Chris Cortez, Live at Blue Bamboo is reviewed at Jazz Blues Magazine

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Chris Cortez

JAZZ BLUES MAGAZINE

by Ron Weinstock

Chris Cortez Live at Blue

Chris Cortez is a man of many hats ranging from
playing guitar, composing, singing, leading a band,
arranging, producing, and community leader. The Blue
Bamboo is a performing arts center in his hometown
of Winter Park, Florida. Blue Bamboo Music is a re-
cord label he was operating prior to establishing the
arts center.


As the arts center became sustainable, he revived
the record label and his own musical career. The
present album is from several concerts that Cortez
arranged. These concert events featured drummers
Joel Rosenblatt and Jeff Sipe, bassists Ron Jenkins
and Doug Mathews, saxophonist Jeff Rupert, trum-
peter John DePaola, flutist Dan Jordan, and pianist
Bob Thornton.


This engaging recording starts with “The Visit,”
which is a tribute to Pat Martino. On this selection,
Cortez and Thornton are joined by Sipe and Matthews,
with the leader, Thornton, and Sipe soloing. There is
a genial lyricism in Cortez’s scintillating playing set
against the easy swing of the rhythm. Then the upbeat
adaptation of Earth Wind & Fire’s “That’s The Way Of
The World” charms with the appealing melodic playing,
including Jordan’s flute. Then there is the bright, Carib-
bean flavor of “Arlington Park” with tenor saxophonist
Rupert soloing with a dry, driving attack, followed by
DePaola’s melodious trumpet and Rosenblatt’s crisp
drum solo.


“Awakenings,” with delightful playing by Jordan
and Cortez, captures the feel of a sunrise with Cor-
tez even quoting “Here Comes the Sun.” “Different
Strokes” is a swinging bop-flavored tune with DePaola’s
acerbic muted trumpet at the forefront. “Melody Makes
It happen,” dedicated to Cortez’s wife, is a gorgeous
ballad with some of Rupert’s most exquisite sax and
precious guitar from the leader. A solo acoustic rendi-
tion of Joe Zawinul’s “A Remark You Made” is dedicated
to those we lost due to Covid-19. Cortez’s elegant
playing is quite moving.


The other selections here have their own charm.
Both rhythm sections swing and complement the
front line on a well-played and thoroughly engaging
album.

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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