Tropical acoustica as a trip into the classically laced chamber of secrets dreamed by Colombian-born master of fingerwork.
Despite spending most of his life in the United States, Juan Carlos Quintero has never forgotten his cultural heritage and never veered far away from the course which was defined on the “Los Musicos” album issued back in 2001 on Discipline Global Mobile, the fact that seemed to signal the guitarist’s penchant for sonic experiments. Two decades further down the line, though, and the esteemed performer follows up his marginally original “Table For Five” with a this fully fledged set of covers. Yet while the ten familiar pieces highlight the artist’s talents as interpreter and improviser, they ultimately fail to impress the listener due to the too small variance in their tempos – as opposed to rhythmic patterns – and their unwavering mellowness.
There are outstanding moments, of course – Quintero’s reading of such classics as “Moondance” and “Nature Boy” are made epic to feel just a little short of sensational, and such pop-jazz standards as “Music To Watch Girls By” and opener “Tangerine” are finely scented blends of Juan Carlos’ imaginative vignettes and delicate grooves provided by Eddie Resto’s bass and Aaron Serfaty’s drums, with Joe Rotondi’s piano jive and Joel DeLeon’s percussive bursts giving the airy flow quite a few unexpected flights of fantasy. Still, if “Estampa Cubana” has an elegant swagger to it, and the expansive “All Or Nothing At All” demonstrates tender twang, “Insensatez (How Insensitive)” folds out without a lot of inner development but not without some delicious tangents, whereas the brisk finale “A Night In Tunisia” brings on the festive mood that could have been there from the beginning.
“Desserts” is an array of admirable yet inessential aural dishes that should follow something more substantial on a non-summer day.