Pianist Hilton Ruiz has had a very successful career in both jazz and Latin music. On this Tropijazz release, he combines the two styles to form a very likable brand of Latin jazz. Ruiz utilizes such sidemen as Tito Puente (playing vibes or timbales on three songs), flutist Dave Valentin, tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, trumpeter Charlie Sepulveda, trombonist Papo Vasquez, bassist Andy Gonzalez and three notable percussionists (Giovanni Hidalgo, Ignacio Berroa and Steve Berrios) for Latinized versions of four jazz standards and five group originals (including three by Ruiz). The music is quite catchy, danceable and reasonably challenging.
An old-style singer/crooner along the lines of Bing Crosby, Eddie Fisher and Perry Como, Ronnie Hilton was born Adrian Hill in Hull on the 26th of January, 1926. He left school aged only 14 to work in an aircraft factory during World War II before being called up into the Highland Light Infantry. After the war, he began working in a sewing-machine plant in Leeds, but singing was always his first love and he managed to get a second job, performing in the evenings with the Johnny Addlestone Band at the club the Starlight Roof.
In 1992 the most artistically brilliant pianist able to blend the American musical styles, especially Afro-Cuban jazz and bebop, with mambo was Hilton Ruiz (New York, 1952 to 2006), who had worked with figures as Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson or Dizzy Gillespie. Between 1980 and 2000 Hilton led his own band that recorded eighteen albums as a leader, including this one, which led to an update of the status of dance music with Cuban roots in New York. Hilton, playing the piano, was accompanied by several of the most prominent Latin musicians such as percussionists Steve Berrios, Ignacio Berroa and Giovanni Hidalgo, bass Andy Gonzalez, trumpeter Charlie Sepúlveda, tenor saxophonist David Sánchez and trombonist Papo Vázquez. It is the instrumental version of mambo in Latin jazz during 90s.
This CD is a success on all levels. For this Latin jazz date, the rhythm section's power and energy constantly inspire the horn soloists. Tenor saxophonist George Coleman is in top form, altoist Kenny Garrett gets in his licks and flutist Dave Valentin, whose playing was often a bit watered down on his own GRP releases, takes what may be his finest recorded solo on "Cuchi Cuchi." Not to be overlooked is Ruiz's McCoy Tyner-inspired piano, which fuels the rhythm section and really pushes the horns. Ruiz wisely chose nine superior songs to perform, including several rarely heard in this type of setting.
Grammy nominated Latin Jazz band Charlie Sepulveda & the Turnaround bring you their latest work, Sepulveda Boulevard. The album includes a collaboration with cuatro player Christian Nieves and contains material contributed by most of the band members. The individual input from each group member gives the album a personal touch and diversity in style.