After glancing at the cover and label tag, you'd think you'd know what to
expect: Latin, jazz, ...or something in between. Right. But wrong.
Although the members of the Lewis Trío originate from Cuba and have enjoyed a certain degree of popularity there for quite
awhile, the trio's music goes above and beyond the standard categorical
mixture of Latin and jazz.
Hard to believe at first. The first two tracks from Battangó offer more or less
flawless jazz, making you feel at ease with your classification. Although, just a
minute, something's a little different here. . . correct. The Lewis Trío
emphasizes the violin as a melody instrument - and that's relatively rare as
compared to jazz and Latin music.
OK, you're thinking; no problem, jazz with a violin (and have another look at the
booklet: yep, bandleader Ricardo Lewis is the violinist). And then the guys
finally start unleashing their vast musical background. This is where it gets
tough to categorize (if you're seriously trying to do so): Whether the Lewis Trío
cheerfully plays for a coffee house jig, concocts tricky rhythm patterns a la
salsa, races through the place with breakneck phrases, or invokes reflective
moments - the enormous versatility and craftsmanship of the musicians
involved [by the way, the core members of the trio are energetically supported
by first-class drummer Georvis Pico and equally mentionable percussionist
Yuri Nogueras] will amaze you again and again.
Even with all this musical brilliance, these gentlemen sometimes give the
impression that they enjoy a good laugh at themselves (and at music in
general) - which makes the whole thing even more enjoyable.
Battangó creates a richly colorful and detailed picture, sparkling full of the
pure joy of playing; the overall impression couldn't be described better than