Mike Freeman ZonaVibe
Street Date: August 4, 2018
Mike Freeman – Vibraphone, Coro Guido Gonzalez – Trumpet, Coro Ian Stewart – Bass Roberto Quintero – Congas, Guiro, Shakere Joel Mateo – Drums, Campana
UPC Code: 726538201879
Mike Freeman has been hailed as “masterful,”a “superb” vibes player, and “wildly talented.” Following Blue Tjade, his tribute to Cal Tjader, Venetian Blinds is a tip of the hat to Tito Puente and Bobby Hutcherson.
When Tito Puente rolled in his vibes during the early days of the Palladium, people would say, “Here comes Tito with those venetian blinds!”— referring to the strung-together bars of the instrument. Four of the tracks on this recording were written for Tito Puente: “Those Venetian Blinds,” “Mambo Kings,” “Night Crawlers,” and “Qué Tal Tío” (What’s Up Uncle). Another three go out to the late vibraphonist and Jazz Master Bobby Hutcherson: “Clutch the Hutch,” “Bobby Land,” and “House of Vibes.”
Mike Freeman ZonaVibe brings together a mix of original Latinjazz characterized by spirited soulful swing. Venetian Blinds is the latest in a line of clave-infused recordings Mike has produced over the past 18 years.
The all-new lineup for this outing features stalwarts of the New York Latin music scene: trumpeter Guido Gonzalez and conga master Roberto Quintero, along with up-and-coming players Ian Stewart on bass and Joel Mateo on drums.
Mike Freeman’s recordings have appeared on numerous radio charts (jazz, contemporary, World) and syndicated radio programs (WOR radio network, Jazz After Hours, David Sanborn, Music Choice, United Airlines), with international airplay throughout Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, South America, and Australia. His recordings have been both Grammy and Latin Grammy entries and have received outstanding reviews. Mike is also known by fans and audiences for his work and recordings with several acclaimed Latin groups including Ray Mantilla; Lucho Cueto’s all-star salsa group Black Sugar; and Son Boricua with Jose Mangual Jr. and the late Jimmy Sabater (one of the architects of Boogaloo).
High-talent masterful vibraphone jazz Mike Freeman ZonaVibe – Venetian Blinds
Dick Metcalf, editor, Contemporary Fusion Reviews August 10, 2018
High-talent masterful vibraphone jazz Mike Freeman ZonaVibe – VENETIAN BLINDS: “Old soul” Latin jazz fans (like me) can’t help but remember the hip sounds of players like Tito Puente and Bobby Hutcherson… this is vibraphonist Mike’s high-talent tribute to those stalwarts… as you listen to them on his August, 2018 release, you’ll realize why I found his playing so attractive… the 4:47 “Bobby Land” has a lilting groove that will transport any “true” jazz lover straight to Nirvana… just LOVE Mike’s vibe on this tune.
Mike’s work is highly complimented by trumpeter Guido Gonzalez; conga master Roberto Quintero, along with up-and-coming players Ian Stewart on bass and Joel Mateo on drums… all you need to do is scope out the 5:15 opener, “House Of Vibes“, to become a dedicated fan of this great group of players… one thing you’ll notice right away is how “together” they are… no players “stepping” on each other & every note is full of the kind of jazz energy most groups can only aspire towards; this is one of my favorite vibe-based tunes (yet) in 2018!
If you’re looking for music you can dance to, you’re gonna’ fall in love with “Fancy Free” right away… this song definitely has the soul you’ve been seeking… it gets a slot on my iPhone player, too… perfect cruising music… Ian’s bass solo lines on this one are just stellar!
It is the longest cut on the album that won my vote for personal favorite… “What’s Up With This Moon” clocks in at 6:11, and has some wonderful trumpet from Guido, along with all the other jazz masters.
I give Mike and his fellow players a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98 for this mighty mellow jazz excursion.