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Top 30 Latin Jazz Recordings & 50 Hits of 2015 by Nelson Rodriguez

In order for you to properly review and rate the best recordings in a particular year you hope to have in your hands and hear everything that came out that year but unfortunately that never seems to work even if you do manage to reach out to all the artists and the labels. So no list is 100 % accurate no matter what they tell you. The other thing I do not include in my list is a Jazz recording that is not Latin Jazz ( with the use of Latin instruments) which each year you have a few and while they may be great Jazz recordings they are not Latin. You need to meet the criteria for a Latin Jazz category and it’s not Latin Jazz if you are a Latino doing JAZZ.

This years list includes many veterans and a few new stars on the rise like Miguelo Valdes, Cesar Orozco, Carlos Henriquez, Tumbando A Monk, Mari Koga, Larry Douglas & Jorge Pineda, Alex Conde, Gabriel Palatchi (has three CD’s under his belt) and Fernando Knopf. Marco Toro who has for many years been an Afro Caribbean artist (Salsa,etc.) jumps into the Latin Jazz market with a nice project as did bassist Ray Martinez.

I want to thank all the artists who responded to my reaching out and sent me the CD (the Latin Jazz artists are the fastest to respond to a request and are the best at marketing themselves and reaching out to the media & journalists).

Here are this years best that we did receive:

1-Ralph Irizarry & Timbalaye “20th Anniversary”

2-Humberto Ramirez & Oskar Cartaya “Lifetime Friends”

4-Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra “Cuba: The Conversation Continues”

5-Chris Washburne & S.Y.O.T.O.S. “Los Ridin”

6-Cesar Orozco & Kamarata Jazz “No Limits For Tumbao”

7-Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet “Intercambio”

8-Carlos Henriquez “The Bronx Pyramid”

9-Luis Marin “One”

10-Ed Calle “Mamblues”

11-Ray Martinez “Legacy”

12-Federico Britos Presents Hot Club of The Americas “When Grappelli Meets Latin America”

13-Miguelo Valdes “Transition”

14-Fernando Knopf “La Musica Es Sentimiento”

15-Sammy Figueroa “Imaginary World”

16-Henry Brun & The Latin Playerz “In Ritmo We Trust”

17-Bill O’Connell Latin Jazz All Stars “Heart Beat”

18-Nueva Manteca “Crime”

19-Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates Troubadours   “Spiritual Warriors”

20-Marco Toro Presents “ZamboJazz”

21-Pete Rodriguez “El Conde Negro”

22-Candido “The Master”

23-Gabriel Palatchi “Trivolution”

24-Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco  “Con Mis Manos”

25-Aguanko “Invisble”

26- Tumbando A Monk “Abriendo El Thelonious”

27-Larry Douglas & Jorge Pineda Alltet “Dedicatorias Dos”

28- Alex Conde “Descarga For Monk”

29-Mari Koga “Perfect Blue”

30-Alexis Baro “Guilty Pleasure”


Throughout the year 2015 I enjoyed playing Latin Jazz on my radio show and many of these tracks were standouts that other Jazz DJ’s and radio programmers also played worldwide. I have been a fan and supporter of the genre since the late 60’s and my favorites were Tito Puente, Cal T’Jader, Mongo Santamaria, and Ray Barretto.

1-Fernando Knopf “Fermambo”

2-Ralph Irizarry & Timbalaye “Gotham Town”

3-Humberto Ramirez & Oskar Cartaya “Maldades”

4-Cuban Jazz Train Ft. Calixto Oviedo “Descarga”

5-Carlos Henriquez “The Bronx Pyramid”

6-Miguelo Valdes “El Volcan”

7-Pablo Menendez y Mezcla “Mambo Influenciado”

8-Ed Calle “Mamblue”

9-Nueva Manteca “The Godfather Theme”

10-Pacific Mambo Orchestra “Pink Panther Mambo”

11-Ray Martinez “Storm”

12-Pete Rodriguez “Stolen Changes”

13-Wayne Wallace Quintet “Solar”

14-Rie Akagi “Fiesta a La King”

15-Cesar Orozco & Kamarata Jazz “Vladitimba”

16- Luis Marin “Fichas Negras”

17-Candido “Wow Wow Holy Cow”

18-Lusito Quintero “Rumba En San Agustin”

19-Tumbando A Monk “52nd Street Theme”

20-Doug Beavers “Take It To The Ozone”

21-Edsel Gomez “Tertulia Samba”

22-Joshua Edelman “Zascandi”

23-Jerry Gonzalez y Miguel Blanco “Rumba y Consecuencia”

24-Benjamin Lapidus “Have You Met Miss Jones?”

25-Chris Washburne y S.Y.O.Y.T.O.S. “Feeling Alright”

26-Arturo O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra “Just One Moment”

27-Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco “A La Palmieri”

28-Zambo Jazz “Let It Walk”

29-Dave Chamberlain’s Band of Bones “Flat Black”

30-Federico Britos “Exactly Like You”

31-Alex Conde “Thelonious”

32-Rigo y su Obra Maestra “Magia En Bulgaria”

33-Gabriel Palatchi Trio “Dinamita”

34-Larry Douglas & Jorge Pineda Alltet “Jammin’ In The Boro”

35-Bill O’Connell Latin Jazz All Stars “Vertigo”

36-Sammy Figueroa “Waiting For You”

37-Aguanko “Chico’s Dream”

38-Bobby Matos Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble “Stagg Street”

39-The Metropolitan Salsa Orchestra “Atlantico”

40-Dayren Santamaria “Matanzas”

41-Mari Koga “Invitation”

42-Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates Trobadours “Huracan”

43-Maite Hontele “Mambo City”

44-Henry Brun & The Latin Playerz “Fuego En La Bahia”

45-Steve Pouchie “West Side Story Medley”

46-Samuel Torres “Narradores De Espejismos”

47-Jazz At The Lincoln Center Orchestra “2/3’s Adventure”

48-Alex Garcia’s Afromantra “Landscape Of A Thought”

49-Alexis Baro “Reencuentro”

50-Alberto Martinez “Guataca City”

Latin Jazz is such a beautiful genre that explores boundaries that are ever endless and the names I would love to see record in 2016 include Michel Camilo, Yosvanny Terry, Andrea Brachfeld, Giovanni Hidalgo (scheduled to record a tribute to Tito Puente), John Santos, Miguel Zenon, Mambo Kings, Carlos Jimenez, Johnny Blas, Sonido Isleno, David Sanchez, Johnny Conga, Henry Brun & The Latin Playerz, Roberto Santamaria, Bobby Matos, Charlie Sepulveda, Bobby Sanabria, Paoli Mejias, Arturo Sandoval, Conrad Herwig, Eddie Palmieri, Dayren Santamaria, Jaime Dubberley & Orchestra Dharma, Eguie Castrillo, Nestor Torres, Peruchin Jr., Calixto Oviedo, Pedro Guzman, Julio Padron, Mitch Frohman, Jochy Rodriguez, Pete Escovedo, Poncho Sanchez, Ivan Rentas, Luisito Quintero, Manuel Valera, Nerio D’Gracia, and Paolo La Rosa.