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SpanishEnglishTodo o Nada by Maraca

CD Review - Todo o Nada by Orlando "Maraca" Valle 
(Independent Release 2013)

Review by Bill Tilford, all rights reserved  


Those of us who enjoy Maraca's ability to play both Jazz and dance music equally well have never had a problem with hearing him do both styles at the same time, but this mix has occasionally presented him with challenges in the marketplace from fans that were expecting either one style or the other.  Perhaps he sensed this when he went into the studio in 2011 and 2012 and produced two recordings that more clearly segregated the two forms.   Maraca got the dance material out of his system with the fine ¡Suspendan Los Comentarios!; Todo o Nada is a no-nonsense Jazz recording.  As much as this writer enjoyed the critically-acclaimed Reencuentros, he likes this release even better - it has more of a pure Jazz combo feel to it. 
This recording uses a different lineup of musicians from the dance album and employs very rich melodies and chord progressions that underscore the progress of Jazz being produced by Cuban artists today, The first track (ironically named Conclusión) is also in a totally straight ahead style (there is also a straight ahead section in Todo o Nada as well)  Occasionally, you will hear some things that will seem vaguely familiar.  For example, you would need to listen very carefully to notice, but Con Clave draws upon some concepts that resemble Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage in places.  (The structure of the two pieces is sufficiently different that most listeners are unlikely to notice, and this rendition is intriguing enough to stand on its own merits.)  Sin Freno demonstrates that the flute is a perfectly respectable (and underutilized) instrument in Cubop.   There are also wonderful drum and percussion solos in this track.  
Although Maraca takes a couple of piano solos of his own in this recording, the piano contributions of Alejandro Falcón, who is also making a name of his own in Cuba, are worth mentioning.  We expect his name to become more familiar in other countries in the future via his own recordings. 
Just as I told the dancers that they should give Maraca's newest dance recording a fair trial, if you have any doubts about Maraca's credentials as a serious Jazz artist, Todo o Nada should resolve those doubts once and for all.  Very highly recommended. 
This recording was made partly in Paris, France, and partly in Havana, Cuba. 

Maraca's website is www.maracavalle.com

Tracks:

1. Conclusión
2. Very Fácil
3. Congo Carabalí
4. Con Clave
5. Costa Sur
6. Sin Freno
7. Noche De Chachachá
8. Todo o Nada
9. Las Tres Carabelas

Personnel in Todo o Nada

Role - InstrumentName
Director, Arranger, Flutes, Alto Flute, Piccolo, Minor Percussion Orlando Valle "Maraca"
Trumpets and Flugelhorns Reynaldo Melián "Molote" 
Tenor Saxophone Michel Herrera
Piano and Keyboards Alejandro Falcón (except solos in 3 and 7 by Maraca)
Electric Bass & Clevenger Sergio Raveiro
Drums and Timbales  Keisel Jiménez
Congas Rafael Valiente
Bata Drums Eugenio Cruz
Guest Artist Irving Acao (tenor saxophone solos in 1, 2, 4 and 8)
Bill Tilford - Monday, 06 January 2014, 10:24 PM