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New album from Angel Roman

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    Posted: 25 Oct 2021 at 9:42pm
Released October 15, 2021
Composer, arranger, and bass player ANGEL ROMAN is an innovative Latin jazz artist who prefers not to tread the well-worn path of past masters of the genre as he blends different Afro Latin rhythms, along with Jazz, Brazilian, Pop, Fusion, Neo-Soul and Funk. On FESTIVE INTERPLAY, Roman fully embraces his talents as an imaginative composer while presenting a program of Latin jazz that is at once very recognizable, but at the same time, quite different and unexpected.
FESTIVE INTERPLAY is the fourth album by Roman and his band MAMBO BLUE. It follows Finally Blue (2015), Mambo Blue (2006), and Con Fuego (2003). The Latin Jazz Network said of his previous CD, “There is no race to be flashy and no gratuitous virtuosity. Just wickedly good music that is both individual and inspired.”
The personnel of Mambo Blue have changed from album to album, reflecting the peripatetic nature of Roman’s life. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Roman currently resides in Austin with past residencies along the way in Boston, Miami, Gainesville, Jacksonville, and Nashville. Most of the band members have changed as life took him down many different roads. Roman says, “Wherever I go, I manage to work with the top musicians in that city. I’m honored and fortunate that so many talented artists resonate with my music and want to perform and record with me.”
The current iteration of the band consists of top Austin talent, including JOHN MILLS (flute), PETE RODRIGUEZ (trumpet), JUSTIN VASQUEZ (alto sax), RUSSELL HAIGHT (tenor sax), ANDRE HAYWARD (trombone), DAMIAN A GARCIA (piano & Rhodes), JOEL GUZMAN (piano & synth), NICHOLAD LITERSKI (piano), JOSE APONTE (drums), BRANNEN TEMPLE (drums), ANDY SMITH (drums & percussion), SAMUEL LOPEZ (percussion), CARMELO TORRES (percussion).
FESTIVE INTERPLAY comprises ten tunes. The album opens with “Why Not,” an appealing example of Roman’s eclectic approach to rhythm. The tune begins with a progressive Latin jazz vibe but switches gears with a funky Neo Soul section before settling into a traditional Latin groove. Roman is a fan of the San Francisco Jazz Collective, whose music served as an inspiration for “Collective Cha.” The music starts off with an exciting intro with the horns playing almost freeform countermelodies and then resolving into a cha-cha. Roman’s parents are from Puerto Rico, and he included “Dreaming in Bomba” to honor his roots. The bomba rhythm is a traditional Puerto Rico musical style rooted in the island's history of African slavery.
The title track, “Festive Interplay,” embodies the overarching concept of the album. Roman arranged the meter and form to create an unconventional Latin number. Roman brings down the temperature a bit on
“Never Far,” a sweet, romantic ballad that does not employ the usual 16- or 32-bar form. Roman came up with the name “Not Sure So Sure” because initially he was (Not Sure) where the tune was leading him, but when he finished the composition, he was happy with the results (So Sure). “3 Sisters” is the most straight-ahead composition on the album, with a subtle Monkish vibe. The tune is in 3/4 time and Roman has three sisters -- hence, its name.
“The Quest,” with its 6/8 feel, reflects the spirit of Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro Blue.“ “Indi-Go-Go” is named for Roman’s son, Indigo. The song had been sitting in limbo for 20 years because he always felt something was missing. He re-wrote the composition with a Brazilian bridge that gave it the secret sauce he was looking for. The song also features the unconventional approach of two drummers playing simultaneously. “Who Knows Maybe Tomorrow” opens with a smooth jazz intro, but quickly morphs into a traditional bolero with an extended solo at the outro.
It was important for Roman to create a project where each composition is distinctive and unlike any other tune on the album. FESTIVE INTERPLAY is an idiosyncratic album that has the warmth and charm that emanates from the composer himself.
Angel Roman was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He studied music at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and continued his education at Berklee College of Music. Roman moved to Florida for studio work with Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated music producer/composer Joel Someillan. Roman was also a first call sideman for visiting artists from Puerto Rico and South America who toured the U.S. and performed several times with famed musician Colonial Bruce Hampton. While on a visit to Nashville, Roman was offered a job with Henry Murphy and the Seahawks. The band was the house band for a new entertainment venue called The Tin Roof, a destination for many well-known artists, actors, and sports figures. Currently living in Austin, Texas, Roman performs in a variety of live venues and is involved with various studio projects. His primary focus is his band, Mambo Blue, which gives him a vehicle to experiment and cultivate his compositional skills.
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FESTIVE INTERPLAY was released on October 15, 2021 and is available everywhere.

Edited by js - 25 Oct 2021 at 9:43pm
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