I will be updating my pick of the year so far soon to add Carib. It is one of those albums where everything just gels.
To be frank I had forgotten about Sánchez in recent years. I used to like his gutsy, powerful, natural sound a lot in the 1990s and interviewed him once for a long forgotten magazine called Jazz on CD.
Somehow however contemporaries like Danilo Pérez have become much higher profile. The Puerto Rican taps his homeland and Haiti for inspiration that connects with his 1990s self on albums like The Departure. Sánchez also manages to make the connection between the Caribbean and the US a seamless one, Dizzy Gillespie knew how to do that years ago and that style still makes sense.
The album has its poignancy. Sánchez says: “This album is in memory of my father Dimas and especially my late wife Karla. After a great deal of research and listening to Haitian music, Karla encouraged and helped me take a trip to Haiti. It was an incredible and intense experience, seeing everyday people’s struggles. She felt like it was important that I had this direct contact with Haitian culture. I feel like this recording wouldn’t have been possible without her wisdom, sensibility and love. Even if she wasn’t physically around when I was in the studio, she was constantly present in many different forms and definitely a key component of this album’s vibe.”
Check Carib out above: drummer Obed Calvaire, guitarist Lage Lund, bassist Ricky Rodriguez, and pianist Luis Perdomo who plays the Fender Rhodes on just under half the 11 tracks join the saxist. It is simply a thrill. SG