The successor to the Caribbean Jazz Project's superb album Paraiso finds the group replacing guitar with the piano of Argentinian Dario Eskanazi and inviting Paquito D'Rivera to sit in on alto sax.

The successor to the Caribbean Jazz Project's superb album Paraiso finds the group replacing guitar with the piano of Argentinian Dario Eskanazi and inviting Paquito D'Rivera to sit in on alto sax. The end result is nothing short of high-energy. Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing," here transformed into a mambo via Dave Samuels' arrangement, is typical of the fiery interplay between D'Rivera, Samuels (vibes), Dave Valentin (flute), and the very busy rhythm section of Ruben Rodriguez, Richie Flores, and Dafnis Prieto. Valentin and Eskanazi take the lead in an equally rapid tempo on the Valentin original "See You in a Minute." Although most of the album has a delightful, loose, descarga feel, when the players get into something more downtempo, as on "Libertad," solos continue very free, propelled by a keen urgency and a very Afro-Cuban focus on rhythm.—PVV