A fully fired up latin-jazz big band these days is a pretty rare beast.
Essence is something of a special occasion for the great pianist Michel Camilo because this is his 25th album and he has pulled out all of the stops. It is fairly rare to hear Camilo with his own big band and he takes the opportunity to dust down some of his earlier work and give it a big band setting.
Arranged by Michael Philip Mossman the big band is full of A list players including saxophonists Antonio Hart and trumpeter Diego Urcola. Trombonist Steve Davis is there too and Cliff Almond is the powerful drummer on hand. You know you are in safe hands from the very first track, ‘And Sammy Walked In’.
While the album is never old fashioned it does speak of jazz history as much as the present and underlines once again why Camilo is one of the greats. Above all it is full of spirit and has a rhythmic urgency that draws the listener in. And yes it swings like the clappers SG