Latin Jazz

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The Latin Jazz genre at JMA is a catch all genre for jazz bands that use Latin rhythms, but do not fit our Bossa Nova or Afro Cuban genres. Many of the bands listed here mix rhythms from Brazil, Cuba, Central America and Africa in ways that are not always easy to categorize or define.

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Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

ASTOR PIAZZOLLA Tango: Zero Hour / Nuevo Tango: Hora Zero Album Cover Tango: Zero Hour / Nuevo Tango: Hora Zero
ASTOR PIAZZOLLA
4.62 | 4 ratings
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MILTON NASCIMENTO Milton Nascimento & Som Imaginario ‎: Milagre Dos Peixes (Gravado Ao Vivo) Album Cover Milton Nascimento & Som Imaginario ‎: Milagre Dos Peixes (Gravado Ao Vivo)
MILTON NASCIMENTO
4.75 | 2 ratings
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MILTON NASCIMENTO Geraes Album Cover Geraes
MILTON NASCIMENTO
4.40 | 5 ratings
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GATO BARBIERI Chapter Four: Alive in New York Album Cover Chapter Four: Alive in New York
GATO BARBIERI
4.50 | 2 ratings
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CHICK COREA The Spanish Heart Band : Antidote Album Cover The Spanish Heart Band : Antidote
CHICK COREA
4.50 | 2 ratings
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CAL TJADER Amazonas Album Cover Amazonas
CAL TJADER
4.50 | 2 ratings
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MILTON NASCIMENTO Miltons Album Cover Miltons
MILTON NASCIMENTO
4.50 | 2 ratings
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CAL TJADER Cuban Fantasy Album Cover Cuban Fantasy
CAL TJADER
4.50 | 2 ratings
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CAL TJADER Cal Tjader-Stan Getz Sextet Album Cover Cal Tjader-Stan Getz Sextet
CAL TJADER
4.50 | 2 ratings
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CAL TJADER Cal Tjader's Latin Concert Album Cover Cal Tjader's Latin Concert
CAL TJADER
4.45 | 2 ratings
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MILTON NASCIMENTO Minas Album Cover Minas
MILTON NASCIMENTO
4.30 | 5 ratings
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MILTON NASCIMENTO Courage Album Cover Courage
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4.33 | 3 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

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Follow The Signs
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latin jazz Music Reviews

BILL ORTIZ Points Of View

Album · 2022 · Latin Jazz
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Trumpeter Bill Ortiz has worked with many well-known artists over the years, but possibly he is best known for his sixteen years with Carlos Santana (2000-2016) Along with Carlos, Bill has also toured with Bay Area RnB groups like Tony Toni Tone and En Vogue, and has also performed with top jazz musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Chick Corea. Add to that list many RnB, blues and Latin jazz performers and you get an idea of how much Bill gets around. His latest album, “Points of View”, takes Ortiz in more of a Latin jazz and fusion direction, which is different from his previous albums which were more RnB and hip-hop oriented. There is an amazing all-star cast assembled for this album, too many stars to list, but two of the top contributors include Dennis Chambers on drums and Azar Lawrence on tenor saxophone. Although “Points of View” is very much a modern album, there is a spiritual connection to the 70s with songs by artists like Eddie Henderson, Lonnie Liston Smith and Brian Jackson, but it’s Azar’s big soulful tenor sound that brings that organic 70s vibe more than anything else.

There is a wide variety of music on here, each song has its own unique flavor that stands on its own. Looking at some album highlights, opening track “Sunburst” brings the jazz-rock energy. Although Bill rarely sounds like Miles, on this rockin track he seems to channel Miles’ aggressive riffs from his Live at the Fillmore album. “Okonkole y Trompa” is a mystical African flavored rumba with Bill’s deep toned flugelhorn sounding like an ancient African horn sounding over a percussion groove. The psychedelic Afro-Cuban sound is also found on “Fusion/Noche Cubana", on which Ortiz plays echoed trumpet lines over the percussion backdrop. “Aint Gon Change a Thang” is funky Latin RnB and has Bill playing a processed trumpet that sounds like Randy Brecker’s work combining mutes and wah pedals. And there are plenty more tracks of course. Though out the album, Ortiz’s trumpet playing is bold and forthright, very much in the Latin tradition, and also similar to power trumpeters like Freddie Hubbard and Jon Faddis.

JUAN CARLOS QUINTERO Table for Five!

Album · 2021 · Latin Jazz
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Although he was regularly releasing new material some 15 to 30 years ago, its been a while since Juan Carlos Quintero put out a new CD of all new tracks. So it has come to pass that all fans of Latin Jazz can rejoice because his new album, “Table for Five” has been well worth the wait. Recently, much Latin jazz has been becoming increasingly abstract and divorced from dance movements, if you prefer something that is more in the groove, than this new CD may be what you are looking for. This album is all about the rhythm, there are solos but they stay in the pocket and always relate to the opening melody. It’s a great band Quintero has assembled here, these are all old friends who have jammed together many times and it shows, this is very much community music with a lot of heart.

“Table for Five” uses a wide variety of Latin rhythms, often referencing Afro-Cuban, but a touch of Brazil and Colombia come through as well. Juan usually plays a nylon string acoustic, but for this album he switched to hollow body electric which was a good choice as it gives the rhythms more punch. Pianist Joe Rotondi backs him up with those signature montuno style piano riffs and percussionist Joey DeLeon cuts through the mix with slammin timbale interjections. Many of the tunes covered here are well known to jazz and Latin fans, but these arrangements breathe new life into these well worn numbers. Especially effective is a cha-cha version of “Song for my Father’ which takes on an almost Latin soul vibe. The covers are nice, but for future Quintero releases it would be good to hear some more of his originals because the two on here are about the best tracks on the album. Especially infectious is the cumbia flavored title track. it’s a shame more jazz musicians won’t use cumbia beats more often, maybe that seems too folk for them, but this album has no pretensions in that direction. Another plus to “Table for Five” is the production and recording quality, this album sparkles with direct precision and perfect balance.

MORILD Brazilian Soundscapes

Album · 2020 · Latin Jazz
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Morild is a somewhat unorthodox duo consisting of Dag Einar Eilertson on alto trombone and Marius Noss Gundersen on classical guitar. The alto trombone has a rich mellow tone somewhat similar to a flugelhorn, only a bit deeper and makes for an excellent soulful melodic voice which works well in their music which tends to emphasis melody over technical showmanship. Their first album, "Nordic Landscapes", reflected their Norwegian roots with somber tunes that fit well with warming oneself by a cozy fireplace. On their new one “Brazilian Soundscapes”, they head to much sunnier climes. Despite their north European roots, both of these artists are well versed in Latin jazz and have performed in that style together for over ten years. Gundersen’s solo work is usually in either a Brazilian or classical tradition.

A lot of us probably tend to associate Brazilian music with upbeat celebrations and sexy beach music, but Morild’s performance also reminds us that there is also a lot of sensitivity and delicate melodies in Brazilian music. A couple tracks on here can recall the more reflective nature of their first album, while other songs get into that characteristic upbeat samba rhythm. If you have any familiarity with Latin jazz you will recognize the composers represented on here, particularly Jobim and Gismonti. Fortunately there are no one note sambas, girls from Impanema, waves or any other wore out overplayed hits. The selected tunes all sound refreshing and still new, or nuevo.

There is a bit of horn double tracking here and there, which makes for interesting tone colors that this group could probably explore further. Six tracks feature added bass and percussion, which adds some depth and variety, I just wish that Luis Landa-Schreitt’s percussion had been mixed a little louder, particularly on the more up tempo numbers.

JOHN DAVERSA Cuarentena : With Family at Home

Album · 2020 · Latin Jazz
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Its not unusual for a John Daversa album to carry a theme outside of the music itself, so it is with his new album, “Cuarantena: With Family at Home”, on which he explores the importance of familial relationships in a time of quarantine through a collection of boleros, a musical form that was often a part of his family gatherings when he was young. Many of these compositions by Daversa are homages to various family members, and also many other of the compositions were written by other family members. Interspersed between the tracks, the various members of Daversa’s quintet discuss how family and music interact in their own lives. Speaking of the assembled quintet for the recording, this is an all-star ensemble with top names at every position; Gonzalo Rubalcaba on piano, Carlo De Rosa on bass, Dafnis Prieto on drums and Sammy Figueroa on percussion.

As mentioned already, every one of these songs is a bolero, but do not expect sameness, instead this album is laden with creative eclecticism. Boleros tend to be rhythmically laid back and very melodic, and you do get a lot of that on here, but there are variations too. “#45” features some high speed bebop unisons, “#22” contains fiery solo trade offs, “Puppitas” has a far out arrangement that borders on the avant-garde, and “#19”builds into an aggressive samba like energy. Still, the hallmark of “Cuarantena” are the more laid back boleros that fascinate with their open spaces and relaxed timing. The open spaces can almost recall a classic ECM disc, only with a Latin flavor and no icy reverb. When Daversa’s lonely trumpet plays over a sparse accompaniment I’m also reminded of Miles’ classic “Quiet Nights” album. All members of the band are careful not to overplay and the tracks are made more interesting because different members of the band will drop out of the mix for a while instead of all five going at it all the time. Overall, a most valuable player award could go to Rubalcaba whose wide ranging skills can add variety through his knowledge of post bop, Latin jazz and classical.

This is a beautiful album, very thoughtful and sensitive. Its great to hear musicians with mind blowing chops set their pyrotechnics aside for a while to just play music that anyone can relate to, not just fans of jazz or Latin music.

ANTONIO ADOLFO BruMa (Mist): Celebrating Milton Nascimento

Album · 2020 · Latin Jazz
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“BruMa” is not only Antonio Adolfo’s musical tribute to Milton Nascimento, but also a tribute to Milton’s attempts to help the victims of flooding in two Brazilian cities, which is reflected in the album’s title. The Bru refers to the city Brumadinho, and Ma refers to Moriana, two cities who suffered catastrophic consequences when earthen dams collapsed. Adolfo has worked with Milton as far back as the late 60s, which makes him a perfect candidate for reworking some of Nasciemento’s music. Many of these songs will be familiar to others, not only from Milton’s previous albums, but also from albums by artists such as Wayne Shorter and Stanley Turrentine. This is a Brazilian jazz album, but don’t expect non-stop bossas and sambas, those rhythms are used, but so are many other rhythms from Brazil, as well as rhythms from the worlds of contemporary jazz and RnB. Subtlety is the key here, Nascimento’s music is full of tricky rhythms and chord changes, but Adolfo’s smooth arrangements make this into an album almost anyone can enjoy.

There is only one samba on here, “Cancao Do Sal’, and it is one of the best tracks with an excellent driving piano muntuno to push it forward. “Caxanga” uses Afro-Brazilian rhythms from Bhia that sound a lot like jazz RnB from the US east coast. Likewise, the relaxed shuffle of “Nada Sera Como Antes” is similar to a hip-hop jazz groove. With a four horn front line there are plenty of solos to go around, with some of the best coming from the Coltrane inspired tenor of Marcelo Martins. The classic music of Milton Nascimento is in good hands with these tasteful mini-big band arrangements.

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