The Banda Brothers

By Ballengee, Christopher L. | Notes, September 2014 | Go to article overview

The Banda Brothers


Ballengee, Christopher L., Notes


The Banda Brothers. Primavera. DVD (Blu-ray). Produced by Mark Waldrep. Los Angeles, CA: AIX Records, 2012. AIX 85050. $34.98.

West coast jazz aficionados know Tony and Ramon Banda best for their namesake ensemble, the Banda Brothers, with Tony on bass, Ramon on drums and percussion, and a revolving variety of standouts filling out the sextet. Noted for their effortless interpretations of straight-ahead jazz, bepop, and Afro-Cuban styles, the Banda Brothers only release prior to Primavera is the superb 2008 Acting Up where they expertly wed neo-bop arrangements with an uptown Latin groove. Primavera continues in this vein, though Tony is conspicuously absent owing to health problems at the time of recording. The visual setting of Primavera is intimate: musicians positioned facing one another as if in a private living room concert. Yet, the apparatus of recording is conspicuous, with microphones positioned throughout the space and three overlap ping camera angles frequently revealing one another. Slick cuts among these cameras make the room seem larger, allowing an insider point-of-view within the musician's circle that viewers will appreciate.

Ramon on drums and timbales collaborates with some wonderful talent on Primavera. On a rendition of Wes Montgomery's "Fried Pies," legendary guitarist Ron Eschete and Los Angeles-based organist Joe Bagg join Ramon for a laidback opener that is also one of the most artful tracks on the disc. Primavera is unique in that veteran performers like Eschete, conguero Joey DeLeon, and flautist Danilo Lozano share centerstage with a cavalcade of young talent like Bagg, saxophonist Tom Catanzaro, and vocalist Destini Wolf. …

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