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cd cover - killer tumbao credits

Hilario Durán - piano
Carlos Averhoff - tenor saxophone
Jane Bunnett - flute and soprano saxophone
Amado Dedeu - voice
Ernesto Gatell - voice
Maximino Guerra - voice
Tata Güines - congas
El Indio - trumpet
Roberto Occhipinti - acoustic bass
Dafnis Prieto - drums
José Luis 'Changuito' Quintana - timbales
Jorge Reyes - acoustic bass and electric bass
Reinaldo 'Pichy' Valera - congas and güiro
Germán Velazco - alto saxophone


1. Homage To Chano Pozo - 8:52
2. Alfredo's Mood - 6:12
3. Longina - 4:31
4. Song For Yemaya - 10:28
5. Brasiliangada - 4:26
6. Three For One - 6:37
7. Los Tres Golpes - 4:23
8. Killer Tumbao - 2:36
9. Timba Mabó (Descarga) - 10:26

liner notes

If we were to look at a history of modern jazz in Cuba, we would notice that the pianists have always been at the forefront, spearheading any major innovation. In the fifties, it was Frank Emilio shaking things up with Cachao and company, while the great master Peruchin was pushing the boundaries of the music, in terms of harmony and rhythm. As with most of these innovators, virtuosity just seems to have come with the territory! Chucho Valdes, Emiliano Salvador and Gonzalo Rubalcaba continued this great Cuban Jazz piano tradition into the seventies, eighties and nineties. Hilario Durán is not only a pianist who has earned his place along side these great masters - he is a musician whose time has come!

With "Killer Tumbao", "Con Tumbao” (the nickname given to Hilario for his constant and very creative use of the Tumbao, or repetitive bass figures in his playing) has created the definitive Afro-Cuban-Latin-Jazz recording of the late nineties. Durán is a master at taking the whole history of Cuban music (folkloric and popular, turning it upside down and coming up with something totally new and fresh while still respecting the original form. A case in point is the stunning arrangement and group performance on "Song for Yemaya". Hilario has a strong connection to the Santeria religion in Cuba and this is his tribute to Yemaya, goddess of the sea. This features the solo voice of Ernesto "El Gato" Gatell, the wonderful folkloric singer known for his current work with the group Clove and Guaguanco and the legendary Tata Guines. After the heartfelt vocal statement, the focus is turned towards the "killer" horns. The soloists, "El Indio" on trumpet, Carlos Averhoft on tenor saxophone and German Velazco take off individually, then together, building to a climax reminiscent of the spiritually charged work of Charles Mingus. We have "Tijuana Moods" but could you imagine Mingus in Havana!?

The opening piece on this recording "Homage to Chano Pozo" is fired up by the percussion legends Changuito on timbales and Tata Guines on congas, along with the brilliant 22-year-old drummer, Dafnis Prieto. This tribute is also a showcase for Hilario's gifts as an arranger of the highest order.

Longtime collaborator Jane Bunnett is featured on "Alfredo's Mood", a composition dedicated to the Havana-born, Paris-based pianist (and all around great guy), Alfredo Rodriguez. He is very close friends with Hilario and Jane, and has recently started to get some of the recognition he deserves, playing on the successful "Cubanismo" recording as well as his own "Cuba Linda", both recorded in Cuba for the Hannibal label. This is a funky tune with a lot of twists and turns gust like Alfredo). After a powerful piano with voice solo by Hilario, Jane Bunnett takes a solo of great warmth and intensity; showing why she is regarded as one of the most original voices on the soprano saxophone today.
This recording contains many surprises. At the top of the list is the incredible "Three For One", which shows Hilario at his most advanced and inspired, with the backing of only Changuito on timbales and Tata on congas. The rare pairing of these two giants is fascinating in itself; but to hear them pitted against the ultra-modern piano of Hilario Durán is something truly special.

The last piece on the recording, "Timba Mabó" is a descarga written by Hilario and Changuito at the session. This features an absolutely riveting solo by the pianist and an angular punchy flute solo by Bunnett. Of special interest on this number is the use of both featured bass players, Jorge Reyes and Roberto Occhipinti. Jorge is one of the finest bassists in Cuba today. His relationship with Hilario goes way back to the early eighties, in the band of Arturo Sandoval, and later in the band Perspectiva. Jorge is now the bass player with the various groups of Chucho Valdes. Roberto is a first-call bassist for any genre of music but has recently decided to focus his energies on his real passion, jazz and Cuban music. He is a superb technician and has a big beautiful sound. Roberto and Hilario have become close compadres over the last year or so; on and off the bandstand. You can hear both bassists oft the top, on the melody and trading off later in the tune. SABROSO!!!

Hilario Durán is an artist in his prime as well as a musician who has paid his dues. He is a graduate of a highly regarded music institute, Amadeo Roldán in Havana. This is a legendary school that boasts such graduates as Chucho, Paquito and Gonzalo among many, many others. It's still turning out major talent. As a matter of fact, Hilario's daughter Yailen Durán is graduating from this very institution this week (as these notes are being written). Hilario also spent most of the eighties as pianist, musical director and arranger with Arturo Sandoval's Cuban group. This decade, he has been leading the innovative group Perspectiva and working, (with Jane Bunnett) to forge jazz with Afro-Cuban folkloric music.

After you have spent some time discovering the musical pleasures and surprises captured on this disc, check out "Francisco's Song", also on the Justin Time label. Where his first recording showed him to be a virtuoso pianist with great taste as well as a brilliant composer; "Killer Tumbao" with the Cuban Jazz All Stars shows that Hilario Durán is also a great leader and visionary in Afro-Cuban Jazz. He's someone to watch. Stay tuned.

Larry Cramer

francisco's song | killer tumbao | habana nocturna | havana remembered
new danzon | encuentro en la habana | from the heart | motion | cuban rhapsody

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