The Invasion Parade
The excellent Cuban-born pianist Alfredo Rodriguez follows up his debut, Sounds of Space, with 2014’s The Invasion Parade. (Rodriguez and Quincy Jones coproduced both releases.) The core rhythm section is bassist Peter Slavov and drummer Henry Cole. Percussionist/vocalist Pedrito Martinez, bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding, and others also appear on various tracks. The opening title cut layers insistent, rhythmic lines to striking effect. Roman Filiu’s soprano sax work shines, and Martinez’s rippling percussion further energizes the track. You might not immediately recognize the Jose Fernandez Diaz classic “Guantanamera”; this version incorporates dissonance, motoric piano that recalls Eastern European classical music, and a sense of pastiche. “El Guije” has a light, Brazilian-flavored vibe that features Spalding’s wordless vocals and Javier Porta’s flute, and it's nicely colored by Martinez’s deft work. “Timberobot” is the sound of a 21st-century Cuban artist busting out. The album closes on an exciting note with “Cubismo,” where chanted vocals ride a churning band that includes baritone saxophonist Billy Carrion.