Mike Freeman’s ZonaVibe: Blue Tjade

Mike Freeman brings his vibes and marimba to deliver a fitting tribute to Cal Tjader, who pioneered vibes for the genre of Latin Jazz back in the 50s and 60s. Freeman brings together Jim Gailloreto/ts-fl, Ruben Rodriguez/b and a pair of percussionists in Chemo Corniel and Willie Martinez for a rollicking ricochet of rhythm.

The mix of vibes and tenor sax works well on the sleek “Cascade” and wonderful bluesy pieces like “Cool My Curry Down” and the sauntering title track. There are percolating undercurrents and ripples on “Making Conversation“ while some soul jazz hits just right on the cruising “Low Rider” and “Clockworks.” There’s a gentle breeze with Gailloreto’s flute on the lithe “Snow Flake” and a dash of Africa is added as Freeman brings in a chiming kalimba on “ Agua y Piedra.” Freeman’s got a rich tone to his sound and makes some rich vibrato on the earthy “Pendulum.” Accessible and infectious.


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