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Best Friends by Humberto Ramirez and Giovanni Hidalgo

The two "best friends" here have done great justice to Latin Jazz and jazz in general. This CD has all the components necessary for listening, dancing or whatever one chooses to do.

They've known each other since childhood and their fathers were accomplished musicians in Puerto Rico. Humberto Ramirez and Giovanni Hidalgo give a great salute to the past, present and future of their music. The two multi-instrumentalists are heirs to a rich tradition in Latin Jazz. They groove in high-voltage and are joined by other friends to make this a fine musical experience.

"San Juan Ritual" is fast and furious with strong sensuous trumpet lined with fine piano workouts by Lucca. The tempo mellows out a bit with "Celebrando," but the energy is ever present with tough drumming by Hernandez. Nothing is really slow on the disc, but the ensemble's work is smooth throughout. In the track "Herencia," Ramirez and Hidalgo are joined by Master Tito Puente (timbales), and their fathers, Humberto Ramirez, Sr. (tenor sax) and Jose "Manengue" Hidalgo (congas). The result is a true jam session of the best kind. The kinship and respect shines through in their music. "Hasta Decir No Mas," composed by Jose Lozano, sports an excellent piano solo that gets to the heart of the matter. This is prime for dancing, but that could be said for any of the tracks, especially "A Puerto Rico." Just when you thought previous tracks were energetic, here comes this one with its spicy joyful enthusiasm. The output by everyone present is double the norm. Cartaya on bass is a fine compliment to all involved, and even that is probably an understatement.

Suffice it to say that this should come out a winner. The remaining tracks, "Clean," "La Perla," and the title track, "Best Friends," are consistent with those mentioned. To top it off, Ramirez composed five of the eight tracks on this CD and Hidalgo contributed two.

If Latin Jazz is your thing, by all means, pick this up. I would encourage others to open their minds and ears and soak all this CD has to offer. This is truly an enjoyable set and certainly worth much attention.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Humberto Ramirez and Giovanni Hidalgo
  • CD Title: Best Friends
  • Genre: Latin Jazz / Latin Funk
  • Year Released: 1999
  • Record Label: AJ Records
  • Musicians: Giovanni Hildalgo (congas, bongos, timbales and percussion), Humberto Ramirez (trumpet, flugelhorn and percussion), Papo Lucca (piano), Oskar Cartaya (bass), Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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