Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Gabriel Espinosa and company have done an outstanding job on 'From Yucatan To Rio'. This is an album of considerable depth with a light and easy feel that jumps out at you with resounding passion and delightful musicianship." -JazzReview.com
Billboard (p.45) - "With a wide array of musicians to help convey his message, the main triumph of FROM YUCATAN TO RIO is the terrific ensemble performance.
Personnel: Gabriel Espinosa (bass instrument, background vocals); Alison Wedding (vocals, background vocals); Darmon Meader, Kim Nazarian (vocals); Romero Lubambo (guitar); Anat Cohen (clarinet); George Robert (alto saxophone); Claudio Roditi (trumpet, flugelhorn); Hélio Alves (piano, keyboards); Adriano Santos, Antonio Sanchez (drums, drum); Dende' (percussion); Patricio Espinosa (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Michael Brorby.
Liner Note Author: Bill Milkowski.
Recording information: Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NY (11/2008).
Author: Bill Milkowski.
Arranger: Gabriel Espinosa.
Five string electric bass guitarist Gabriel Espinosa, born in Mexico, is so heavily influenced by modern jazz that it plays a central role in this recording of originals that tap from samba and bossa nova sources. Yet the distinctive sound of Rio is much more dominant from a rhythmic standpoint, even though the melodies and instrumental passages come from the core of neo-bop. With up front help from veteran Brazilian trumpeter Claudio Roditi and Swiss born alto saxophonist George Robert, the breezy melodies heard here are also faithful to a modern jazz dialect. Guitarist Romero Lubambo and vocalist Alison Wedding add more tropical South American elements, but it is the incredible pianist Helio Alves who bonds the two disciplines together in solidarity of new and old traditions--as one listens to his minimalist sound buoying the horns ("Klavier Latino") or his more expansive work during the sharp edged "Huracan," you realize he can tackle almost any melodic or rhythmic challenge.Wedding sings pristinely in English on two of her own compositions, including the bossa pop tune "We've Come Undone." Anat Cohen guests on lead clarinet in 6/8 time for "Nuevos Horizontes" as the thorny, staccato horns reply, and members of the New York Voices Kim Nazarian and Darmon Meader chime in on the double layered, rich take of the standard "Agua De Beber". As pretty, nice, light and nonthreatening music goes, this project from Espinosa and his revered musical friends deserves high marks as both foreground and background music, and is an interesting update to what Herb Alpert and his Brazilian bands of the 1960's accomplished, with the caveat that this recording has much more jazz substance.