Roberto Fonseca - Zamazu

Enja LC03126    ****
Roberto Fonseca (p, v), Vicente Amigo (g), Javier Zalba (cl; fl, ss), Omar Gonzalez (b), Orlando Cachiato Lopez (b), Ramsés Rodriguez (d), Emilio del Monte Valdes (perc), Emilio del Monte Mata (perc), Manuel Guajiro Mirabel (t), Carlinhos Brown (perc) and Omara Portuondo (v) plus others. Rec. date not given
Roberto Fonseca - Zamazu
Mega-talented Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca frequently stole the show on the last tour by late Buena Vista statesman Ibrahim Ferrer – and this fourth solo outing shows why. Sparkling with innovation and chock-a-block with talent, Zamazu confirms Fonseca’s reputation as a major jazz talent. Where the conservatoire-trained 31-year-old’s three previous albums developed his trademark percussive style in a Santana-meets-Weather-Report vein, here Fonseca moves into fresh Latin jazz territory with the aid of long term musical partner Javier Zalba and a versatile Cuban/Brazilian rhythm section.

Lauded Brazilian producer Ale Siqueria (Tribalistas) helms a disc that showcases Fonseca’s orchestral, Jarrett-like flourishes to perfection: an electric, high energy run here; some limpid, shimmering keyboard work there. A series of compositions intended to reflect Fonseca’s life – there are dedications to his mother, to bassist Cachiato Lopez, to his precious orisha gods – Zamazu also references Turkey, North Africa and Brazil while never losing sight of the artist’s Afro-Cuban roots. Light and dark, airy and stimulating, with arrangements to die for, Zamazu is one of this year’s must have releases.

Jane Cornwell

This review is taken from Jazzwise Issue Number 108 - to read the full feature subscribe here and receive a free CD.