Pianist Michel Camilo's sophomore release for Epic records is the aptly titled ON FIRE. This brisk set of mostly Camilo originals sheds a good deal of light on the unique musical spirit of this dynamic artist. Showcasing his bristling enthusiasm, relentless chops and highly-developed musical intuition, Camilo masterfully commands a host of contemporary heavyweights including Dave Weckl and Marvin "Smitty" Smith (drums), Marc Johnson and Michael Bowie (bass) and percussion master Sammy Figueroa.
The Caribbean funk of "Island Stomp" opens the set with a smile that shines through Camilo's rhythmic keyboard work. Likewise, the intricate Latin rhythms and modern swing of "Uptown Manhattan" attest to the pianist's connection to the New York music scene. As with most Camilo discs an installment of the continuing "Suite Sandrine" is included in the form of the delicate "Friends (Interlude II)." The most unique track, however, comes with "Hands & Feet," a delightful duet between Camilo's nimble hands and the furious feet of flamenco dancer Raul. Finally, a swinging reading of the standard "Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise" is a mellow change of pace before the monstrous, true-to-its-name title track which closes out the set.