Oricle ‘ Every New Day’ (F-ire) 4/5

Composer and guitarist Jonny Phillips is the brains behind this intruiging octet that attacks the Latin repertoire from a decidely left-field perspective. Thus on ‘Mountain flower’, a Brazilan flavoured piece (though from a folkloric baiao rhythm rather than the usual bossa nova take and all the better for it) the craggy tenor solo from Idris Rahman combined with Latin vamps from pianist Nick Ramm comes off a treat. Elsewhere ‘Levante’ hints strongly at Spain with a fine flamenco guitar solo and this is a truly wonderful way to start the album on a high while Venezuelan rhythms surface on ‘La sonrisa picara’ (’The mischievous smile’) which has a most unusual signature tune and is augmented by another flamenco-inspired guitar. More conventional, but still infectious is the 3/4 time paced samba ‘Temba’ with effective use of Brazilian percussion, fine vamping from Ramm and some soulful saxophone licks courtesy of Ingrid Laubrock. To indicate how wide ranging this collective really are South African gospel hues are revealed on ‘Sherpa song’ with the music of Abdullah Ibrahim being conjured up as a result. Overall a nice summation of a variety of Latin music styles which could accordingly be developed in more depth on future releases. The only minor gripe this writer has with the CD is the actual cover which does not sufficiently indicate the Latin flavours on offer inside and verges on the gaudy. Otherwise a fascinating take on Latin music and one that is deserving of wider attention. Tim Stenhouse