The Latin Side of Wayne Shorter (Half Note Records)

Conrad Herwig and the Latin Side Band

Released May 20, 2008

Grammy Nominee for Best Latin Jazz Album 2009




After successfully “latinizing” the music of jazz legends John Coltrane and Miles Davis, Conrad Herwig turns his attention to saxophonist Wayne Shorter, one of the most important jazz composers of the past half-century. The result is a fiery excursion into the world of AfroCaribbean rhythms. Joining Herwig and his “Latin Side” band are two special guests – pianist pioneer Eddie Palmieri, and trumpeter Brian Lynch. Together they lend a spirit and authority unmatched among salsa aggregates. Featured tunes include “Footprints,” “Masqualero,” and “Adam’s Apple.” This is the latest installment in Conrad Herwig’s winning series, “The Latin Side of…” Recorded live at the Blue Note in New York, it spotlights the iconic greatness of Wayne Shorter and Eddie Palmieri, as well as Herwig’s progressive arrangements.

Track Listing:

1. Ping Pong (Wayne Shorter) 6:56

2. Tom Thumb (Wayne Shorter) 8:52

3. El Gaucho (Wayne Shorter) 8:44

4. Night Dreamer (Wayne Shorter) 8:16

5. This Is for Albert (Wayne Shorter) 8:02

6. Adam’s Apple (Wayne Shorter) 8:18

7. Masqualero (Wayne Shorter) 11:23

8. Footprints (Wayne Shorter) 11:11


The Latin Side Band

Conrad Herwig: trombone

Ronnie Cuber: baritone saxophone

Luis Perdomo: piano

Ruben Rodriguez: bass

Robby Ameen: drums

Pedro Martinez: congas

Special Guests

Brian Lynch: trumpet

Eddie Palmieri: piano (6, 7, 8)

Recorded live March 16-17, 2007, at the Blue Note, New York

Produced by Jeff Levenson

Executive-Producer: Steven Bensusan

Recorded by Steve Remote

Assistant Engineers: Adam Kushner, Jon D’Uva, Robert Carvell

Mastered by Greg Calbi

Mixed by Jon D’Uva and Steve Remote

Photography by Dino Perucci

Art Direction: Molly Gobel


Luis Perdomo is the regular pianist in Conrad Herwig’s septet. He delivers a sterling, elegant solo on “Ping Pong,” the opening cut on The Latin Side of Wayne Shorter, recorded live at the Blue Note in New York. He anchors the first five songs with such skill that at the end of “This Is for Albert,” Herwig singles him out for the audience’s applause. Unfortunately, it’s to say goodbye. When salsa legend Eddie Palmieri takes over on piano, the concert is sent into orbit. Perdomo never stood a chance. 
“Adam’s Apple” may not be Shorter’s greatest composition, but Palmieri makes a convincing case with syncopated montuno vamps that drive drummer Robby Ameen’s funky backbeat and inspire baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber’s sly comments and robust soloing. Palmieri taps into “Masquelero”‘s heart of darkness and Herwig’s tone on trombone is elusive and introverted, before trumpeter Brian Lynch takes a note-bending solo that slides itself into the piano’s rhythms like mortar. Herwig and Lynch’s simpatico playing is the highlight of “Footprints,” each of them winding similarly smooth and uncluttered solos around Pedro Martinez’ congas.  This is the third installment in Herwig’s Latin Side series (following interpretations of Coltrane and Miles) and features silky virtuosic musicianship applied to intricate, intelligent, original compositions. Shorter’s tunes are well-known and highly regarded as being flexible enough to suit a variety of instrumental lineups. Since he’s gathered his own multi-horn groups in the past, the sound of these arrangements doesn’t stray too far from his initial conceptions. But if you know a person who thinks jazz is difficult to get, lacks melody, or you can’t dance to it, this is a CD that will change their mind.

Jeff Stockton (All About Jazz)