Jane Bunnett

Released October 23, 2001

Grammy Nominee for Best Latin Jazz Album 2003

YouTube: https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_lXmMKoe_vQrWtGLn5GBxu6G3ijKzIiAhI

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5y4kk6NiwgzXDhCMJT3kpU?si=hGLCx9WHRYaP6fgryXke-Q


Leave it to Canadian Jane Bunnett to continuously discover something new and beautiful in Cuba. Why not? Long before Ry Cooder created global Cuban fever with the phenomenon of the Buena Vista Social Club, this acclaimed flutist and soprano saxophonist had already been in Havana several years, interacting and recording with greats like Frank Emilio Flynn, Guillermo Barreto, Merceditas Valdes and a young Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Now she heads East to Santiago de Cuba for her latest offering, Alma de Santiago, and once again finds folkloric beauty and musical virtuosity for all to appreciate.
Santiago is renown as the birthplace of the rural son tradition as well as having some of the island nation’s richest carnival troupes. Collaborating with the old school son group Los Jubilados, a group of musicians whose trajectories date back to the late 1930s, and the carnival comparsa (troupe) Los Hoyos de Santiago, she creates spirited renditions of classics like “Son Santiaguero,” “Camaroncito Seco” and others. But it’s teaming up with the Santiago Jazz Saxophone Quartet that is a jazz lover’s delight. As rich harmonic textures and pirouetting counterpoints pour out on reworkings of “Almendra,” “La Comparsa,” “Mambo Shin Shin” and Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee,” the beauty of these soulful sounds add to a memorable journey that only a knowledgeable guide can provide.

Jesse Varela (JazzTimes)

Track Listing:

1. Funky Mambo 0:32

2. Son Santiaguero 5:28

3. Almendra (Abelardo Valdés) 5:34

4. Jane and los Hoyos (Ernesto Burgos) 7:04

5. La Comparsa (Ernesto Lecuona) 5:38

6. Camaroncito Seco featuring: Los Jubilados 5:39

7. Lagrimas Negras (Miguel Matamoros) 6:10

8. Donna Lee (Charlie Parker) 6:12

9. Mambo Shin Shin (Ernesto Burgos) 5:06

10. ¿Quien Eres Tu? (Traditional) 5:11

11. Alma de Santiago (Jane Bunnett) 8:43


Jane Bunnett: flute, soprano sax

Larry Cramer: trumpet and flugelhorn

Carlos Thomas: trumpet

Geovanis Alcantra: piano

David Virelles: piano

Roberto Occhipinti: bass

Wilfredo Fuentes Cespedes: congas

Los Jubilados, Santiago de Cuba: solo vocals (2)

La Conga de lo Hoyos de Santiago de Cuba (4, 8): conga parts (38 percussionists)

The Santiago Jazz Saxophone Quartet (1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9):

Juan Chacon Gonzalez: soprano sax; Julio Cesar Gonzalez: alto Sax; Rey Amaury Burgos Delis: tenor sax; Oscar Galan Ruiz: baritone sax

Special Guest: Eduardo “Tiburon” Morales: vocals (11)

Recorded at Egrem Studios, Santiago De Cuba

Producer: Detlef Engelhard

Recorded by Johannes Wohlleben

Mastered by Johannes Wohlleben

Mixed by Detlef Engelhard, Johannes Wohlleben, Larry Cramer


When I began listening to this recording I began to immediately think of some of the things I enjoy most in music – creativity, execution, counterpoint, interplay, feeling and spirited improvisation – and this disc has all of those in abundance as saxophonist Jane Bunnett leads a group of fine musicians through some extremely fresh and extremely rewarding Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz. “Funky Mambo” opens the disc with thirty-two seconds of three saxophones in wonderful counterpoint and as it fades out and into the rousing vocals of “Son Santiaguero” you get the feeling you’re walking down a street in Cuba or Porta Vallarta and hearing bits and pieces of different street bands. The interplay and counterpoint hinted at in “Funky Mambo” is brought to fruition in the opening section of “Almendra”. The expert arranging of the unaccompanied horns here is an aurul delight, and when the rhythm section finally joins it only adds to the experience of a fully conceived and well thought out idea. “Jane And Los Hoyos” is a trip deep into the heart of delight – the rhythm section simply sets this joint on fire! I can’t remember the last time I was so happy to hear “Donna Lee”, given new life here by the unrelenting mambo groove, the hip harmony on the head, and the fine solos…and you’ve never heard a Charlie Parker tune end quite the way this one does here – trust me. The romantic then fiery title track closes this fine date. Grace, style and passion are just a few superlatives I can use to try to describe this excellent music.

Jim Josselyn (All About Jazz)