This is a double debut album -- the first release for the label, Khaeon World Music, and, just as importantly, for Puerto Rican bassist John Benítez
as a leader. Centering on his tight, swinging trio with Venezuelan pianist, Luis Perdomo
, and Cuban drummer, Dafnis Prieto (all of whom, including the leader, were living in New York at the time of this recording), the group adds percussionist, Richie Flores, for extra texture, and experienced tenor saxophonist, Ravi Coltrane
, on a couple of tracks. The resulting stew is lightly flavored, producing an attractive aroma that, while not likely (nor intended) to set the town on fire, highlights some fine composing and soloing. Benítez is the rock, a quiet presence, whose pulsing rhythms set the stage for a dozen delightfully swinging numbers. Perdomo is a particular delight, his five original numbers striking a rhythmic chord, and his lilting improvisational lines an uplifting presence. Prieto and Flores are a solid duo on drums and percussion, giving the whole a danceable lift. There is a maturity to this music and to its production that signals the introduction of a strong presence whose potential is more than hinted at on this recording. This one is might not knock your socks off, but like a familiar slipper, it has the right feel.