Gabriel Espinosa, "From Yucatan To Rio"
Bassist Gabriel Espinosa leads a collection of distinguished players on this ear-pleasing album, which is partly a love letter to Brazil. With a wide array of musicians to help convey his message, the main triumph of "From Yucatan to Rio" is the terrific ensemble performance. The album opens with Espinosa's arrangement of Tom Jobim's "Agua de Beber," featuring Kim Nazarian on lead vocals. The song is quintessential bossa nova, with the added spice of Claudio Roditi's sleek trumpet solo. "Nueves Horizontes," on the other hand, highlights Espinosa's Yucutan heritage. Roditi, Helio Alves (piano), Anat Cohen (clarinet) and George Roberts (sax) all check in on this tune, with Alves and Roberts offering particularly eloquent comment. Another choice moment is "Remain," a cozy samba featuring a lovely vocal by Alison Wedding and a fluent guitar solo from Romero Lubambo.