Rhythmagic Orchestra

In 2005, Rhythmagic Orchestra was formed out of a drink session between Ben Lamdin (of Nostalgia 77 fame) and Hugo Mendez (of Latin music-spinning DJ Sofrito). Their idea was to create a band that would perform their favourite moments of Latin music from the 20th century in the 21st century. Although it may seem like pure fanboy nostalgia, the idea was actually born and the result is amazing. Lamdin recruited members from his own session band as well as some of the U.K.’s session and club musicians, including trumpeters Fulvio Sigurta (who also arranges), Jonny Spall (who also arranges), Gareth Lockrane and trombonists Tom Allan, Trevor Mires and Nick Mills. Ross Stanley was drummer, Graham Fox, Oreste E.Noda, Bongo boss Randy Compadre and Bartelemi timbaleros Oscar Martinez, Bartelemi and Bartelemi The set opens with an Afro-Cuban reading of Nina Simone’s “African Mailman”, featuring a tight, pounding montuno keyboard and beautiful flute fills. Kenny Dorham’s Afrodisia features a rearrangement featuring a driving piano, hard-swinging baritone and saxophone. Although some of the tunes here are Latin jazz standards, such as Art Blakey’s “Sakeena”, and the Dizzy Gillespie/Chano Pozo “Manteca”, they are exceptionally performed and arranged. Other tunes, like Gigi Gryce’s “Tiajuana,” A.K., are also included. Although not from the standard repertoire, Salim’s wailing song “Turuato”, Cedar Walton’s slow-burning “Afreaka,” and the sultry arrangements of Horace Silver and Mary Lou are excellent additions to this program. Lamdin and Spall also added two of their own tunes, the brassy struts of “Cha Cha de Juventud”, and the contrapuntal salsero, “Fish Market Dance,” to the mix. This date was issued on Lamdin’s Impossible Ark imprint. It is a stunning record from top to bottom. Jazzheads will love it for its hipness and its excellent playing and arranging. Club dancers will also enjoy it. It all started as an idea that came to me in a moment of drunkenness. Now, it has been rewarded musically. The Rhythmagic Orchestra represents authentic Afro-Latin Jazz. Allmusic

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