Cuban born Axel Tosca Laugart is the young pianist at the center of this contemporary jazz CD. He currently resides in New York City and performs with his band (U)nity.
This album is a mixture of Latin American, African, Asian and American funk rhythms. There is a lot of repetitive motives and it is just not as musically exciting as other international jazz albums I’ve heard. There is a simplicity that, for me, when layered does not pan out into something with more compositional meat on the bone. The music doesn’t linger. Still, it’s pleasant enough.
Additional performers: Luques Curtis (bass); Xiomara Laugart (voice); Felipe Fournier (vibraphone); Keyon Harrold (trumpet); Dana Hawkins and Skoota Warner (drums); Max Cudworth (alto sax); Michael Valeanu (guitar); Tamer Pinarbasi (Turkish string Qanun or Kanun - think lap harp); Melanie Charles, Natalie Guillaume, Xiomara Laugart (voice).
Special guests on the album include: Jeff “Tain” Watts (drums); James Genus (bass); Luisito Quintero (percussion); Ron Blake (saxophone/flute).
– FCC Compliant: YES
– Recommended Tracks: 2
– Track Reviews: All Tracks go QUIET 5 seconds early (except Track 3).
1. (5:36) Accent - noisy start, then goes all over the place, drifting from calm to chaotic
2. (3:34) Siboney - lively rearrangement of this classic Cuban song, written 1929 by Ernesto Lecuona, about love and yearning; vocals in Spanish by Xiomara Laugart (Axel’s mother - a famous Cuban singer); horns stomp on vocals, but has some interesting ideas
3. (5:41) One for Grew - bongo drums open, lots of bass action, closes with fast percussion; NO SOUND after 5:30
4. (2:33) Hologram - laid-back harmonizing voices with percussion and vibraphone underneath
5. (5:29) Fulani in Love - medium-fast, nice percussion, bass and keyboards, fairly entertaining but repetitive
6. (4:50) Estrella - comfortable by-the-beach feel; romantic, cool breezes
7. (5:42) Afri Asia - timba-influenced percussion (timbales are shallow single-headed drums with metal casing), more repetitive keyboards, bass, wandering trumpet and sax
8. (3:39) Vibe - more beach lushness, simple melody lines
9. (4:43) 3rio - smooth-sounding showcase for piano