Jimenez arrives after a number of years paying his dues, some in his birthplace and current home of Yonkers, some in Puerto Rico where he spent several years. Since taking up the flute he has studied with some fine Latin players, Mitch Frohman from Tito Puente's band, Mario Rivera, Bobby Porcelli, who appears on this recording, and, more recently, Dave Valentin who also puts in a guest appearance. Jimenez also attributes much of his inspiration to pianist Mike Longo. These influences can be heard in Jimenez' flute work; he has a good full sound, a secure rhythmic sense and a good flow of invention in his improvisations. He has wisely chosen to center his rhythm section around a seasoned veteran-pianist Hilton Ruiz, with whom Jimenez has also studied. With Ruiz at the controls the rhythm section snaps and crackles. Jimenez takes central stage as soloist but leaves room for Ruiz, plus cameo appearances by Khan, Porcelli and Valentin, the latter on the final track, the only one not an original composition by Jimenez. It says something for Jimenez' prowess as a flutist that it is hard to tell him and Valentin apart!
This is certainly a fine debut for a new artist. Along with his flute work, he also contributed seven original compositions. On the whole these are strong, with the usual Latin vamps and grooves, bossas and cha chas, with one slower ballad, My Allison. One caveat. If I had been the producer, I would have suggested leavening these with one or two standards. Jimenez' originals are not quite distinctive enough to carry the whole album. Dave Valentin, Jessica Valiente--these are good composers, but their recordings benefit from a program that mixes their originals with traditional Latin forms and/or jazz standards. I think such a formula would serve Jimenez well on his next recording, which I look forward to hearing.