Michel Camilo,
One More Once
(Columbia, 1994)

Michel Camilo's blend of hot latin jazz and hard swinging salsa rhythms makes it virtually impossible to sit still while listening to One More Once. The first track, the album's title track, opens with Camilo's intense, driving piano hitting a scathing groove, brass section lilting over the top of a strong, deep bass line. Inevitably, your foot starts tapping. By the time you reach track 7, "Caribe" (one of Camilo's signature works, remastered and extended for this CD), there's no denying it -- you can't help but move with the music.

Even the album's slower songs, "Suite Sandrine, Part III" and "Dreamlight," aren't breaks in the otherwise energetic set. Just under the surface's sweetened melodies is a feeling of tension or anticipation, like walking through a Cuban mid-afternoon market. You know the softness is in preparation for the wild and heavy stuff to hit later.

And hit it does, with the force of a tropical hurricane and the audial humor of someone who enjoys what he does. Track 2, for example, is a hard-driving, fast-paced Afro-Cuban anthem to freedom. Its title? "Why Not!" Why not, indeed.

A few tracks later, a conga-laden variation on "Why Not!" re-emerges, this time with the title, "Just Kidding."

Several big names contribute to the album, though most were less "big" when the album was made in 1994. Most notable is Paquito D'Rivera's contributions on "Caribe" and "Why Not!" with his trademark alto sax. Camilo couldn't have had better instincts, either -- D'Rivera was featured in the June, 1999 issue of Jazz Times as the person to watch at the forefront of the recent Cuban jazz explosion.

Perfect for the hot summer nights when you can't sit still or any time you need a pick-me-up, Camilo's One More Once is a CD you won't regret adding to your collection.

[ by Elizabeth Badurina ]

Buy One More Once at CDNow.