Review of the highly anticipated album 'Rumba Con Flores' and its launch at the Jazz Cafe 31.01.16
Eliane Correa is a Latin pianist, composer and bandleader in global urban music collective WARA, who have been touring the UK circuit for the past few years, playing venues like Village Underground, The Jazz Cafe and even Glastonbury.
Based between Barcelona, London and Havana, Eliane draws influences from her Cuban and Argentinian heritage. Aged 17, she left Europe for Havana, to continue her music study and reconnect with her ancestry. She spent a lot of time mixing with local jazz and rumba musicians and eventually came across the Afro Cuban batá drumming, which as she confesses completely changed her musical perspective.
Her debut album ‘Rumba con Flores’ is being released on February 12th through the reputable London based Latin Music record label Movimientos. The album was part recorded in Havana and part in London, with over thirty musicians involved in its making. It expresses Eliane’s deep devotion to jazz, the Afro Cuban tradition and her love of contemporary neo-soul, R&B and urban Latino music. When Eliane spoke to Jazz FM's Head of Music Chris Philips she explained, “the way traditional Cuban jazz and Latin jazz have been shaped - we're trying to break that mould and go somewhere new”. She pays her respects to the old guard whilst building her own unique connection with jazz, pushing its boundaries in a similar vein to acts like Snarky Puppy, Robert Glasper or Esperanza Spalding.
The album starts with heavy batá drumming and Yoruba prayer recited by Cuban rumba extraordinaire Gerardo de Armas - all of which was recorded in Cuba. The tone quickly turns to soul and funk accentuated by the party spirit of vocalist Manuela Panizzo. Guest vocalists and musicians feature throughout with contributions from Cuban trova vocalist Yanaysa Prieto most notably on the album’s title track ‘Rumba Con Flores’. British Congolese singer Binisa Bonner brings her Afro-rock influence to the album partnering with Yanaysa on this and the lead single 'Aftertaste'.
'Rumba Con Flores' is a much awaited slice of soulful and jazzy musicianship. A storytelling device that charts Eliane’s much traveled path from her early childhood in Luxembourg listening to the sounds of Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington to her time living in Cuba and London. Eliane has definitely transcended genres with this album making it far more accessible than traditional Afro-Cuban jazz.
Following on from a sell out show at London’s Latin Jazz Festival in 2015, Eliane Correa and her 10 piece band played at the Jazz Café on January 31st with a lineup that featured percussionists Gerardo de Armas (Yoruba Andabo, Gerardo & su Rumbaché) & Will Fry (Jamiroquai, Roy Ayers).
Ahead of the forthcoming album release the crowd at the Jazz Cafe was full of anticipation, and Eliane's band duly delivered. They opened with the luscious single 'Aftertaste'. Before moving through to more stripped back tracks with vocalists Binisa Bonner on 'Flying Colours' and Yasmeen Quintana, flown in from Barcelona for the occasion, on the intimate 'Cascaras'.
Closer to the end of the set they turned up the heat with Manuela Panizzo flaunting her big soulful tones for the grooving Afro-Cuban infused 'Wemilere'. A jaw dropping drum solo from Michel Castellanos punctuated the track 'Tengo Una Piedra En El Bosillo', and debuted a new track 'Rumba' to finish by which time the band was on fire ripping into a tight Afro-Cuban groove. Particular mention also goes to Graeme Flowers on trumpet whose solos and melodies sung sweetly through the Camden venue all night.
'Rumba Con Flores' is a unique and original album, a must have for lovers of jazz,soul and latin music.
Listen to her interview with Chris Philips here:
Listen to Eliane Correa on soundcloud here.
Check out her Bandcamp page here.