Joan Torres's All Is Fused - Before (2012)

if your holidays went anything like mine, you were probably searching for some chill shit to throw on while the fam was around. this sneaky good record, for which Joan Torres recruited a who's who of Puerto Rican session jazz players, fit the bill nicely.

while i suppose this is nominally fusion jazz, the rock-based elements are downplayed quite a bit - there are few huge riffs to be found, little of the claustrophobia i tend to associate with modern albums in the genre. literally, though, it's hard to shake the fusion label, as most of the compositions incorporate a wide swath of styles, latin and tropicalia stuff most obviously, into what basically amount to bop/post-bop structures and sensibilities. as such, the ballads ("Disbelief," "Tragic End")are really smooth and spacey, and the players have a bit more time to stretch out and shape their their verses. But the real highlights come in the more mid/up-tempo tracks, where i hear subtle similarities to Idris Muhammad and maybe Jaco, too. certainly not an earth-shattering record, but what it does it does well, and i've been putting it to good use this past week for sure.


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