Ray Vega Latin Jazz Sextet
Trumpeter/composer Ray Vega has made a name for himself over the years, playing with damned near every Latin jazz legend of the past 20 years: Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto, Pete Escovedo, and Tito Nieves; as well as some straight-ahead heavy hitters like Joe Henderson and Nicholas Payton. So, it’s no surprise that Pa’lante, Vega’s third album as a leader (and first on Palmetto) is a mighty fine piece of work. A fine musician attracts like, and there’s no shabby playing on the disc. His relationship with alto saxophonist Bobby Porcelli is also worth noting. There are even some enjoyable tunes here (especially Vega’s “Miles Away”).
“Pa’lante,” however, means “moving forward,” and there’s very little that could be considered progressive here. If you like Latin jazz, you’ll like the disc. But, by no means, confuse Vega with Puente or The Palmieris, Colon, Bobo, or even Vega’s labelmates, Rumba Club. It’s pretty pat stuff that can be enjoyed without disturbing the digestion. Take it as such. Vega’s basically treading water.
Palmetto Records: http://www.palmetto-records.com