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Bebop - Released June 26, 2020 | Savant

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Bebop - Released April 21, 2017 | Savant

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Bebop - Released May 23, 2006 | Savant

Ray Mantilla may be best known as a Latin jazz percussionist, but that oversimplifies his credentials. He is equally at home interpreting gems from the fields of bop and swing and recasting them into his element, while retaining the chemistry of the originals. He's joined by baritone saxophonist Enrigue Fernández (a powerful player who is sort of a Latin version of the late Pepper Adams), pianist Edy Martinez, vibraphonist Mike Freeman, bassist Cucho Martínez, and drummer Bill Elder, with guest percussionist Steve Berrios added on some tracks. The first two songs come from the vast repertoire of the late vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, who would have likely approved of Mantilla's reworkings of "Flying Home" and "The Midnight Sun." From bop the leader draws his sights on Terry Gibbs' "For Keeps" and a pair of Milt Jackson compositions, the gospel-flavored "Blues for Queen D" and a percolating interpretation of "Namesake" that showcases Freeman and the percussionists to good effect, scoring a bull's-eye with each performance. Mantilla is also a gifted composer, offering the easygoing, upbeat "Camino al Cielo Too," with Fernández switching to flute, along with the explosive finale, "Bari con Bata." All around, this is a very rewarding session. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Bebop - Released August 27, 2013 | Savant

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Jazz - Released November 15, 2016 | Ermitage Records

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Bebop - Released August 17, 2004 | Savant

Ray Mantilla's Space Station is his regular group and works mostly in Europe. Although tied to the bebop tradition, Mantilla's soloists are actually much more modern, closer to post-bop than to hard bop. Because the septet works together often, they have developed their own fresh material which consists mostly of originals by Mantilla and pianist Eddy Martinez. The only standard on the date is a ballad version of "The Man I Love." The horn solos are a natural part of the arrangements and vice versa with plenty of fine spots for baritonist Enrique Fernandez, Willie Williams on tenor and soprano, and trumpeter Guido Gonzalez. In addition there are some percussion solos for the leader along the way. And while the music is modern and often complex, the rhythms generated by Mantilla and drummer Bill Elder keep the proceedings fairly accessible and danceable. Mantilla's New Space Station is a band worth exploring. © Scott Yanow /TiVo