- Released: September 20, 2000
- Label: Milestone
Down Beat - 11/00, p.735 stars out of 5
- "...The third, and best, installment in a much deserved late career rediscovery. There is clarity, a sense of strength and a coherence in this album that is rare even for a master. It plays like a wise and joyous summation of a career..."
JazzTimes - 5/01, pp.173-4
"...Brilliant reevaluations of his mos def show-stoppers and head-trippers...of yesterday-today-tomorrow....CARAMBOLA is gonna stand."
- 2.The Aztec Suite
- 4.Havana Blues
- 5.Vanna's Song
- 6.Crazy City (... But I Love It)
- 7.Waller Excercise
- 8.Rhapsody for Two Islands
- 9.Oye Mi Rumba
- 10.Enamorado (Falling in Love)
- 11.Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite
Personnel includes: Chico & Arturo O'Farrill, Michael Mossman Jim Seeley, Mario Rivera, Graciela, John Benitez, Victor Jones.
Producers: Jorge Ulla, Todd Barkan, Arturo O'Farrill.
Recorded at Clinton Recording Studios, New York, New York in July 2000. Includes liner notes by Luc Delannoy.
CARAMBOLA was nominated for the 2001 Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album.
Personnel: Graciela Per‚z Grillo (vocals); Lewis Kahn (violin); Mario Rivera (flute, alto saxophone); Jimmy Cozier, Peter Brainin, Marshall McDonald (saxophone); Mike Migliore (tenor saxophone); Matt Hilgenberg, Jon Owens, Kenny Rampton, Michael Mossman, Jim Seeley (trumpet); Vincent Chancey, Chris Komer (French horn); Gary Valente, Papo Vazquez, Sam Burtis, Jack Jeffers (trombone); Arturo O'Farrill (piano); Steve Berrios (drums, congas, bata, claves, maracas, shekere, timbales, percussion); Victor Jones (drums); Joe Gonzalez (bongos, bells).
Audio Mixers: Jon Fausty; Arturo O'Farrill.
Photographer: Cesar Vera.
Arranger: Chico O'Farrill.
The astounding comeback of Chico O'Farrill at age 79 continued with this terrific collection of mostly Afro-Cuban styled compositions -- some brand-new, some more than half a century old. Originally written for Dizzy Gillespie, the swinging title tune takes on a more complex Afro-Cuban treatment this time, with Michael Mossman capably taking on the trumpet work. "The Aztec Suite," written for Art Farmer, comes together smoothly and cohesively, with even more spectacular work by Mossman -- and "Crazy City (...But I Love It)" is "Gone City" (recorded by Machito in 1949) in a more refined, shipshape, somewhat less frantic performance. The oldest piece, "Oye Mi Rumba" (1945), lures singer Graciela out of retirement for some endearingly authentic atmosphere. Don't overlook newer material like O'Farrill's treatment of "Delirio" -- a beautiful bolero, very sophisticated in harmony -- and "Rhapsody for Two Islands," a flamboyant little piece designed to evoke Cuba and Manhattan with a sudden, broadly-paced solo piano break that explicitly quotes "Rhapsody in Blue." Yet the highlight of the CD is undoubtedly the amazingly successful re-recording of O'Farrill's visionary "Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite," 50 years after the original Machito version was cut. His crisply executing 21st Century orchestra makes the material seem even more emotionally moving than before, although you do miss the impossibly fluid alto of Charlie Parker (guest soloist Mario Rivera makes an honorable stab at Bird's part) and irreplaceably wild Buddy Rich drums from the Machito record. This is a must-hear for Latin jazz lovers. ~ Richard S. Ginell