LA Jazz Scene October, 2002
-The Salsa Never Ends (Jazz Caliente)
Latin jazz fiddle diva Susie Hansen has recently released The Salsa Never Ends. The album documents the groovin' sound of Hansen's live band; one of LA's most popular. Hot Afro-Cuban rhythms swing with a cool jazzy touch to match Hansen's violin delivery: cool jazz solos simmering in a hot tumbao. And especially hot is Hansen's first-class rhythm section, formed by some of the most in-demand Latin musicians in town. A versatile pianist, Joe Rotondi burns with his montunos, or creates delicate, beautiful melodies. Bassist Rene Camacho integrates a solid tumbao with an acute sense of melody. Percussionists Tiki Pasillas (drums, timbales) and Joey De León (congas), contribute zestful energy con mucho sabor.
In The Salsa Never Ends, Hansen shines as a composer/arranger. The CD opens with 'I Want to Know', a dazzling mambo jazz, collaboration between Hansen and co-producer Erich Bulling. The other three instrumentals, Hansen's merengue jazz, 'Blues Con Fuego,' her own bolero jazz 'La Pregunta,' and trombonist/composer/arranger David Stout's mambo jazz 'Alibi' are also superb. Saxophonist Justo Almario offers fiery tenor solos in the infectious 'Blues Con Fuego' and the dazzling 'La Pregunta.' Four salsas, a cha-cha-chá, and a charanga feature either husky, powerful vocalist George Balmaseda's, or the highly swinging Ruben Esteva. Throughout the record, trombonist David Stout and saxophonist Steve Marsh offer spellbinding performances and improvisations.
This album is a danceable treat for the ears. Highly recommended.