18 FEB 10 JOHN C. BRUENING
New York-born Afro-Cuban jazz percussionist Steve Berrios cut his Milestone release And Then Some! in 1996. Although each of the 11 tracks feature only a small crew of musicians and the occasional vocalist -- collectively dubbed Son Bacheche -- Berrios and company generate a full sound that maximizes the best elements of Latin and jazz in the hybrid that has come to be known as Latin jazz.
Whether prevailing tastes run to the intimate vibe or the big sound, And Then Some! offers something for everyone. The opener, "Son Bacheche," is a triumphant, brassy piece that rides a rhythmic groove punctuated by layers of trombone and coro, courtesy of Wayne Wallace and Elisabeth Monder, respectively.
Other tracks range from the sparse rendition of Monk's "Bemsha Swing," featuring nothing more than Berrios and soprano saxophonist Joe Ford, to the layered and lively "Homenaje A Un Trovador." The set closes with the intriguing and atmospheric "Uncle Toms," a brief piece that features Berrios completely unaccompanied and yet fully equipped to take command for the duration of the track.
Aside from some session work on a couple Larry Willis Trio releases in 2001, Berrios' recorded work is limited. And Then Some! is the second of only two dates that feature him as a leader. This scarcity is unfortunate as this recording captures the work of a percussionist in full command of the rhythms and grooves that connect the intellectual and exploratory nature of jazz with the fire and passion of Latin swing.
Thelonious Monk, from Brilliant Corners ...