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REVIEWS

The Classy rhythms of Flamenco Jazz Latino ala Mark Towns
By: Erik Chico Manqueros

View original review here.

My first impression of this recording was that this was not just another attempt to fuse a few styles of play together and call it Latin Jazz. Mark Towns from Houston, Texas has created a pure and original collection of music in this new effort. This is clean and crisp music.

I first heard of Mark Towns when I picked up a CD a few years ago by a Houston based Latin Jazz/Salsa group known as the Norma Zenteno Band. I was intrigued with the sound that the group had created. It was a sound developed by Mark Towns, which used the guitar as the lead rhythm instrument in lieu of the Piano. Well, needless to say, I liked it and it certainly reminded me of the sound that Willie Bobo had in the early sixties with Sonny Henry on guitar. Mark is a talent whose time has come and with this new recording he will demonstrate to you the reason why.

On this exciting recording Flamenco Jazz Latino you will hear pure, emotion driven music. After all, isn't what music is all about? I mean, music is heard and played to express emotions. Happiness, comfort, love and relaxation are a few examples. On this disc Mark has done a wonderful job of covering a wide array of emotions with the tunes he wrote. You will hear spicy merengue influenced numbers, sultry boleros & guarijas, moving mambos and all with the right touch of originality that comes from the heart and soul of Mark's guitar.

Special guests on the disc include the legendary Hubert Laws and Kirk Whalum. Mark also employed the talents of percussionist Douglas Guevara and Jorge Orta, who formerly worked with the popular latin music group Grupo Niche. Along with Cuban Pianist Rainel Pino and bassist Anibal Ambert they work to create some beautifully textured music.

Listen to the interplay and arrangements that creates a treat for the listener in tunes like "Medley: The Way / La Via", "Sabrosa", and the tasty "Chucho". All the tunes here will either make you get up and move or sit back and enjoy. I really like the boleros here "Like in the wind", "Wondering", "Wind of the Mountain" which features the flute stylings of Hubert Laws. Listen to the technique Mark possesses on guitar and how these tunes shine with his style of play.

I look forward to hearing more from Mark and watching him grow as one of the new guys on the Latin Jazz scene. With his creativity and unique sound there is more than enough room for him in the Latin Jazz world.

This recording gets 2 congas up!!

For more information on Mark and Flamenco Jazz Latino visit his Web site at http://www.marktowns.com



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