Sunday, May 5, 2013

In Review--From Tucson to London

Ray Sandoval 
Próxima Parada

In an age of fusion food and music, Ray Sandoval, guitarist-composer records flamenco-tinged Latin jazz with folk-world elements also on his canvas.  His fifth outing, Próxima Parada even fits into the crossover new age category in the same vein of Strunz and Farah or Jesse Cook, if those musicians took the Cuban rustic route.  Actually, beyond the borders of genres, Sandoval composes and performs straight forward music with strong melodic hooks, and percussionist Satin Singh adds some tight Latin grooves.  The songs offer a warm relaxing vibe, while having enough vibrancy to not end up buried in audio wallpaper.  And if you need something livelier, listen to the track I Do.

All the tunes were penned by Sandoval except a Latinized version of Thelonious Monk’s ‘Round Midnight.  Most of the songs here would ignite a romantic evening, just listen to Sakura Sky, for instance, and this sweet music would enhance a quiet gathering.  However, I prefer to listen to the CD with headphones without any distractions.  Overall, the songs glide by at a medium tempo with no harmonic surprises or jolts along the way.  Anyone needing to unwind could do no better than to slip this CD into the player, kick back, and merge with the songs.

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