Cuban-born New Orleans resident Alexey Marti delivers a wonderfully comprehensive album of Latin flavors that moves seamlessly through a range of rhythms and moods. Remarkably, the talented percussionist stands as the creator of all of the material heard on Mundo, a feat that displays his breadth of understanding about the nuances that tie the music together, while also maintaining its individual qualities. Marti brings his adopted country and city into the mix as well, while demonstrating his jazz sensibilities.
“Ya la fiesta Comenzo” welcomes listeners to the disc with its uplifting, danceable beat, the fine flute of guest Jose Valentino, and dazzling piano of Oscar Rossignoli—all three musicians are driven by Marti’s exciting congas. The core band members heard here and throughout the program, all hail from New Orleans and include Rossignoli, drummer Julian Addison, bassist Pat Casey, saxophonist Brent Rose, plus Brazilian percussionists Curtis and Bomani Pierre. An array of contributors augments the sound with horns, a guitar, and percussion.
Each cut holds its own in representing an ever-varying display of styles and specific approaches to rhythm and melody. That’s accomplished first by Marti’s exquisite writing, and the talented musicians who accomplish his visions, whether those visions are celebratory or romantic.
The beauty of the melancholy ballad “I Miss You,” performed by the combo, remains comfortably set next to the friendly, softly rhythmic “Good Night,” and are also not too distant from the bright, trumpet-infused salsa of “Salt and Pepper,” with guest bassist John Benitez. Everything seems so at home here, including the lovely flamenco guitar of Maurizio Delrio on the title cut.
Mundo is a totally satisfying album that can be thoroughly enjoyed over and over.