Jane Bunnett Radio Guantanamo: Guantanamo Blues Project Vol. 1

Jane Bunnett was one of the most notable jazz musicians to come out of Canada during the ’80s. Her exploration of new intersections between jazz and Cuban music have set her apart from both Toronto’s mainstream jazz scenes and the fringes of improv. Meanwhile, the liner notes to Radio Guantanamo features comments from Latin jazz star Hilario Duran regarding her projects that have made great waves in Havana, perhaps even more so than in Canada. Radio Guantanamo is her latest and most successful project, and contains collaborations with two Changui groups from the Eastern Guantanamo region of Cuba. The rhythmic template is dominated by the marimbula thumb piano, and, as befits that part of Cuba, the rhythms are less regular and altogether wilder. Bunnett is still one of the better soprano players around, and digs into traditional tunes like "Kiriba” with great abandon. Elsewhere, she finds great foils in Dewey Redman and guitarist Kevin Breit, who often gets into Ry Cooder/Manual Galban-style vibrato guitar motifs. Both "Kiriba” and "Carnival” are some of the best Canadian grooves of 2005, pushed forward by fiery solos and superior production and mixing by husband Larry Cramer. The biggest missteps on this disc are the vocal tracks led by New Orleans harmonica/guitar player Johnny Sansone; they’re good rave-ups with the Changui groups in a second-line style, but don’t fit the mood of the rest of the album. (Blue Note)