Yeah! This is the real deal here. The energy is hot, the tunes are tight, and the playing joyful. This is the debut release from Motema Music and drummer Lea has assembled a group that is equally at home swinging straight ahead, or burning through a taut Latin groove. Confrontation
gets things off to a great start. The ensemble horns deliver the melody over a bubbling groove. All the soloists are bristling with energy. This is one cooking band!Jackie And The Beanstalk
opens with a driving percussion groove leading into a tight ensemble playing the melody. The pulse shifts to a fast swing for the sax and trombone solos, both brilliantly played by Rivera and Lacy. Then pianist Ruiz opens to the original Latin groove that quickly jumps back to swinging hard. His solo leads into a wonderful solo by Lea. He show great chops combined with a dynamic touch. His playing echoes some of the bop drumming masters, but has his own updated style to it.
While most of the material here is percussion driven Latin-jazz, Round The World
is a slinky, slow blues sung by guest vocalist Jana Herzen. The musicianship here is stellar throughout, the recorded sound is outstanding, and the playing spirited. Babatunde Lea has put together a great band and recording. He is a drummer to reckon with, and deserves to be more well known. With stellar recordings like this, it won’t be long before he is. Highly recommended! Seek this out and enjoy!