“Overflow” is a no-messin’ record of punchy salsa married with gospel vocals and Latin-funk grooves. Showcasing a wealth of international influences and guest performers, it’s a super soulful set packed with with Edwin’s heavy brass section. Unapologetically polished, it manages to retain a fiercely fresh and authentic sound. Highlights include a high octane salsafied version of Screaming Jay Hawkins’s ‘I Put a Spell on You’ (co-produced by Alex Wilson) and a renewal of Fred Hammond’s gospel classic ‘We’re Blessed’ led by Nicky Brown from the London Community Gospel Choir.
Many Latin fans will be aware of Edwin’s many successful years as conguero with European based Mercadonegro who Edwin continues to tour with playing on Latin stages across the continent. Yet his career as a solo artist and touring musician is less well known. In 2012 he travelled the globe with Rodrigo & Gabriela as part of their Cuban Area 52 project. In 2014 his band were named as ‘Best Latin Group’ at Glastonbury Festival and the same year they worked the crowd at Montreux Jazz Festival – both shows were part of a tour to support his debut album ‘San Agustin’. He’s performed and recorded with a diverse set of world renowned artists including Adalberto Santiago, Africando, Gypsy Kings, Jose Alberto Canario, Isaac Delgado, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz and Malia yet its tight relationship with friend, mentor and long-time collaborator and world music composer, producer and pianist Alex Wilson that has been so integral to his transformation from immigrant session musician to European bandleader.
“Overflow” is a modern salsa record created in Europe. Sanz marries his Venezuelan roots with European influences in an original work that features international musicians from diverse backgrounds. By doing so, he fosters a cultural exchange where cultures and experiences collide and grow. Something he has been doing all his life.
“San Agustin” by Edwin Sanz (Alex Wilson Records)
One of the best salsa releases of summer 2014 dropped worldwide on 16th June. “San Agustin” by percussionist Edwin Sanz is a true international salsa collaboration. Edwin is Venezuelan but lives in Switzerland where he plays with UK ex-pat salsa/Latin jazz pianist Alex Wilson, who is also a sideman and co-producer of the release as well as the record label owner. The recordings feature musicians based in New York, Spain, Paris, London and Switzerland, making it a true united colours of salsa!
Edwin Sanz himself is a longtime member of one of Europe’s top salsa orchestras Mercadonegro as well as an in-demand session player. The cast of musicians he has assembled for “San Agustin” feature the previously mentioned Alex Wilson on piano, members of Mercadonegro including the band’s maestro pianist Cesar Correa, Venezuelan timbalero king Luisito Quintero (Spanish Harlem Orchestra/MAW), Colombian rapper Magico MC and soul singer Naomi Phillips.
The production is slick without being over done, the musicianship is phenomenal and the variety of tracks within the album have something for everyone. If you like kicking modern salsa, check “Con Todos Los Tambores” and “Arriba La Cima” featuring Luisito Quintero on timbales. “Te Equivocastes” and “Sobrevivire” come from the salsa romantica spectrum, the latter reminiscent of Sergio George’s great productions for the likes of Marc Anthony and India. For the hard salsa crowd, the grand piano descarga duel “Cesar y Alex” featuring Cesar Correa and Alex Wilson, is a must. For the commercial salsa scene, a trademark Alex Wilson “salsa con soul” rework of Des’ree’s 1994 hit “You Gotta Be” closes the album”.
I’m forcasting this release will be a summer salsa hit for 2014, especially “Sobrevivire and “You Gotta Be”… you can buy it now from www.amazon.com