It’s A Family Affair! Pete Escovedo. Plus New vocal soul/jazz from Lady Blackbird

“Iconic” is an overwrought word. As are “legendary,” “genius,” and probably a few others. One problem is that they tend to overemphasize mediocrity. In the case of Pete Escovedo, the terms fall short. How about dynasty? That’s a start and far more apt.


The Afro-Caribbean roots of Pete Escovedo’s ancestors run deep. But for modern reference, the world became aware of the charisma and chops of the young percussionist back in the mid-fifties. This was during the Latin wave that spawned fame for the likes of Desi Arnaz. Tito Puente, Xavier Cugat, Stan Kenton and Dizzy Gillespie. From this launching pad the Escovedos thrived. They had legit stardom in almost every type of music, including disco, that arose in the ensuing decades.Dynamic percussionist and Prince muse Sheila E. is a product of this dynasty and she is quite a presence on Pete’s new cd: “Rhythm of the Night.” The whole recording struck me in two ways: 1) It gives off a vibe of a family picnic or reunion with really amazing music. This is it’s primary intent. 2)  It does not apologize for it’s fairly uninspired choice of material. Toto’s “Africa” is the opener. It’s all in good fun and accomplished musicianship.“Black Acid Soul,” whether cultural movement or radio format, these are three descriptors I always love to see tagged in music. Whether it’s Lizz Wright, Esperanza Spalding or Cecile McLorin-Salvant, the new crop of jazz trained female vocalists is poised win over generations of people seeking something innovative and also familiar. Lady Blackbird has released a new recording that is just such a rarity: It’s amply endowed with soul and vibes, but also challenges you to absorb the political and musical innovations that are happening around you. Album is called: Black Acid Soul . Kevin T. O’ConnorMusic Director88.5 KBEM-FM |

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