Habana Sax Brain Storm (Egrem) Rating: NNN
Featuring four saxophones, a percussionist and no musician over 70, Habana Sax have little to do with the popular image of Cuban music. In fact, aside from some lyrical playing by guest pianist Chucho Valdés, François Zayas Puertas's bata-inspired percussion and the occasional montuno, there's nothing overtly "Cuban" about Habana Sax's playing. That's clearly the point - Brain Storm is a horn-heavy Latin jazz record with novelty excursions into hiphop, soul and funk. All four saxophonists can breathe fire, and the quintet is at its best when blowing hard and leaving the smooth jazz and unwise turntable trickery alone. While Brain Storm is lively enough, this is the kind of music best captured live, not in studio. See for yourself when Habana Sax play Lula Lounge Wednesday (November 19) through November 23.