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Hilton Ruiz at Dizzy's Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center

Contributors: Russ Musto, All About Jazz--New York
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Jazz at Lincoln Center’s July “Latin In Manhattan” mini-festival opened up with a weeklong tribute to Tito Puente by the Hilton Ruiz Latin Jazz Ensemble featuring conguero Chembo Corniel, bassist Leon Dorsey, drummer Sylvia Cuenca and the distinctive horn section of trumpeter Lew Soloff, altoist “Sweet” Sue Terry and tenor saxophonist/flutist Lew Tabackin.

The group began the week’s final set on Sunday, July 17th with the powerfully melodic “New Arrival”, a composition by the leader dating back to his ‘70s debut album. The horns wailed over the smoking rhythm section, soloing with inspired abandon, with Terry in particular impressing her veteran colleagues. Ruiz’ solo was a model of measured construction, beginning tranquilly and gradually building in intensity until the pianist’s incredible virtuosity had the audience screaming in amazement before the horns returned to the melody to introduce a Chembo conga solo that ended the piece.

Terry was featured on a bluesy original that began with her recitation “Red Haired Kid” and included a lengthy acappella passage showcasing her formidable technique.

Tabackin stepped into the spotlight for an impassioned reading of “You Don’t Know What Love Is”, strutting from one end of the stage to the other, from playing for the bar to finishing at Ruiz’ side near the piano.

The set concluded with the full ensemble returning for the soulful Ruiz original, “Sweet Cherry Pie”. Russ Musto - All About Jazz--New York (Aug 1, 2005)
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