The days of the extended major label deal are all but done. Michel Camilo is back with Sony Masterworks / Okeh to take on the daunting task of the solo piano recording, luckily this is not Camilo's first rodeo when it comes to perhaps the most challenging presentation that a pianist can make. Michel Camilo sticks to his wheelhouse and delivers an incredibly engaging performance full of Afro-Cuban poly rhythms and the signature skill that is the power of his left hand combined with a deft touch for a delightfully intimate and organic presentation of his artistic DNA.
Michel Camilo's storied career is highlighted as a Grammy, Emmy and Latin Grammy award winning pianist and composer thus completing the musical hat trick for this Dominican Republic born virtuoso that seems to raise the standards for modern jazz with each subsequent release. With What's Up, Camilo contributes seven originals and four dynamic arrangements of some jazz and Latin standards. Highlights here are all most too numerous to mention but several stand out tunes include his reharm of the Cole Porter classic "Love For Sale" and a reinvention of Compay Segundo's "Chan Chan" which is pure flavor and yet another trademark of the Camilo sound. The cover of "Take Five" complete with perpetual poly rhythmic intricacies is Camilo's personal homage to the iconic Dave Brubeck. As stated earlier his is not Camilo's first attempt at solo piano (most artists try it once and move on) with his last solo project having been release in 2005 but this may be arguably be his finest overall work to date.
The sophisticated all most elegant use of jazz harmonies combined with some vibrant Latin textures elevate his sound to a musical happy place, a jazz smorgasbord where one can sample from an amazing sonic buffet of a vibrant sonic color pallet from which there may be no equal.
Michel Camilo gets started on the right foot with his return to Sony Master Works / Okeh with an incredible new release destined to be talked about for years to come. Camilo is indeed my musical easy button!
Tracks: What's Up; A Place In Time; Take Five; Sandra's Serenade; Island Beat; Alone Together; Paprika; Love For Sale; Chan Chan; On Fire; At Dawn.
Michel Camilo - Solo Piano