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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

Juan Carlos Quintero

By Nils Jacobson
Published October 5, 2007

Las Cumbias...Las Guitarras
Innerknot Records

Tucked away at the bottom of the back cover, the truth about this easygoing, user-friendly disc comes out—only three of the ten original pieces are actually new. The rest have been recycled from three previous releases dating back to 1997. That said, this jazzy, cumbia-based collection is remarkably consistent. Boston-educated, Los Angeles-based Colombian guitarist Quintero performs in groups from a trio to an octet here, usually with drums and additional percussion, often with accordion. It’s usually impossible to resolve the instruments because of the production. Quintero loves to overdub his guitar parts, and once he takes over the melody or starts improvising, the balance instantly shifts to bring him front and center. As a result, the accordion parts in particular, which are key for establishing and elaborating the groove, occasionally vaporize as soon as the leader steps forward. Quintero’s music is pleasant, but too self-indulgent to be really exciting.