The New York City based band Grupo Yanqui artfully confluence Afro-Cuban and Brazilian landscapes with American dancehall swing and bebop harmonies. Their music preens a Latin fluency on their latest record Grupo Yanqui Rides Again. The pattering rhythm section of percussionist Gilad, drummer Keith Hall and bassist Gregory Ryan is blanketed in saucy percolating piano keys played by Bennett Paster and a horn section performed by trumpeter Alex Norris and saxophonist Chris Cheek producing a flock of agile twitters. The album contains six original scripts penned by Paster and Ryan and two jazz standards, "Chelsea Bridge" written by William Strayhorn and "Tones For Joan’s Bones" by Chick Corea. Produced by Paster and Ryan, Grupo Yanqui Rides Again veers towards world music docks enabling the global masses to enjoy these songs.
The horn section loafers the rhythmic curls with crisp bristles as the band revisits Corea’s momentous "Tones For Joan’s Bones." The band’s spicy Latin treatments draw out the instruments vibrant flavors while creating a subdued atmospheric that elongates the passages in Strayhorn’s aria "Chelsea Bridge." The band shows that they can wield staccato beats with an equal virtuoso to managing fluid bebop chambers. Paster indulges in a few bars of tangential twists and phrasings as the horns delve into the merriment with shreds of improvisations through "PoMoAfroMoFoJo." The jaunt spurs on the melodic sequences into a rigorous exhibition of vaunting notes and piercing twitches showing that the band is prodigious at gelling oppositely shaped segments to form uniquely versed instrumentals.
The band’s rhythmic beats may display a staunch stiffness, but their horns and piano keys remain elastic. The band demonstrates complementing grains with polarizing attributes that splatter into one another and from harmonious unions. The Latin-tinged fibers of "The Chick From Panama" have a soft pulsating groove and sultry aerodynamics that may remind folks of the bossa nova tune "The Girl From Ipanema" by Jobim. The piano and horns dip into the drum swells with a leisurely quill along "El Vaquero Numero Cinco" and spin vivaciously through "If Woody Had Gone Right To The Police." The band performs music for a variety of Latin dances from the rumba legged "El Vaquero Numero Cinco" to the cha-cha steps of "If Woody Had Gone Right To The Police." If music is needed for Latin dance classes, Grupo Yanqui Rides Again has it ready.
Originating with Paster and Ryan, Grupo Yanqui has expanded into a septet over the years whose second album Grupo Yanqui Rides Again waves the flags of both North and South America manifesting a cultural fusion that appeals to world music forums. Their music permeates Latin gusto and American jazz pomades, which was welcomed by audiences in Sweden, Russia, Estonia, and Serbia during Grupo Yanqui’s 2006 tour for the US State Department and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Grupo Yanqui’s music is genuinely Latin and genuinely American jazz making a utopian fusion of diverse cultures.