We have a double find today: two excellent songs by the recently formed Latin jazz trio Sabor (Spanish for Flavor). Sabor hails from upstate New York and was founded with the goal of bringing back some of the flavor (see what I did there!) of vibraphone-centric jazz music, which experienced its heyday in the 60s and 70s when artists like Cal Tjader and Eddie Palmieri gained renown for combining traditional American jazz stylings with Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian influences. Clearly, judging by these two songs, Latin jazz is alive and kicking.
“Alonzo” is the more frenetically rhythmic of the two tracks, led by percussionist Pablo Shine’s intricate, rapid-fire conga fills and complemented by staccato vibraphone jabs from Rick Altman. Without exaggeration, the twisting, winding vibe riff that repeats throughout this track (along with the cymbal crash announcing its arrival each time) has been stuck in my head since I first heard the song on Sunday.
“Morning” is slightly more laid-back; it finds Altman following a leisurely swaying conga groove, allowing his vibraphone’s notes to ring out with a melodious warmth. Bassist Michael Coletti really shines on this one (don’t think I forgot to gave the bass some respect), taking advantage of the opportunity to fill in the spacious middle ground between the two other instruments.
Note: Remember to wear headphones or earbuds while listening to these tracks; otherwise Coletti’s bass gets lost in the mix, which you don’t want to happen.
Second note: I doubt the members of Sabor thought about this, but a homophone of the two tracks’ titles spoken together forms the name of a retired Miami Heat basketball player.
Check out Sabor on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/SABORBAND/about/?ref=page_internal and on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-105519347