Bambula

“Bozales”

(Truth Revolution)

With Bámbula (Truth Revolution), his debut album as a leader, Alex “Apolo” Ayala crafted a deeply personal statement of identity that harks back to forebears both ancient and immediate. The bassist and composer incorporates the rhythms and textures of bomba, a musical form that came to the shores of his native Puerto Rico centuries ago with enslaved Africans, and also pays heartfelt tribute to his late mother and grandmother. Ayala, a busy player on the New York City jazz and Latin music scenes, recruited simpatico sidemen to help him realize his musical vision of combining Afro-Puerto Rican roots with straightahead jazz sizzle: saxophonist Ivan Renta, drummer Fernando García and bomba drum specialist Nelson Mateo Gonzalez. The results are thrilling, as evidenced on the track “Bozales,” included here. Ayala and Renta kick off the tune with unison lines, as García thunders away on his kit. The bassist’s swift and melodious solos punctuate the piece in meaningful interludes, and his interaction with Gonzalez’s fiery percussion toward song’s end is simply mesmerizing.

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