Review. Vengo de la Costa

From what seems to be a burgeoning Latin-Jazz environment on the historic West Coast of America, Silvestre Martinez is being warmly praised for not only for his percussion-colourist skills but also for his vocals and it’s easy to understand why from his album Vengo de la Costa. From the upward yearning phrases of the opening track, “Wildcat” it is clear that Mr Martinez’s approach to Latin-Jazz – especially with the added inflections of his traditional Oaxacan rhythms that follow on the rollicking “Charo Choco (Alingo Lingo)” it’s further intimation that the rolling rhythmic hijinks of this exciting musician are here to stay – no-nonsense and free of any posturizing and eccentricity, certainly more dramatic than many other recordings.

If Silvestre Martinez takes his foot off the pedal somewhat on “Incertidumbre” he pushes it on with even more force on “Costa Oaxaqueña” fashioning a rich interpretative musical tapestry that is uniquely his own. Apt rhythmic-leading features prominently throughout the recording, but it is never at the expense of luminous musicianship on the part of Mr Martinez. Nothing he writes (or arranges) and certainly everything that the percussionist performs with this well-heeled ensemble presages music that is by turns spirited and nicely flowing, contrasting with a pleasingly spiky baile – which unfolds naturally and with infectious zest on “Vengo de la Costa”.

There’s also a range of songs which seem to have been created not only to highlight the special masterly music of Silvestre Martinez, who brings an altogether unique rhythmic voice to Latin-Jazz, but also uniquely, the percussionist employs a breathtaking array of colours and textures in his music. This makes the set consistently appealing. The percussionist needs little by way of an invitation to unleash playing of real power in the music’s melody, the harmonic interaction with – especially – Arodi Martinez and the ever-wonderful Camilo Landau. Best of all is the breathtaking climaxes in rhythm from the expert fingers and hands of Silvestre Martinez.

Vengo de la Costa is an impressive addition to the Latin-Jazz library, but more than anything else, it comes from unexpected quarters, infused by clever and inspired interpretations of Mexican rhythms which makes it quite the priceless recording. It’s also original music by an artist from whom we’ll surely be hearing much more in the coming months and years.

Track list – 1: Wildcat; 2: Charco Choco (Alingo Lingo); 3: Incertidumbre; 4: Costa Oaxaqueña; 5: Into the Jungle; 6: Vengo de la Costa; 7: Tu Mirada; 8: Tu Eres la Mujer; 9: La Tercera Raiz

Personnel: Alonso Blanco: piano and keyboard (1 – 7); Arodi Martinez: tenor and soprano saxophones; Aldemar Valentin: electric bass; Renato Dominguez: drums; Camilo Landau: electric guitar (2, 6, 8); Mike Perez: keyboard and synthesizer (8); Viridiana Muratalla: coro (2, 8); Daniel Aquino: coro (2); Silvestre Martinez: congas, percussion, quijada de burro, caja casteña, bote (tigera), lead vocal, background vocals and synthesizer

Released – 2017
Label – Chankiki Records
Runtime – 44:44

Review by Raul da Gama.  Latin Jazz Network. Nov 11 2017