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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

BENNETT PASTER & GREGORY RYAN

By Robert Kaye
Published June 22, 2006

Grupo Yanqui
Music Magnet Media

A handful of New Yorkers, an Israeli and two Cubans, comprise the ensemble Grupo Yanqui. Keyboardist Paster and bassist Ryan met at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, subsequently, over the course of several summers, teamed up with other would-be bandmates. Musical alliances and allegances continued to form over time, and eventually Grupo Yanqui was assembled in New York City. The young quintet excels in taut interplay. While there are elements of World Groove spangled throughout, this is mostly an AfroCubano, Brazilian and American Roots-inspired Jazz project. Each of its ten original compositions is well conceived and executed, as is the band‘s arrangement of “Cactus Mambo“ by the esteemed Bebo Valdes. Indeed, with its hearting approach to music making, this group would be loads of fun to behold at any festival. With standout tracks “Storytime,” “Fantasy,” “Tema Para” and “Que Venga El Dia,” this more-than-capable group certainly lives up to its claim of providing original groovy Latin Jazz and crusty salsa favorites.