Carlos Vega: Bird’s Up

Muscular-toned tenor saxist and composer Carlos Vega puts together a beefy post-bop quintet with Victor Garcia/tp-f, Stu Mindeman/p-key, Josh Ramos/b and Xavier Breaker/dr. He rotates between hip soul sounds with his Rhodes on pieces like the funky “On A Mission” and hip “Los Osos Grandiosos,” and tongue in grove boppers like the title track and intricate “Curve Ball.” Vega’s tone his Rollins-strong, while Garcia is bel canto and with an “outside voice” throughout, but also able to float with Vega’s soprano and Cheryl Wilson’s voice, Scott Hesse’s guitar, Steve Strand’s flugelhorn and  Michael B. Nelson/s trombone on the smooth and dreamy “Untitled Waltz For The Wednesday.” The rhythm team shows it can create dark shadows on the modal “Morphology of Freedom” while everyone swings easy during “Swayed Elements.” A joy for Blue Note vintage fans with a passion for Latin tinges.

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