En La Espera
Review by Willard Manus


Lovers of Afro-Cuban jazz should keep an eye out for Michel Herrera Alvarez, the Havana-born sax player/composer whose band Joven Jazz will be touring the USA, Dec. 2010-Jan. 2011 in conjunction with the release of his new CD, EN LA ESPERA (Colibri Productions). Alvarez put his stamp on Afro-Cuban jazz at a young age, while studying at Cuba's prestigious music acadamies. As a teen, he won awards at the International Jo-Jazz Festival in the categories of composition and interpretation. He has studied and played with jazzmaster Bobby Carcacess and collaborated with Wynton Marsalis, Luis Chicoy, Orlando Sanchez and the famed singer Beatriz Marquez.

All of the eleven tunes on EN LA ESPERA were written and arranged by Alvarez, and each shows off his lyrical, introspective approach to jazz. Eschewing loud, flashy effects, he brings out the heart and soul of his compositions in a delicate, deeply felt way. This isn't to say he can't swing--he just prefers not to show off. Alvarez is one of jazz's most promising and exciting young stars.

(For information, click on jovenjazz.com or directfromcuba.com; or call 917-439-4331)