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Jane Bunnett & Maqueque: Oddara

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    Canadian soprano saxophonist-flutist Jane Bunnett continues her 30-year love affair with the music and culture of Cuba by joining forces with the all-female Cuban group Maqueque. Their 2014 self-titled collaboration won a Juno Award for Best Group Jazz Album. This follow-up takes things up a couple of notches. The glorious power of the group’s multi-voice choir comes into play on “Dream,” “La Flamenca Maria,” and the exhilarating folkloric number “Tres Golpes—Pa Eleggua.” Bunnett’s warm, mellifluous tones and improvisational abandon on soprano sax carve out a resounding presence on “25 New Moves” and “Changui del Guaso.” Violinist Elizabeth Rodriquez makes a nice frontline partner, doubling Bunnett’s soaring soprano lines on “Eulogy,” “Cafe Pilon,” and “Little Feet,” the latter piece featuring an explosive barrage on the kit by drummer Yissy Garcia. Coming out of the tradition of great Cuban pianists like Chucho Valdes and Hilario Duran, pianist Danae Olano distinguishes herself on “El Chivo.” There’s joy and humor and infectious grooves in this uplifting music, along with first-rate musicality and formidable soloing on soprano sax and flute by the leader. 

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