On 'The Invasion Parade', Cuban pianist and composer Alfredo Rodriguez explores his memories of Cuba, the people and the culture he left behind. Co-Produced by Quincy Jones, Rodriguez' champion and mentor, the album also features a superb ensemble that includes bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding, percussionist and vocalist Pedrito Martinez, and drummer and percussionist Henry Cole.
'The Invasion Parade' comprises nine tracks including originals by Rodriguez as well as evergreens such as "Guantanamera", Maria Teresa Vera's "Veinte Años", and "Quizás, Quizás, Quizás".
"I searched different styles, different rhythms of Cuban music", explains Rodriguez. "I explored Conga Santiaguera [a rhythm from Santiago, in Eastern Cuba]; Afro-Cuban music and also música guajira [country music]. I'm exploring the roots and searching for my own contribution to Cuban music."
Personnel: Alfredo Rodriguez (piano, Minimoog voyager synthesizer, electronics percussion), Esperanza Spalding (vocals, acoustic bass - tracks 3, 7), Peter Slavov (acoustic bass), Henry Cole (drums, percussion), Pedrito Martinez (vocals, percussion), Roman Filiu (alto and soprano saxophone), Billy Carron (baritone saxophone), Javier Porta (flute)
(4 stars) Martinez' percussion and several highly emotional vibrant vocals are outstanding...Alfredo has a great future ahead. This is an exceptional recording of its kind. --Jazzwise, (Tony Hall), May 2014
(4 stars) A strong year for Caribbean-Jazz crossovers continues with this captivating release...Ebullient and sultry piano, intricate and irresistible rhythm, and a Latin dance classic gets a surprising twist. --Financial Times, (Mike Hobart), March 8, 2014
(4 stars) The Cuban pianist's vibrant title track evokes an annual carnival in Santiago de Cuba, and his own compositions are augmented with fresh takes on four well-known Cuban tunes, including Guantanamera and Veinte Anos. His contemporary explorations of traditional Cuban rhythms give a vivid original spin to the music, but without any sacrifice of colour or energy. --The Scotsman, (Kenny Mathieson), March 13, 2014