Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mike Arroyo Full Circle 2013

My musical sweet spot is the organ trio. I have to admit I have yet to hear a "saxxy mix of jazz and spirituals." For my money, spirituals and religion in general is a giant crap shoot with my money on the long shot but that is a whole different story. After a recent hospital stay the orderly in charge of the never ending trail of paper work asked if I had a religious preference, I said one that worked would be swell but that is a a story for another time.

Jazz guitarist, composer, and arranger hails from Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. While most parents would have their childeren in the church choir, Arroyo picked up the guitar at the ripe old age of eight and never looked back. Considered a pioneer in the sacred music scene in Puerto Rico music scene having organized what has long been considered the first Christian jazz night concert. Having won the prestigious best contemporary Christian instrumental release in 2005, things have been on an uphill climb ever since for Mike Arroyo. The trio here is rounded out with Kyle Koehler on organ and Vince Ector on drums.

While Arroyo continues to draw critical acclaim, he offers lectures and workshops at his Academy of Music in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. The main stream media has been open to the cross over attempt by Arroyo and his latest release full circle. While I joke concerning religious subject matter, Arroyo and his prolific talent are in fact no joke as he could hold his own on any stage across the country with virtually any player you can name.

There is an intriguing hybrid here, jazz, rock, folk, classical, and funk which are all wrapped up in the common bond of spirituality and praise. To review this particular release in three words would be easy as pace, love, and joy would do the trick nicely.

Personnel: Mike Arroyo: guitar; Kyle Koehler: organ; Vince Ector: drums.

Tracks: His Eyes On The Sparrow/El Cuidara De Mi; Doxology; Full Circle; I Belong Jesus; The Old Rugges Cross; Holu Holy Holy; I Surrender All; What A Friend We Have In Jesus; In The Garden.

4 out of 5 Stars