Sunday, August 4, 2013

Imer Santiago Hidden Journey Jazz Music City 2013

Imer Santiago is one of the fastest rising talents on the burgeoning jazz scene in the Music City!

Nashville may not be the first city that comes to mind when asked to name the jazz four corners of the United States but much like San Francisco, Music City U.S.A is a hot spot for jazz artists with Imer Santiago a fresh voice with flavor to match.

Hidden Journey is the aptly titled debut release for not only an exciting new voice working the Nashville scene but an introduction of an artist poised to make a dynamic presence on a far larger scale. In the world of improvisational music the trumpet has been somewhat one note in that we have Terrell Stafford, Tom Harrell, and a half dozen A list players that want to sound like Stafford or Harrell. Imer Santiago is banging out a Latin jazz fusion that is as vibrant and inventive as is his friend and label owner of Jazz Music City Records, Rahsaan Barber. Nashville saxophonist Rashsaan Barber is a critically acclaimed saxophonist and emerging musical entrepreneur who is reminiscent of some of the young lions from the former glory days of Blue Note Records back in the mid 80's. Along with Santiago and Barber this formidable quintet is rounded off with pianist Bruce Dudley, bassist Jon Estes, and drummer Josh Hunt. The lyrical cohesion of this ensemble is off the charts and embraces the challenge of taking the somewhat overly predictable traditional favorites and putting a slightly more contemporary spin on certain tunes. 

Unlike many that sing the gospel of Miles Davis simply because they can not explain the significance of Louis Armstrong, Santiago pays respectful homage to both utilizing the harmon mute on "Flat 2176" and by taking the Armstrong standard "What A Wonderful Word" out of the predictable 4/4 meter into a waltz. The smoldering cha-cha infused "Reminiscence" is another perfect example of not just the harmonic but cultural tightrope that is walked by this incredibly original voice in modern jazz. Hidden Journey kicks off with "Girls' Night Out" which is a high octane Art Blakey like shuffle paying homage to two other trumpet greats, Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard.

Hidden Journey is not merely a retrospective look at the past glory of the founding fathers of jazz trumpet. Imer Santiago creates a new and incredibly dynamic voice that will allow this up and coming talent to cut a wide path in the improvisational world. Label owner and producer Rahsaan Barber has hit the mother load of talent with Santiago and the possibilities are limitless.

4.5 Stars. A superior effort in virtually every aspect of performance, production, and packing.

Tracks: Girl's Night Out; Fourthcoming; Flat 2176; The Very Thought Of You; Hidden Journey; Flat 2176; What A Wonderful World; Keegan's Prelude; Lonely Nights; Reminiscence; Keegan's Lullaby.

Personnel: Imer Santiago: Trumpet & Flugelhorn; Rahsaan Barber: Alto & Tenor Saxophone, Flute; Bruce Dudley: Piano; Jon Estes: Acoustic Bass; Josh Hunt: Drums.
Special Guests: Stephanie Adlington, Roland Barber, James DaSilva, Paul Horton, Rod McGaha, Giovanni Rodriguez, Ivan Santiago, Keegan Imer Santiago, Tyler Summers.