Crossover is a brilliant mashup of Latin jazz with modern contemporary flair, one of the new sounds for contemporary instrument music.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
The aptly titled Crossover marks an important if not natural evolution for the contemporary Latin collective Level 10. A primary blend of Brazilian and Cuban flavors this south Florida ensemble has managed to fuse together a sound that has a percussive pop and unwavering lyrical sense of purpose. Catchy tunes are great, this release however is meaningful melody carefully constructed around the virtuoso talents of a band that continues to push forward while pushing the musical envelope. The crossover potential for Level 10 within multiple formats is only as limited as the radio programmers and platform webmasters wish to make it.
The band has been slightly tweaked since Together with the addition of bassist and resident soul pumpkin Yovannis Roque. The percussive pop is now being directed by Sean Fote on drums and Tony Cintron on percussion. The addition of rock solid guitarist Jason Young on "Liquid" and "Full Color" is the proverbial stroke of musical genius adding just another shade to the rich harmonic color palette that embodies the signature sound of Level 10. The tunes here are catchy but more importantly they are consistent. Similar releases can have listeners as well as critics spotting the throw away tracks on the first listen, a strong consistency of lyrical intensity with the nuanced strength of the rhythm section begins to push Crossover to a higher plane. In short, no bad songs here. This is not "vibe" this is "vibe squared."
Bands should be running away from the smooth jazz label as the dead radio format can run out the clock being played behind school closings. Level 10 brings authenticity, flair and a musical passion not found in a vast majority of their contemporaries. While this may be a 2011 release, this could be the ultimate summer album for some time to come.
Level 10 is a collective where the chain is only as strong as the weakest link.
There are no weak links here.
Tracks: Crossover; Liquid; Maravilha; Soup For Thought; Mas Que Nada; Forever; Dinorah; First Start; Full Color; Two Sweet.
Personnel: Levy DeAndrade: Piano & Keyboards; Rex Freligh: Sax; Yovannis Roque: Bass; Sean Fote: Drums; Kenny Suarez: Drums (Two Suite, Forever); Tony Cintron: Percussion; Jason Young: Guitar (Liquid, Full Color).