Sonando Tres Platter Chatter Aug/Sep/ 2006

To know what to expect from Sonando’s Tres, you need to take the 1-2-3-4 punch combination! That is, just let the band swing at you with their first four tracks and you will understand completely what producer/arranger/composer/pianist Fred Hoadley (busy musician!) and his talented band want you to experience throughout this compelling collection of Latin Jazz.

Track one (“Canción del Rio part 1”) is so warm and engaging you’ll feel like you’re on a sailing adventure in the tropics. Fred Hoadley sets this tone with his flowing undercurrent on the piano while the horn section (trumpet, saxes, trombone) plays an enticing melody propelling you forward with their relaxing winds.Then trombonist Chris Stover and pianist Hoadley take turns expressing their contentment with flowing on the river, in the warm wind, under the tropical sun. All kept moving by the ubiquitous Latin rhythms provided by the nimble Sonando percussionists.

But on track two (“Canción del Rio part 2”), just so you won’t be lulled into thinking this is simply another breezy collection of surf and sand music, composer Hoadley suddenly hits your sleepy shoreline with a huge wave of hard bop energy breaking on the edge of free jazz. All the horn players express themselves forcefully on top of a driving Latin beat, pushing and overlapping their musical statements for an extended period until what sounds like a furious squall over the water suddenly drops into the peace and quiet of a few lingering piano notes. Sonando surely flows, but they can definitely storm, too.

Track three (Donde Estabas Anoche”), takes us into a more sensuously traditional Latin band sound featuring the distinctive timbre of the tres, a Cuban stringed instrument similar to the mandolin but with a much richer resonance of steel being plucked and vibrated. It’s a stimulation sound that clearly proclaims this band’s Latin roots, especially in Cuban musical forms and instrumentation. Highly danceable, beautifully rigorous – you feel refreshed by the time their musical energy slowly fades away.

Finally, track four (“Bombella”), comes on strong with a hard bop jazz punch. Sonando can swing with authority! Impassioned soloing starts with Hoadley on the piano followed by Jim Coile on tenor saxophone. Then Richard Cole uses his supple soprano sax to thrust his musical energy forward to the climax in a fine flourish of high notes. All on an agile foundation of rhythmic and melodic lines from the horn and percussion sections. A driving arrangement of this fine jazz composition by Abdullah Ibrahim.

Sonando flows, rages, dances and swings. Four eloquent punches indicative of what you can expect in various combinations and blends during the rest of Tres. An impressive achievement by Fred Hoadley and his stellar band members that should not be missed.

Carter Pock