Tribu, an Afro-Caribbean jazz sextet, brings to the forefront the music of island-based cultures. The band’s music transports audiences to the cool and breezy nights of the archipelagoes scattered across the Atlantic Ocean along the equator. Flavors of Cuba, the Bahamas, and the West Indies come to mind as listeners absorb the relaxing ambience. The sextet’s latest release, El Matador (out on Mandala Records), celebrates this languid lifestyle that is the envy of so many other countries around the world.
The music is inviting, providing a tranquilizing atmosphere for audiences in tracks like “Y Ya Ye Vas” and the title track. The florid of sounds inscribed by Ruben Salcido’s horns are both light and solid. The flowery textures are supported by a vibrant island beat played by percussionist Dave Casini, drummer Mario Salomon, and conga player Jesus Gonzalez. The calypso sway of “Sleep on It” is deftly hole-punched by bassist Marcus Lopez and keyboardist/bandleader Steve McQuarry, making for a pacifying mood.
The Latin accents dotting the rhythmic beats of “Joya” are cradled in the floating flutters of Salcido’s flute. The recording moves into a dance pop perforation along “I’m on My Way.” The track is augmented by a light bopping horn and fluffy percussive beats similar to the soothing sojourns of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music.
Salcido’s swiveling horn is surrounded in exotic chimes through “Afroniki” and then cruises into the cha-cha promenade of “El Tonto.” The funky grooves driving “Me Quedo Con Ti” are fringed in an undulating horn that changes course in “W.W.,” poaching a samba tempo.
A prodigious student and performer of jazz, McQuarry realizes a thoroughly thought-out vision on this recording. He translates the music of island cultures for jazz aficionados. Based on the West Coast of the U.S., Tribu showcases an Afro-Cuban-Caribbean fare with world music scope.
Steve McQuarry – keyboards, Dave Casini – vibraphone/percussion, Ruben Salcido – saxophone/flute, Marcus Lopez – bass/vocals, Mario Salomon – drums/timbales, Jesus Gonzalez – congas