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STEPPIN' WITH T.P.- DEDICATED TO TITO PUENTE
Steppin' with T.P.-Dedicated to Tito Puente"
Dir.: M. Matute
Hilton Ruiz, Piano & Leader
Jay Hoggard, Vibraphone
Antonio Hart, Saxophone
Leon Lee Dorsey, Bass
"Chembo" Wilson Corniel, Congas
Willie Martinez, Drums & Percussion
Executive Producer/Producer: Marco Matute for M27
Photography & Art Direction: Giles Ashford for www.ashford7.com
Wardrobe & Styling: Christine Struble
© M27, LLC
Hilton Ruiz: Steppin' with T.P
Latin Beat Magazine, Nov, 2005 by Jesse Varela
HILTON RUIZ Steppin' with T.P. (M27)
Steppin' with T.P. is the title of pianist Hilton Ruiz's latest release. Dedicated to the great Tito Puente, the group's structure is patterned after Tito's Golden Men of Latín Jazz. Topping the seasoned cast is flutist Dave Valentín, vibist Jay Hoggard, cuatro master Yomo Toro, sax wiz Antonio Hart, conguero Chembo Corniel, drummer/timbalero Willie Martínez, and bass anchors Leon Dorsey and Geoff Brennen.
Much like Puente's master recording titled In Session, this is a well orchestrated jam session. The serene Cruzin' with Royal T opens with a light bossa nova feel, followed by Sanctified Feeling, a glorious gospel-inspired piece. Right away, Hart's saxophone grabs you with its strong resonating voice. Ruiz's compositions make up the majority of the ten tunes presented. There's a nice cross-section of jazz standards and various originals written for Tito by Ruiz, like Steppin' with T.P., East Coast Mambo and Mambo Para Puente. Groove on Chembo's outstanding conga solo on New Arrival II.
In Latín jazz, how one balances Latino or Afro-Caribbean rhythms with jazz is what gives a particular artist his or her signature. At a time when there are numerous practitioners, but few innovators, we are lucky to have Hilton Ruiz. As a pianist, he is masterful, with exceptional techniques and solo ideas (and always in the pocket). This tribute to his former boss is Ruiz's latest contribution to Latin jazz as a guidepost to excellence.
Jesse Varela "Hilton Ruiz: Steppin' with T.P". Latin Beat Magazine.