Salsa Norteña is the latest CD release by composer/trombonist Rick Davies and contains eight high-energy salsa and Latin jazz songs that reflect the 25 years that he was active on the salsa, Caribbean, and jazz music scenes in New York City. With the new CD Davies continues his equal commitment to both Latin music and jazz. Chico Manqueros of Latin Jazz Club Magazine describes “his line of attack is to play with a swing that is not only harmonic but also danceable.” In discussing Davies’ Latin trombone soloing, Chicago DJ El Caobo states: “during these parts of the song, I cannot resist the urge to dance.”
An important influence on his creative sensibilities was his long time relationship with the Internationally renowned group Salsa Picante led by pianist Wayne Gorbea. For over twenty years, Davies was trombone soloist, composer/arranger, and musical director for this popular salsa dura group. Additionally, he worked with a number of other top artists including Tito Puente, Wyclef Jean, Jaki Byard, Arrow, Johnny Colon, Charlie Palmieri, Mario Bauza, Conjunto Libre, Blondie, Santiago Ceron, and many others.
After relocating to New York’s North Country a decade ago (to join the faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh), he started a Latin jazz group (Jazzismo) and released two acclaimed CDs: Salsa Strut (with Arturo O'Farrill, Harvie S, Vince Cherico, etc.) and Siempre Salsa. Siempre Salsa was released in 2006 and features many of the best Latin and jazz musicians of New York and nearby Vermont. Among these are Vermont musicians who are also on Salsa Norteña - pianist Tom Cleary, bassist John Rivers, and tenor saxophonist Alex Stewart.
Two years ago, Davies started a new group dedicated to performing NYC-style salsa dura. He named the group Salsa Norteña and recruited a number of musicians from the thriving Montreal Latin scene. Among these are singer/saxophonist Jorge “Papo” Ross (originally from the Dominican Republic) and Venezuelan percussionists Jonathan Maldonado and Neville “Pichi” Ainsley.
Rick Davies came by his Latin sensibilities early on growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During and following his years at the University of New Mexico, he performed and recorded with various R&B and Tex-Mex groups around the southwest and west coast.
His expertise in Afro-Cuban music was honed at New York University, where he received a a Ph.D. in 1999. His dissertation research there resulted in, among other things, a book published by Scarecrow Press in 2003. The book, Trompeta: Chappottín, Chocolate, and the Afro-Cuban Trumpet Style, is a thorough study in the Cuban brass solo style. Dr. Davies is currently a full professor in the music department at SUNY Plattsburgh, where he served as chair and was awarded the SUNY Chancellors Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities.
The new CD - Salsa Norteña - includes eight original songs by Rick Davies. Four of the pieces (1, 3, 5, 7) are straight-ahead salsa dura vocal songs featuring the lead vocals of Papo Ross. These selections were recorded in Montreal. The other four pieces (2, 4, 6, 8) are instrumental Latin jazz tunes that were recorded in Vermont and feature guest artist Ray Vega (another North Country transplant from NYC) on Trumpet along side veteran musicians from both sides of the U.S./Canadian border.
Rick Davies - Trombone
Alex Stewart - Tenor Saxophone
Jorge "Papo" Ross - Vocals/Alto Saxophone
John Rivers - Bass
Tom Cleary - Piano
Jeff Salisbury - Percussion
Jonathon Maldonado - Percussion
Steve Ferraris - Percussion
Neville "Pichi" Ainsley - Percussion
Ray Vega - Trumpet
* Rick Davies, Salsa Norteña - Emlyn Music EM1002
* Rick Davies, Siempre Salsa - Emlyn Music EM1001
* Rick Davies, Salsa Strut - MSR Records
Like Particles in an atom.
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That Rick Davies is a fine trombonist is something that is fast coming to light. This record, Salsa ...That Rick Davies is a fine trombonist is something that is fast coming to light. This record, Salsa Norteña showcases his skills in the grand manner. His beautiful burnished tone and bronzed colours are accompanied by some of the finest smears and growls that so uplift his instrument that he is elevated to the top echelons of it.
Davies makes the notes in his energetic lines rise and fall like charged particles in an atom. He can also make these lines inhabit different planes as they strut and leap, making scalar elevations with expansive glissandi. Davies can also make powerful utterances en route to a fluid phrase, combining human, speech-like resonances with pure brassy tones. In some respects he resembles a cross between the Brazilian, Raul De Souza and the raw and gutsy majesty of Roswell Rudd.
Davies finds a perfect foil in the vocalastics of Jorge “Papo” Ross, who sings with such precision and uncannily perfect pitch that he lays claim to having a voice fit for an operatic aria, if he so chose. Ross is absolutely majestic on “Lady K” a powerful ballad that is eminently suited to the vocalist’s flutters and leaps. His soaring tenor resembles horn-like soli as he masterfully negotiates the verses that are assigned to the voice. Ross’ intonation is also a thing of beauty. He rolls his r’s and shapes his o’s and s’ like voluminous loops that consume the air around the other instruments, which must now go to great lengths to recover their space by drawing on the great lungs of their players . Ross has a delightful way of ending his lines with a husky vibrato that adds to the sensuousness of his enunciation as well. In this respect he is a perfect foil for the glazed instrumentation as well—both brass and woodwinds.
Salsa would be nothing without great percussion and this is eminently audible in the congas of Neville “Pichi” Ainsley and the drums and timbales of Jonathan Maldonado. The two instrumentalists are superb technicians as well as play with ferocious expression that creates a perfect atmosphere for the music to sizzle and pop. This simmering rhythm is complimented by the two pianists who play with exquisite tumbao rocking the two ensembles that Davies employs throughout the record. Both Kuki Carbucia and Ton Cleary are excellent throughout as are the horn players: trumpeters Eduardo Sánchez and Ray Vega as well as the saxophonists Alex Stewart and Ross as well, who plays a mean alto saxophone on “Son, Son, Son”.
It would be a travesty if Salsa Norteña does not capture the radio waves or remains a record that only critics will appreciate for it is a fine one indeed. The compositions—almost all of which are entirely credited to Rick Davis and Fernando Iturburu—are ingeniously designed. “Bembè Swing” and “Requiem por un Amigo” are two of the finest ones on this record and swing with delight. The art and architecture of the music might follow a similar structure but Davies also has some singular elements that he builds into his songs which give them a breathtaking sweep and vision, especially evident in the ensemble passages, which boast bold counterpoint. This together with the flawless, almost classical vocalastics of Jorge “Papo” Ross make for an album that is memorable long after the last notes have faded away.
Tracks: Baile de Amor; Campamento de Rumba; El Hombre de Panama; Bembè Swing; Requiem por un Amigo; Vega para ti; Lady K; Son, Son, Son.
Personnel: Rick Davies: trombone, Musical Director; Jorge “Papo” Ross: lead vocals (1, 3, 5, 7), alto saxophone (7); Alex Stewart: tenor saxophone (2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8); Eduardo Sanchez: trumpet (1, 3, 5, 7); Ray Vega: trumpet (2, 4, 6, 8); Kuki Carbucia: piano (1, 3, 5, 7); Tom Cleary: piano (2, 4, 6, 8); Edward Maldonado: bass (1, 3, 5, 7); John Rivers: bass (2, 4, 6, 8); Neville “Pichi” Ainsley: congas; Jonathan Maldonado: drums; Rosa Ramirez: coro (1, 3, 5, 7); Alejandro Torrens: coro (1, 3, 5, 7); Jorge “Papo” Ross: coro (1, 3, 5, 7).
Rick Davies on the Web: www.jazzismo.com
Label: Emlyn Music
Release date: July 2012
Reviewed by: Raul da Gama
Review from The Latin Jazz Corner Magazine
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Salsa Norteña Rick Davies Emlyn Music Review from The Latin Jazz Corner Magazine Online at: http...Salsa Norteña
Review from The Latin Jazz Corner Magazine
Online at: http://www.chipboaz.com/blog/
Even though Latin Jazz and salsa have different sets of musical aesthetics, they’re close cousins, and any musician exploring Afro-Cuban Jazz should build a familiarity with salsa. For some musicians, salsa will be an entry point into Latin Jazz, while others may discover salsa while trying to integrate Afro-Cuban structures into their jazz playing. However they get there, it’s important that all these musicians spend time really ingesting the intricacies of salsa and committing themselves to performance. There’s a physical connection to the music’s rhythmic structure that comes from playing dance music which can be applied to a deeper understanding of improvising. A Latin Jazz musician needs an intimate connection to the clave, something that they’re going to get from playing – and hopefully dancing to – salsa. After spending years with salsa, some may put it aside in favor of a strictly jazz informed approach, but the more dedicated musicians will keep the music in their repertoire. They’ll feel the benefits too – a repertoire that places Latin Jazz alongside salsa keeps a musician on their toes and invites the audience to be involved through dancing. Those musicians that dig deeply into salsa will also discover the creative spark and fascinating evolution that has been an essential part of the music’s history, helping them integrate even more insight into their Latin Jazz work. Trombonist Rick Davies shows a deep understanding of salsa and an innate ability to apply those aesthetics to Latin Jazz on the energetic and highly danceable release Salsa Norteña.
Showing Jazz Chops & Rhythmic Knowledge On Latin Jazz Tunes
Davies dedicates half of the album to Latin Jazz repertoire, showcasing his group’s jazz chops and rhythmic knowledge. An up-tempo vamp from bassist John Rivers and pianist Tom Cleary sets up a ferocious groove on the “Campamento De Rumba” that serves as a foundation for an understated but memorable melody. Drummer Jonathan Maldonado implies a funky edge behind Davies’ solo, playing upon the trombonist’s energy, and giving a boost to a clever statement from saxophonist Alex Stewart. Guest trumpet player Ray Vega breathes some hard bop fire into a exciting flurry of ideas before handing things to Cleary, who flows with a lyrical touch through the band’s momentum. The wind players move through a twisting melody full of angular rhythmic turns on “Bembé Swing,” while the rhythm section lies down a charging six/eight groove. Davies and Stewart take their time developing vast ideas as they stretch through the open harmonic structure. Cleary cleverly combines strong melodic ideas and rhythmic tension to build a memorable solo before falling back into the main groove while the percussionists improvise. An upbeat montuno from Cleary sets the stage for an all-out descarga on “Vega Para Ti,” leading into a rhythmic melody from the wind players. Stewart grabs the band’s drive and tears through an energetic solo until Vega slides around the groove with a series of jazz influenced lines. Davies and Cleary both stretch out with solos full of rhythmic vitality, followed by a ferocious percussion attack from Maldonado. Rivers and Cleary establish an interesting groove over a quietly intense son montuno groove on “Son, Son, Son,” which come alive with a engaging and jazz tinged melody from the wind players. Davies plays around the main theme before exploding into a burst of creative energy, which flows freely into inspired statements from Stewart and Cleary. The band comes down to a whisper behind Rivers, whose improvised display of melodic ingenuity and rhythmic command gives way to a rising tide of percussive mastery in a solo from conguero Neville “Pichi” Ainsley. These tracks find Davies and his band embracing improvisation deeply while weaving their spontaneous skills around a broad familiarity with Afro-Cuban rhythms.
Heading Straight For The Dance Floor With Salsa Tracks
The band changes gears on several tunes, bringing a salsa energy to Davies’ compositions that is both danceable and entertaining. Vocalist Jorge “Papo” Ross provides a strong introduction to “Baile De Amor” over a sparse setting, until the band kicks into high gear so that he can stretch out with some improvised pregones. A strutting vamp from bassist Edward Maldonado and pianist Kuki Carbucia explodes into a powerful horn mambo, making way for an exciting conga solo from Ainsley. Davies tears through an aggressive trombone solo filled with percussive edges, that sends the band storming into a series of improvised statements from Ross. An assertive mambo from Carbucia sends the band charging into Ross’ lead vocal on “El Hombre De Panama,” a song dedicated to salsa star Ruben Blades. Davies, Stewart, and trumpet player Eduardo Sanchez trade jazz tinged phrases between a repeated coros, setting up a flurry of smartly constructed pregones from Ross. A dynamic rhythm section breaks leads into an unassuming solo from Carbucia that climaxes into a mambo with a funky groove and a high energy improvisation from Davies. After a strong horn introduction, Ross winds his way through a twisting melody on “Requiem Por Un Amigo,” before leaping enthusiastically into an attention grabbing series of pregones. Maldonado and Carbucia fall into a driving groove behind the horns, setting the stage for a tasteful solo from timbalero and drummer Jonathan Maldonado that resonates with traditional phrases and creative energy. Davies pushes the band into a addicitively powerful momentum, as his ferocious trombone solo rides a horn mambo into a closing series of pregones from Ross. A dramatic introduction from Davies segues into a heartfelt vocal from Ross on “Lady K,” a song that comes alive due to a tightly constructed and smart arrangement. Ross leaps onto alto sax and takes full advantage of the sparse bolero setting, winding his breathy tone and jazz inspired ideas through colorful changes. Davies shows his lyrical side with a gorgeous solo filled with fantastic idea development that transitions into a closing vocal from Ross. Davies aims straight for the dance floor with his salsa repertoire, providing some room along the way for a jazz influence that makes for an engaging set of music.
An Inspired Collection Of Tracks And Outstanding Performances
Davies delivers a strong collection of inspired tracks on Salsa Norteña, that embrace both salsa and Latin Jazz. There’s an apparent respect for the individual traditions from Davies and his group that reflects extensive study and time spent performing in each context. At the same time, there’s no doubt that Davies and his band see the connection points between the two styles and take the time to play upon the strong relationship. As a composer, Davies constructs some memorable pieces, that walk the line between simplicity and complexity as dictated by the traditions of each style. His band grabs onto Davies’ music with a committed fervor, delivering a performance that overflows with musicality and energy. The results are a highly charged set of music filled with insightful playing that would work for an listening audience and dance floor alike. Inspired solo work from Davies provides a core connection between all the tracks, infusing the music with a distinct and assertive voice. Vega’s guest spot on the recording injects a bop flavor that serves the Latin Jazz tracks well, and Ross’ vocals guide the salsa tunes with a undeniable charisma. Davies shows us the importance of both Latin Jazz and salsa with outstanding performances throughout Salsa Norteña, leaving us with a collection of music that will get us thinking, moving, and appreciating the lively spirit of both styles.
1. Baile De Amor – (Rick Davies & Fernando Iturburu)
2. Campamento De Rumba – (Rick Davies)
3. El Hombre De Panama – (Rick Davies & Fernando Iturburu)
4. Bembé Swing – (Rick Davies)
5. Requiem Por Un Amigo – (Rick Davies & Fernando Iturburu)
6. Vega Para Ti – (Rick Davies)
7. Lady K – (Rick Davies, Fernando Iturburu, & Jorge “Papo” Ross)
8. Son, Son, Son – (Rick Davies)
Rick Davies – trombone; Jorge “Papo” Ross – lead vocals (1, 3, 5, 7) & alto saxophone (7); Alex Stewart – tenor saxophone (2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8); Eduardo Sanchez – trumpet (1, 3, 5, 7); Ray Vega – trumpet (2, 4, 6, 8); Kuki Carbucia – piano (1, 3, 5, 7); Tom Cleary – piano (2, 4, 6, 8); Edward Maldonado – bass (1, 3, 5, 7); John Rivers – bass (2, 4, 6, 8); Neville “Pichi” Ainsley – congas; Jonathan Maldonado – drums; Rosa Ramirez – coro (1, 3, 5, 7); Alejandro Torrens - coro (1, 3, 5, 7); Jorge “Papo” Ross - coro (1, 3, 5, 7)
RICK DAVIES Salsa Norteña
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RICK DAVIES Salsa Norteña (Emlyn Music) Review from Latin Beat Magazine Online at: http://www.la...RICK DAVIES
Review from Latin Beat Magazine
Online at: http://www.latinbeatmagazine.com/reviews.html
Veteran composer/trombonist/bandleader Rick Davies is back with "Salsa Norteña," his third CD as a leader, recorded in Montreal, Canada, and Vermont. A road warrior for over 20 years in the New York City salsa and Latin jazz "cuchifrito circuit" (local salsa scene), Davies was the musical director of the popular salsa dura band "Salsa Picante," led by pianist Wayne Gorbea. He also worked with Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, Conjunto Libre, Blondie, and Wyclef Jean, to mention but a few. A current resident of upstate New York (where he's a faculty member at SUNY Plattsburgh), Davies assembled his latest group "Salsa Norteña", recruiting many of the musicians from the thriving Montreal Latin scene. Among these are vocalist/saxophonist Jorge "Papo" Ross (a native of the Dominican Republic), and Venezuelan percussionists Jonathan Maldonado and Neville "Pichi" Ainsley, featured on the four straight-ahead salsa tracks of this production recorded in Montreal. The remaining four instrumental Latin jazz tracks in the CD were recorded in Vermont, featuring guest artist Ray Vega (trumpet), alongside top-caliber musicians from both sides of the U.S./Canadian border. Standouts include the opening track "Baile de Amor," "El Hombre de Panama" (dedicated to Ruben Blades), and "Son, Son, Son." —Rudy Mangual
Review of Salsa Norteña
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Lake Champlain Weekly By Dan Gallagher (9/12/2012) A Plattsburgh State professor has generated y...Lake Champlain Weekly
By Dan Gallagher (9/12/2012)
A Plattsburgh State professor has generated yet another collection of exemplary Afro-Cuban sounds. This particular superhero of syncopation prefers a flower-and- bamboo collar shirt over a cape. Dr. Rick Davies and his fresh “Salsa Norteña” CD have reached an eager global audience and attained soaring ratings on international music charts. To clarify, “Salsa Norteña” translates to “Salsa of the North.” Davies, trombone whiz and master of the Will Ferrell cowbell style, has recorded and performed in every time zone.
Latin jazz and salsa music have been popularized by a number of key talents. These closely-knit musical varieties emphasize prominent drum arrangements, emotional clarions from the horns and a mix of consonant (and dissonant) harmonies that will surprise even the most alert listeners. Davies has written a number of books on the history of this music. Always relaxed and glacier-cool in his storytelling, he mentions the enormous contributions of trombonist Willie Colon and the mystique of Conga drummer Chano Pozo. Many CD buyers admire the playful dance music of Celia Cruz and her equally animated contemporary, the polyester paladin Ray Baretto (both of the famous Fania record label).
“1 do ‘salsa dura’ like the Fania all-stars,” Davies explains. On many occasions, Davies has worked with some of these luminaries. His resumé includes a stint with timbale/ vibraphone player Tito Puente, a “slick” showman according to Plattsburgh’s horn honcho. Puente gained acclaim for records such as “Dance Mania”, as Well as television appearances on “Sesame Street” and “The Simpsons”. Puente’s “Una Mujer” [A Woman] is often used by ballroom dance instructors. The “Salsa Norteña” ringleader compared Puente’s leadership style to TV gangster Tony Soprano’s approach. Alter years of touring and recording, Davies has made a disc no music fan could refuse.
This new undertaking, a collection of songs written over the past four or five years, puts an emphasis on Latin jazz, salsa (more appropriately called “son” music) and related forms of dance-based Afro-Cuban sounds. These blended musical varieties incorporate hand percussion, shakers, an occasional guiro- a cylindrical scrat.ch-percussion favorite, high and low brass arrangements and, in many cases, a cowbell-infused climax. Although son (pronounced “sone”) music tends to have mystical and polytheistic overtones, Davies’ records employ the sonic qualities of the tradition rather than the oft-controversial black magic elements. Arrangement Wizardry, however, can be clearly heard. Horn harmonies and high-dexterity drumming are key features of the musical style (and Davies’ recordings). Davies is influenced by Eddie Palmieri’s “half salsa, half Latin jazz” approach, as well as the trombone music of Willie Colon and the artists of the famed Fania record label. Davies’ 2006 release “Siempre Salsa”, popular in its own right, set the stage for the new found success since music fans worldwide wanted to hear “mas.”
The “Salsa Nortena” CD became an international success thanks to frequent overseas shows and wise use of electronic media and basic social networking. “I know certain movers and shakers,” the trombonist states brassily. Appearances on international stages and spins from popular disc jockeys like DJ Chino have given Davies fans on many continents. The “Salsa Nortena” disc has charted in Switzerland, Spain, Italy and Japan with the coveted number one chart position in Colombia. High profile musical friends and the proliferation of grass roots computer marketing have combined to bring Davies’ CD an audience of “grande” proportions. “It's all about the Facebook ‘likes.’ It’s all about the Twitter followers," the musician jokes, referring to modem e-communication staples. Two of Davies’ ensembles, Thugtet and Plattsburgh State’s Mambo Combo, have frequent performances in the northern New York corridor. Davies proclaims, “Montreal’s a great music city.” New York City personnel were hired to team up with Vermont and Montreal natives on this new collection. The Big Apple, according to Davies, is a pivotal spot for Latin music production.
The CD, rich with complex bass lines and prominent percussion, gave Davies a chance to explore several ideas at once. “I’m moving in a Salsa direction, away from Latin jazz,” he explains. To be very general, salsa tends to go with more hand percussion than jazz’s drum set sounds. Expect equal doses of Davies’ instrumentals and vocal presentations of Jorge “Papo” Ross. “He hooked me up with all of the musicians,” Davies says of his colleague. Ross’ voice rings out on tracks such as “El Hombe De Panama”, showcasing his teamwork with pianist Kuki Carbucia. The vocals are entirely in Spanish, but Ross’ singing sends clear emotional messages. He, along with contributor Femando Iturburu, wrote all of the record’s lyrics. The singing may remind one of Hector Lavoe’s styling, yet Ross’ delivery is decidedly more cheery than Lavoe’s material. The ensemble’s team effort can be heard in every accent. Davies mentions the “septeto trumpet tradition,” the idea that Latin music ensembles grew as divergent ideas did likewise. “Septeto" means “seven-piece group,” but the team learning mentality was no doubt shared by Salsa Norteña’s thirteen musicians. This synergy can be heard on the track “Bembe Swing", with exceptionally tight piano, saxophone and trombone phrasing. Neville “Pichi” Ainsley shows ingenuity with the congas, using the larger hembra drum and the smaller macho drum to match the piano’s accents. The percussion on “Vega Para Ti” may even make stoic wallflower personalities dance. While improvisation is key during many of these pieces, rules and key style elements are strictly observed. For example, Davies emphatically mentions that it is very poor form for the cowbell player to improvise during a piano solo. Tracks like “Baile De Amor” gave the musicians plenty of impromptu playing opportunities. The track "Son, Son, Son” (popular among Fred MacMurray fans) closes the album with a mosaic of percussion sounds.
The salsa music of Rick Davies and company is the perfect soundtrack for those who want fresh sounds that exemplify a zesty musical genre.
The “Salsa Norteña” CD can be purchased at Baxters Bageis on Brinkerhojj" St. in Plattsburgh or at Casa Latina on 116th Street in New York City. CDs can also be obtained at Davies frequent Thugtet and Mambo Combo appearances. Electronically, fans can download the music at iTunes and Amazon, but Rick Davies prefers the artist-friendly CDBaby company.
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From the NewGenSalsa website http://www.newgensalsa.com/ Aloha NGS FB peeps, As we predicted ...From the NewGenSalsa website
Aloha NGS FB peeps,
As we predicted here at NGS, the summer of 2012 has been filled with all kinds of new salsa releases that got plenty of airplay on the air waves, on dance floors or at weekend BBQ’s with many Latin music aficionados asking…who was that we just heard playing? One of the most unique releases so far this year has been “Salsa Nortena” by veteran trombonist Rick Davies featuring a unique blend of Salsa and Latin Jazz.
Davies is no stranger to those who follow salsa and Latin jazz. He has performed with many of the most recognizable names in both genres. Marketing a project that features 8 original compositions that satisfies both the salsa and Latin jazz pallet is no simple task. Simply put, Rick Davies and his musicians get you moving and grooving by masterfully blending a variety of rhythms into a very danceable mix of instrumental and vocal offerings.
The CD features vocalist Papo Ross on vocals and killer solos by master trumpeter Ray Vega. If you like Salsa and Latin jazz then this is a must have for your collection.
Until next time,
Hawaii Public Radio
Pacific Rim Contributor for New Gen Salsa
New CD by Rick Davies
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Published on Seven Days: Vermont’s Independent Voice (http://www.7dvt.com) Rick Davies, Salsa Nor...Published on Seven Days: Vermont’s Independent Voice (http://www.7dvt.com)
Rick Davies, Salsa Norteña
By Dan Bolles [06.27.12]
(Emlyn Music, CD, Digital Download)
Trombonist Rick Davies is among the region’s most accomplished Latin jazz players. But before he relocated to the North Country a decade ago to join the faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh, he plied his trade for years in NYC and the Caribbean, and shared stages with Latin jazz giants from Tito Puente to Santiago Ceron. With Wyclef Jean, Davies has performed for President Bill Clinton and appeared in an episode of VH1’s “Storytellers.” Davies’ accolades extend into pop, as well: He’s recorded with Blondie and Michael Jackson and worked with the likes of Gloria Gaynor. In short, dude’s legit.
Locally, Davies is perhaps best known for his work in the Latin-jazz all-star ensemble he founded, Jazzismo. It features some of northern New York and Vermont’s finest players, including pianist Tom Cleary and bassist John Rivers. Davies’ latest labor of love, an extension of that group, is a new album titled Salsa Norteña. It stars six Jazzismo alums and several notable Latin-jazz players from New York, Vermont and Montréal, including trumpeter Ray Vega, drummer Jonathan Maldonado and vocalist Jorge “Papo” Ross.
The record boasts eight original compositions from Davies, written in tribute to, and in the style of, salsa dura, a branch of the genre popularized in NYC in the 1970s that emphasizes propulsive percussion grooves over horn and vocal melodies. Recorded in Montréal and mastered by Lane Gibson in Charlotte, Salsa Norteña plays like a street festival in Washington Heights. The bright, colorful and irresistible collection of Latin grooves is delicately arranged and expertly, vibrantly executed with immaculate taste.
From the opening pulse of “Baile de Amor” through the rumbling closer “Son, Son, Son,” Davies has crafted an album that deserves a place in the collections of discerning Latin-jazz aficionados anywhere. Without exception, the performances here are stellar. Davies in particular displays a beautifully expressive tone that both accents Ross’ sandy croon and proves a worthy foil to Vega’s explosive trumpet. Alternating tunes, bassists Edward Maldonado and Rivers compose a formidable rhythm section alongside Jonathan Maldonado and Neville “Pichi” Ainsley on conga. Cleary is subtly magnificent on piano, while saxophonist Alex Stewart and trumpeter Eduardo Sanchez round out a terrific horn section.
Latin jazz may not get as much play here as do other jazz idioms. But Davies’ latest is proof that quality trumps quantity. Salsa Norteña is a masterful album and a perfect soundtrack to the steamy summer nights that lie ahead.
Rick Davies appears at Irises Café & Wine Bar in Plattsburgh this Friday, June 29, with the Latin Jazz Thugtet.
Source URL: http://www.7dvt.com/2012rick-davies-salsa-norte
CD Release Party
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July 26, 2012 'Salsa Nortena' sizzles By ROBIN CAUDELL, Press-Republican Press-Republican PLATT...July 26, 2012
'Salsa Nortena' sizzles
By ROBIN CAUDELL, Press-Republican Press-Republican
PLATTSBURGH — Savor summer with “Salsa Nortena,” the newest CD by composer/trombonist Rick Davies.
The release party is tonight at the FlynnSpace with Jazzismo, a Latin dance led by Davies, and guest artist, Arturo O’Farrill, a Grammy Award-winning pianist. The ensemble performs a mix of songs, including instrumental tracks from the CD.
JAMMED WITH TALENT
“Salsa Nortena” features eight tantalizing Latin grooves by Davies, a fixture in the New York City Latin scene for decades and a professor of music at Plattsburgh State. His lyricist/colleague Fernando Iturburu wrote seven of the songs and co-wrote “Lady K” with Jorge “Papo” Ross. Ross is lead vocalist on tracks “Baile De Amor,” “El Hombre de Panama,” “Requiem Por Un Amigo” and “Lady K.”
“It took awhile,” said Davies about the project. “We started last summer. Most of it, I did in Montreal. It’s like two different sessions. The Montreal one was done in the fall with all the musicians. The Burlington one was done in January. I brought the engineer, Ricky Campanelli (Sound Trip Recording Studio), down from Montreal and the percussionists, Jonathan Maldonado and Neville “Pichi” Ainsley. They both are from Venezuela. They’re the only ones on every cut. Ricky was nominated for a Latin Grammy for engineer.”
The Montreal group included Ross (lead vocals, alto saxophone, chorus), Eduardo Sanchez (trumpet), Kuki Carbucia (piano), Edward Maldonado (bass), Ainsley (congas), Jonathan Maldonado (drums), Rosa Ramirez (chorus) and Alejandro Torrens (chorus).
The Vermont personnel were Alex Stewart (tenor saxophone), Ray Vega (trumpet), Tom Cleary (piano) and John Rivers (bass).
“Alex (Stewart), Tom (Cleary) and John (Rivers) all teach at UVM. The vocal stuff was done in Montreal with Papo Ross. Then, we did the instrumental stuff later. It took a month to mix and master it,” Davies said.
“Baile de Amor” (The Dance of Love), featuring Ross, sets the sleek tone for “Salsa Nortena,” the perfect summer disc, hot-hot-hot throughout.
“Fernando (Iturburu) is a poet from Ecuador. I write the music first. I give it to him. He always comes up with two or three sets of lyrics. He’s very fast. We talk concepts. I said, ‘This (salsa ballad) sounds nice, romantic and not too serious,’” Davies said.
“Campamento de Rumba” references the Latin jazz camp Davies runs each July at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. The track is based on the rumba clave and features solos by Vega, Stewart and Cleary.
Davies pays homage to Ruben Blades with “El Hombre de Panama.”
“He’s a Latin singer and a movie star, too. He’s a great character actor. He ran for president. Everybody loves Ruben (Blades). It’s an instrumental featuring Ray Vega,” Davies said.
Though musically it’s not Thelonius Monk, Davies’s “Bembe Swing” is named after the legendary pianist “Bemsha Swing.” Inspired by the Cuban bembe, the track features a flugelhorn solo by Vega.
“It’s the last thing I wrote for the last session,” Davies said. “It’s a 6/8 rhythm. It comes out of the religious movement.”
“Requiem Por Un Amigo” (Requiem For A Friend) is about life and death in the barrio.
“That’s the one more political than any of them,” Davies said. “Papo (Ross) sounds real street on that. I’ve known him for 10 years. He’s the best salsa singer. He’s Dominican. He has a handle on salsa. He helped me. I put him down as associate producer. He found the musicians.They were all recommended by him.”
“Lady K” is a bolero dedicated to Karen Hildebrand, Davies’s wife.
“It was a little too corny for her,” Davies said.
“Vega Para Ti” (Vega for You) is dedicated to Vega.
“He was our first guest artist to come up to the camp. I’ve known him now for 30 years,” Davies said.
The final sizzling track, “Son, Son, Son,” riffs Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing.” In Cuba, son is sound and fuses Spanish cancion, Spanish guitar with African polyrhythm.
“The tune has five million different names,” Davies said. “Fernando (Iturburu) wrote some lyrics to it. It’s instrumental on the CD. It’s basic Cuban-style son.”
The CD’s artwork and design was also done by Torrens. Photographs are by Laura Carbone.
“Alejandro (Torrens) is Dominican. He’s the vocalist for Grupa Sabor. The biggest thing, he’s a graphic artist. His oil painting is on the cover. He scanned it in. I like it. I’m buying it from him,” Davies said.
‘BEST’ ALBUM YET
Davies is eager to play with O’Farrill tonight.
“He won a Grammy two yeas ago. He led the Lincoln Center Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra,” he said. “They’re at Symphony Space now. His father was the legendary Chico O’Farrill.”
“Salsa Nortena” was also engineered by Lane Gibson of Lane Gibson Recording and Mastering in Charlotte, Vt. Associate producers were Ross and Campanelli.
“It’s my third album,” said Davies, executive producer. “I think it’s the best. It’s real consistent.”
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Review in SolarLatinClub Por Roberto Carlos Luján El trombonista, compositor y líder de banda n... Review in SolarLatinClub
Por Roberto Carlos Luján
El trombonista, compositor y líder de banda norteamericano Rick Davies, presenta Salsa norteña (Emlyn Music, 2012) su tercer disco como solista, el cual como los anteriores Salsa Strut (2001) y Siempre Salsa (2006), proporciona disfrute a los bailadores y melómanos, a través de la salsa y el jazz latino. El Dr. Davies en los últimos lustros ha combinado su trabajo como director musical de la orquesta Salsa Picante del pianista Wayne Gorbea, junto a la extensa participación discográfica con artistas de diferentes géneros musicales y su labor académica como profesor asistente en la Universidad de Plattsburgh. Salsa norteña contiene ocho números de los cuales tres se caracterizan por la práctica musical de la salsa dura, cuatro enfocados en la interpretación de jazz latino y uno en el bolero. Salsa norteña es un registro discográfico recomendado de principio a fin, atentos en particular a las interpretaciones El hombre de Panamá y Campamento de rumba.
Baile de Amor
Baile de amor; Campamento de rumba; El hombre de panama; Bembe swing; Requiem por un amigo; Vega para ti; Lady k; Son son son
Rick Davies: trombon
Jorge “Papo” Ross: vocales y saxofon
Alex Stewart: saxofon tenor
Eduardo Sanchez, Ray Vega: trompeta
Kuki Carbucia, Tom Cleary: piano
Edward Maldonado, John Rivers: bajo
Neville “pichi” Ainsley: congas
Jonathan Maldonado: bateria
Rosa Ramirez, Alejandro Torrens: coros
Emlyn Music, 2012
Rick Davies - Siempre Salsa
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(Emlyn Music, CD) Plattsburgh trombonist Rick Davies knows from salsa. I, on the other hand, do n...(Emlyn Music, CD)
Plattsburgh trombonist Rick Davies knows from salsa. I, on the other hand, do not. Is that a hindrance to my enjoyment of his latest disc, Siempre Salsa? Hardly.
Davies is a music professor at SUNY Plattsburgh. He previously lived in the Big Apple, where he worked with a plethora of Latin jazz heavyweights, including the late Tito Puente. Since relocating, Davies has led Jazzismo, whose members comprise most of the players on this CD.
Amazingly, all of the cuts on Siempre Salsa are Davies originals. Judging from the quality of each composition, they might as well be standards.
Opener "Cena Para Seis" features sinewy horn lines bolstered by percussionist Steve Ferraris' exotic rhythms. Special guest Dave Grippo takes a spicy alto sax solo before Davies takes over for a blow of his own. The spotlight subsequently shifts to pianist Tom Cleary, who offers a typically elegant keyboard run.
"Rosa Primavera" finds salsa hero Wayne Gorbea on the ivories. Vocalist Frank Otero sings a bunch of stuff I can't understand, but it sounds fantastic. Gorbea's piano solo is gorgeously minimal, Luis Cruz's bongo work riveting.
On "Insomnia," the sax section is expanded to include Brian McNamara, Aaron Garovoy, Alex Stewart and Rick Tutunjian. Their formation horn flights give the tune some serious punch. Trumpeter Tomer Levy delivers a tasty solo, as the band swells and recedes behind him.
"Rumba Nortena"'s melody is the musical equivalent of a tongue twister. Davies' daring trombone leaps made me question my assumptions about the instrument. Stewart's no slouch, either, with sultry sax tones and impeccable phrasing.
Levy's trumpet hits the stratosphere on "Santos," a song that's the very definition of picante. Here, Davies is joined by a second trombonist, Rafi Malkiel. The extra brass makes for even more spice.
"Calle Loca" flickers with the intensity of a blue flame. Grippo again pops by for a twisting sax solo that had me wondering when he finds time to breathe.
The album closes with "Caliente Time," a track built on staggered piano vamps and congas. Drummer Jeff Salisbury serves up smart cymbal work, as Stewart's sax conjures images of open-air markets and flickering neon.
Davies' passion for Latin jazz is absolutely contagious. Catch the bug on Thursday, July 27, when he appears at the FlynnSpace with Jazzismo and Ray Vega.
Rick Davies and Jazzismo
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Because of its melting-pot culture and the wealth of musicians there, New York City may have the bes...Because of its melting-pot culture and the wealth of musicians there, New York City may have the best Latin jazz in America. Take this lineup, for example: Sam Furnace plays in the Brooklyn Sax Quartet, pianist Arturo O'Farrill was the musical director of his father's big band, and Harvie Swartz and Vince Cherico have played rhythm on several Latin albums. Their leader is Rick Davies, with his buttery-sounding trombone; he barrels down low on "Tuno", while Furnace adds a crisp alto. Avoiding Barry Rogers-type smears, Rick's tone is pretty clean, a little like Chris Washburne's.
"Palladium Mozambique" honors the city's great Latin ballroom; cowbells lead the way to a mighty horn riff. Arturo starts with a dainty touch, slowly venturing into chords during Swartz' rubbery solo. Furnace is a little strident, but Davies makes up for it; his turn has rasp and quiet power. After that fury, you need a slow cha-cha: that is "Suave", which it is. The horns form close harmonies around O'Farrill's lush comp; Sam gets intense, and the heat builds around him. Arturo is sleek, Rick is dignified - and you could dance all night.
"Piedra" is a tricky waltz: the horns go spinning as O'Farrill bangs out rhythm. The theme turns sour, and a little mysterious; hear Arturo sneak about on his solo. Davies then barks a little, and Furnace's force is put to good use. "Lady K" is slow and graceful - Rick takes charge on this bolero, ascending with flair. His solo doesn't deviate much from the theme, but it doesn't need to. While the montuno races on "Minor Byrd", the horns work through a melodic maze. Rick's solo turns at sharp angles; hear how nicely Arturo blends in. Sam's turn is simpler, with a lovely honk; Harvie bounces a good effort, and then it rolls to a close. Rick Davies sure belongs in this company, as surely as this disc belongs in your collection.
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Rick Davies & Jazzismo Latin Jazz with an attitude Rick Davies & Jazzismo From the Big Apple, N...Rick Davies & Jazzismo
Latin Jazz with an attitude
Rick Davies & Jazzismo
From the Big Apple, New York City comes this exciting recording from Trombonist Rick Davies and his Latin Jazz Sextet Jazzismo. Leader, Rick Davies received his Ph.D from New York University with his dissertation on Cuban Brass Performance. He has been the Musical Director for the Wayne Gorbea Salsa Picante unit and this has helped in his approach to playing Latin Jazz. His line of attack is to play with a swing that is not only harmonic but also danceable. Rick has gained his knowledge of the Latin scene by performing with heavies like Tito Puente, Johnny Colon, Charlie Palmieri, Marc Anthony, Manny Oquendo's Libre, Rey Reyes, Johnny Ray and Wayne Gorbea. He has recorded on over one hundred albums and is slated to release a book on the Afro-Cuban and Salsa brass tradition, which will be available in 2002. If that isn't enough he has also performed with the likes of Michael Jackson, Blondie and Wyclef Jean.
Salsa Strut features a seasoned crew of musicians. Sam Furnace is heard on alto sax. His fiery sound can be found in many recordings of the great Mongo Santamaria and Chico O'Farrill. Vince Cherico is the group's drummer whose heavy-duty work has also been featred with the Ray Barretto's New World Spirit band and the Bronx Horns. Bassist Harvie Swartz has recorded with many different Latin Jazz and Jazz artists. His fabulous work with Ray Barretto, Ray Vega, Chris Washburne, Bronx Horns and his own group Eye Contact have given him much deserved recognition and critical acclaim. Juan Rodriguez is the group's conguero and has a clean crisp sound. He has worked with Bobby Sanabria and Wayne Gorbea. Featured on piano is Arturo O'Farrill. He not only was the musical director for the Big Band led by his father none other than the great Chico O'Farrill, but, has recorded on his own and with many top acts in the Latin Jazz world.
The music selected by Rick Davies and Jazzismo for Salsa Strut is all-original and has a particular swing that could perhaps be pleasing for both Jazz and Latin fans alike. Each tune possesses its own identity and structure. The opening number and title track "Salsa Strut" has danceable and Jazzy progressive phrases with a heavy salsa based groove with superb solos from Rick Davies, Arturo and Vince Cherico. "Tuno" is a slower paced mambo with horn phrases and changing bridge. O'Farrill's catchy vamp is heard as introduction to opening a battle exchange between Rick and Sam. The tune then closes with a solid conga solo from Juan Rodriguez. The only disappointment is the fade right when things get cooking.
"Palladium Mozambique" is a bebop style son-montuno that features a subtle bass solo from Swartz. Once again Sam Furnace takes a progressive style solo and the tune closes with Juan on congas. The next tune "Suave" is a danceable Cha-Cha that has an attractive melody highlighting the harmonically rich qualities of the band."Piedra" is a progressive and jazzy 6/8 number that is full of creativity and depth including some interesting use of the horn lines. Inspired by Rick's wife Karen, "Lady K" is like listening to Billy Strayhorn interpreting a bolero. "Minor Byrd" closes out the session.
Rick Davis and his Latin Jazz unit of musicians deliver a fine performance on Salsa Strut. Of noteworthy mention is the spirited piano work of Arturo O'Farrill. This is music that is not only danceable but also good for listening. If you enjoy pure, clean and emotional music then by all means pick it up and add it to your library.
For more information on Jazzismo check out their website at www.jazzismo.com
By Erik "Chico" Manqueros
Contributing writer LatinJazzClub.com Magazine
Host & Producer of The Latin Style of Jazz
Rick Davies and Jazzismo
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Experience has taught us that good things eventually can become great, and can also be found anywher...Experience has taught us that good things eventually can become great, and can also be found anywhere and everywhere – if only we open our mental windows to let some fresh air in. With that being said, I introduce you to an accomplished musician and trombonist, Rick Davies and his crew Jazzismo. This project is as refreshing as a “piragua” on a hot summer day. Oh, did I tell you about the price increase of these “criollo” ices – I guess the market has been cornered on Mavi!!….
Anyway, about Jazzismo. We begin with the title cut, Salsa Strut. This cut lays the foundation for all of the top-rated, talented musicians that comprise Jazzismo. It is a jam session that calls out “Tarima, everyone to the dance floor?” Vince Cherico on his drum solo just smokes!
Next on tap we have Tuno. This tune has a very classic Latin jazz flavor that can be employed as a mambo session in today’s clubs. Arturo O’Farrill on piano is exceptional and Juan Rodíguez fires up the “cueros” with a closing conga solo that blew the laser eye out of my CD player; I’m still looking for my warranty. This cut seems to be the musician’s role call. Sam Furnace on alto saxophone and Harvie Swartz on bass exchange “Ali-Frazier” type combinations.
On the cool down cha-cha note, Suave, Rick Davies explains to us via his trombone notes why he made this project – because it’s just simply good. As you sip on your Margarita or a Cuba Libre, this tune will close out the night with class.
Piedra and Lady K (a classy dedication to Rick’s wife Karen), checks in with a strong trombone. Once again, the music takes you on a passionate ride. Amazing how the arrangements and the understanding reached between musical note and musician are so in harmony.
Minor Bird is smooth and cool. This tune just glides along.
This project, under the co-production of Salsa Picante’s very talented Pianist, Wayne Gorbea, has refreshed the Latin jazz world. Just as the “piragua” has stood the test of time, this musical “refreshment” will also give your CD collection a timeless addition.
-- Angel Luis Garcia, Jr., Reviewer – Bochinchat Magazine
"Siempre Salsa" - Rick Davies
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I first heard about Siempre Salsa by Rick Davies when fellow contributor, Pietro Carbognani from I...
I first heard about Siempre Salsa by Rick Davies when fellow contributor, Pietro Carbognani from Italy, posted some information about it in the weekly electronic newsletter, Que Corra La Voz, produced by Los Colaboradores Salseros. The information that Pietro posted was enough to peak my interest. Once I obtained the CD, I discovered that it is indeed an excellent recording!
The CD also contains some excellent Latin jazz tracks, performed by Jazzismo; the Burlington, Vermont jazz sextet. Although more properly classified as Latin jazz, many salsa dancers will find them dance-worthy, especially the track Insomnio; which I particularly like. Members of Jazzismo include Rick Davies (trombone), Alex Stewart (saxophone), Tom Cleary (piano), John Rivers (bass), Jeff Salisbury (drums) and Steve Farraris (congas).
However, since I am an avid salsa enthusiast, the salsa tracks on the CD are most appealing to me: Rosa primavera and Habana nocturna. Both tracks are of just the right tempo for the dance floor; which in my opinion is the ultimate test of salsa music, and both these tracks past the "dance floor" test with flying colors. They are both sure winners for both the club DJ and the casual listener. Assisting Rick Davies on these two tracks is the hot Bronx-based salsa group, Salsa Picante, for which Rick Davies had previously been the musical director for several years.
Rosa primavera, penned by Rick Davies and his writing partner Dr. Fernando Iturburu, begins with an introductory piano line, strummed by Wayne Gorbea; the leader of Salsa Picante, that is reminiscent of Eddie Palmieri's critically acclaimed song Vámonos pa'l monte. In fact, when I first listened to the song, I thought that I was going to hear yet another of many covers of Palmieri's song. However, within just 10 seconds, just as sonero Frank Otero's somewhat nasal, but extremely appealing voice begins, I realized that the song and its arrangements were very different from the Palmieri song.
Much of the success of Rosa primavera hinges on two excellent solos: a piano solo by Wayne Gorbea and a trombone solo by Rick Davies; both accompanied by the masterfully executed percussions of Juan Rodríguez (congas), Luis Cruz (bongó) and Ruben Borgas (timbales). During these parts of the song, I cannot resist the urge to dance. In fact, while writing this review, I have found myself listening to Rosa primavera again and again, and each time, those solos have forced me to stop writing and to listening contently; rolling and bobbing my head up and down, and shimmying my shoulders!
Other Salsa Picante musicians heard on both the salsa tracks are Richie San Quintín (bass), Rafi Malkiel (trombone), Raúl Navarrette (trombone), and Tony Barrerro (trumpet).
In summary, this CD, Siempre Salsa by Rick Davies is a real winner and welcome addition to my collection of great Latin music. If you are a casual salsa enthusiast, this CD will give you much listening pleasure. If you are a DJ, you simply must get this CD... your dancers will thank you!
Review by DJ EL CAOBO
Baile de Amor
El Hombre de Panama
Requiem por un Amigo
Son, Son, Son
Campamento de Rumba
Cena Para Seis
Vega Para Ti
assorted bossa novas, sambas, etc.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.