by Anne Carlini
Cortez / Williams Project, Hermanos
| Title – Hermanos
Artist – Cortez / Williams Project
For those unaware, the musical partnership and friendship between guitarist Chris Cortez and trumpeter Larry Williams goes back to the 1980s.The two composers worked together to develop and refine their work and had a big impact on the jazz scene in Orlando, Florida.
Their compositions functioned as the backdrop for what was Orlando’s version of a loft scene. The presence of world class players, drawn to the area to work at Disney and get off the road, led to a thriving community of top level players.
Cortez and Williams presided over several groups that drew from that well of available players.
Their paths diverged over the years, but they remained focused on their original music. Cortez formed the Blue Bamboo record label, and eventually resettled back in Orlando to create the Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts.
Williams became an A-list session player in Los Angeles and released a massive body of work on his own label. Collaborations were often discussed but the timing never seemed to be right.
In 2012 Larry shocked the world when he announced he was retiring from the trumpet. Although he seamlessly shifted to guitar, the loss of his singular voice was a major blow to fans all over the world.
Fate stepped in when Larry’s wife Joy passed away and he decided to return to Orlando in the fall of 2020. Shortly after arriving back home Larry had a vivid dream where he was in a club looking down the barrel of a very unusual flugel horn, playing Moonlight In Vermont.
The dream was repeated and one day, while visiting the new music shop of a friend, he walked into the store and found it empty of merchandise, except for a lone flugel horn hanging on the wall.
Not just any horn, but the horn from the dream! Thus began the journey back to the trumpet. Much to the delight of all, and in record time, the fireworks that we remember are fully back on display.
And now the duo come together to bring us their just-released new album entitled Hermanos, which showcases perfectly how they not only compliment each other, but are accentuated by a great cast of musicians; everyone bringing out the best in each other.
1. Hermanos (6:08)
2. Melody Makes It Happen (5:22)
3. Glorious (4:53)
4. Un Pedazo De Tu Sonrisa (6:52)
5. Ask Me No Questions (4:57)
6. Silhouette (5:10)
7. Topaz (5:43)
8. Polka Dot Handkerchief (4:59)
9. DJ (1:20)
10. Territorial Imperative (4:18)
11. Building On A Dream (4:32)
This succulent, atmospherically-imbibed album opens on the lush orchestrations of the title track Hermanos and the lazy-hazy ambiance of Melody Makes It Happen and follows those up seamlessly with the ornate guitar work of Glorious, the summer breeze of Un Pedazo De Tu Sonrisa and then comes the delightfully euphoric Ask Me No Questions.
Next up come some dulcet ebbs and flows from a time gone by on the crystalline Silhouette and the rhythmic hip shaker Topaz which are in turn backed by the calmly flourishing Polka Dot Handkerchief, the short, but sweet DJ, the album rounding out on the dancefloor twirl of Territorial Imperative, closing on the resiliently heartfelt Building On A Dream.