambia, by the Puerto Rican percussionist Paoli Mej�-as, is the latest proof. It includes several other like-minded musicians, including the pianist Luis Perdomo and the saxophonist Miguel Zenón, and it's exciting to see where it goes.
There are standard structural elements of Afro-Cuban music here � tumbaos and montuno sections � but there are also rhythm strategies that come from various kinds of new jazz that many would say are not Latin at all. (One track, Diaspora, culminates brilliantly with Mr.Zenón soloing with more free-jazz gusto than he ever seems to use, over the interlocking patterns of two hand drummers.) The point is that jazz was part Latin from the start, and has become only more so.
NEW YORK TIMES, Ben Ratliff
A historic recording, if only for the depth of the talent involved, featuring some of the best players in the New York scene, including the ever present Hans Glawischnig on bass, Luis Perdomo on piano, Antonio Sanchez and Tony Escapa on drums, Miguel Zenon, Jaleel Shaw, Ricardo Pons and Chris Cheek on saxophones and the leader Mejias on drums; he’s helped on two tunes by Tito De Gracia