Juan García-Herreros, The Art of Contrabass Guitar [Inner Circle Music]

From the very opening notes of Colombia native Juan García-Herreros’s sophomore effort—an improvised solo piece entitled “A Step Towards Vision”— you can tell you’re in for something special.
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From the very opening notes of Colombia native Juan García-Herreros’s sophomore effort—an improvised solo piece entitled “A Step Towards Vision”— you can tell you’re in for something special. The Art of Contrabass Guitar isn’t just an intended hat tip to Anthony Jackson; it’s a true “statement album” that shows how Berklee standout and current New Yorker García-Herreros (who sometimes goes by the moniker “Snow Owl”) has firmly landed as both a dead serious 6-string bassist and modern jazz composer. Angular, complex melodies and rich, hornladen arrangements dart in between deep, authentic Latin grooves for the 21st century on “Mrs. Jones Goes to School,” and the conga-driven funk of “Blues for Krampus” has enough form and rhythmic density to hold the most discriminating listener’s attention (his killer octavedrenched solo is icing on the cake). In the end it’s García-Herreros’s undeniable creative vision—the sum total of his grooving, comping, composing, soloing, and life experience—that make this disc a musthave for anyone who wants to know where Latin jazz is headed when led from the bottom up.

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