ROBERTO FONSECA

Akokan

2010-08-12

Cuban jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca delivers a fine syncopated set of instrumental numbers, sprinkled with a few vocal cuts from Cape Verde songstress (on #4), American Raul Midon (on #12), and his mother on #1 (plus some of his own rhythmic wailing on #11). The album's Yoruba-language title is translated as "Heart" and the record was recorded in Havana. Fonseca's playing has been labeled a combination of "precise rhythm and intense emotion" and that's an apt description of what one hears. He's all over the piano keys, from the lowest to the highest, and he makes excellent use of his sidemen to punctuate the rhythm or underscore the emotion. Highlights abound, but for variety try the fluidity of "Lo Que" (#2), the flute-packed European ambiance of "Bulgaria" (#5), the racing tempo of "Lento" (#6) and the snap of "El Ritmo" (#11). This is a very talented pianist; let's not embargo his music. 08/10 Michael J.

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