Personnel: Tete Montoliu (piano); Manuel Elias (bass); Peer Wyboris (drums); Rogelio Juarez (tumbas).
Recorded in Barcelona, Spain in 1975. Includes liner notes by Carlos Sampayo.
Tete Montoliu, a native of the Catalonian region of Spain, was best-known for his interpretations of standards from the Great American Songbook; he was equally familiar with popular works by jazz greats. This release has a different focus, emphasizing the works of bolero composers. His quartet includes bassist Manuel Elias, drummer Peer Wyboris and conga player Rogelio Juárez. But Montoliu's style of playing is still steeped in bop, even if the rhythm has a Latin flavor. His driving arrangement of Mario Clavell's "Somos" briefly detours into Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa," while "Mienteme" has a jaunty air, performed in waltz time to a Latin beat. "Somos Novios" is also known in the U.S. as "It's Impossible," yet the pianist's version is far more interesting than the usually hackneyed recordings by pop singers. One song that may be Spanish in flavor but not origin is "Poinciana," which was a huge hit for Ahmad Jamal. Montoliu's rendering of it has its own distinct flavor as he displays his formidable technique. Recommended. ~ Ken Dryden