New Regency Orchestra

Rating: ★★★★

Record and Artist Details


Josephine Davies (ts)
Ernesto Marichales (timbales)
Frank Portuondo (b, tres)
Eikel Venegas (t)
Joe Bristow (tb)
Nick Walters (t)
Wonky Logic (b)
Landy Diaz (tb)
Chris Williams (as)
Maddy Coombs (ts)
Will Fry (perc)
Jose Cesar (v)
George Crowley
Justin Thurgur (tb)
Flavio Correa (perc)
Alexa Nava (as)
Jack Banjo Courtney (t)
Tamar Osborn (bs)
Eliane Correa (MD, ky)
Rolando Domingo (t)


Mr Bongo


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Rec. August 2023 - January 2024

NRO is an 18-piece Afro-Cuban big band with a vibe straight out of the Nuyorican barrios and a repertoire variously inspired by the golden era of big bands - think Dizzy and Bird sitting in with Machito or Mario Bauza - in residence at NYC clubs like the Palladium, and by the Fania Records label with its trombone-heavy salsa orchestras. Oh, and by the cross-cultural percolation of London, where NRO formed in 2021 under the aegis of Lex Blondin, a French-born promoter, DJ, crate digger and Latin music aficionado who saw a gap in the 21st century music market and set about filling it.

The project feels like a logical next step for Blondin, whose founding of the Total Refreshment Centre in Dalston, was pivotal to the evolution of the so-called ‘Young British Jazz Scene’. Here a line-up including the fast rising likes of Maddy Coombs team with the seasoned likes of Eliane Correa and José Cesar, whose sweetly powerful vocals match the wall of horns and dazzling polyrhythms woven by timbales, bata and conga drums; the improv passages, sparkling call-and-response and always danceable grooves are irresistable.

Classic tracks including Chico O’Farrill’s ‘Pregon’, Kenny Graham’s ‘Mango Walk’ and Tito Puente’s ‘Mambo Rama’ are infused with new influences and attitude, reworked with new arrangements. Supercharged sounds from the best retro-futuristic Latin juggernaut in town.

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