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Inner Voyage (1999)

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Ignacio Berroa

After taking the jazz world by storm with his exciting debut CD on Blue Note in 1991, Gonzalo Rubalcaba continued to delight his fans throughout the decade with one great recording after another. "Yolanda Anas," "Joan," and "Joao" -- each one a tribute to one of his children -- are intimate musical portraits that have a childlike simplicity, but also memorable melodies that linger in the mind. A salute to Blue Note president Bruce Lundvall is a complex post-bop blues featuring fierce solos by tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and bassist Jeff Chambers. Rubalcaba's breathtaking arrangement of "Here's That Rainy Day" is one of the most intimate ever recorded, played with an almost hushed tone. The pianist's introduction to "Caravan" has a swinging Latin flavor, though the body of the song is much looser and less thunderous than one might expect. Highly recommended. ~ Ken Dryden