Cultural Revival

After a four-year hiatus from recording, tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, now signed to Concord's "Picante" Latin Jazz division after a decade-long, seven-album relationship with Columbia-Sony, presents Cultural Survival, a recital comprising six original compositions and a pair of Sanchez-ized classics by Eddie Palmieri ("Adoracion") and Thelonious Monk ("Monk's Mood"). As on Sanchez' Grammy-nominated recordings Obsesi¢n (1998), Melaza (2000), and Travesía (2002), on which he deployed the harmonic language and interactive imperatives of jazz to recontextualize the folkloric rhythms and melodies of his native Puerto Rico, the sound matches no previously known "Latin Jazz" category. For one thing, Sanchez writes melodic lines that imply rather than explicitly state the percussion (hand drummer Pernell Saturnino, his longtime partner, performs on only two compositions). For another, vamps and montunos are mostly absent, a function of Sanchez' decision -- in part inspired by a lengthy 2005 tour with Pat Metheny -- to pare down from sextet to quartet; guitarist Lage Lund fulfills the harmonic, solo, and unison functions previously executed by pianist Edsel Gomez and alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon. On the epic finale, "La Leyenda del Carnival," inspired by Sanchez' decade-long immersion in traditional African musical dialects, pianist Robert Rodriguez weaves cross-rhythms into the flow with percussive authority, while on the title track and "Manto Azul," Danilo Perez and the leader, who turns 40 next month, conduct a sparkling conversation in notes and tones, reaffirming affinities that they first articulated two decades ago, documenting the ongoing refinement and elaboration of their ideas. Not least, Sanchez is one of the living masters of his instrument, a master of pace and dynamics, sustaining a ravishing -- call it "Latin" -- tone at all tempos.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.