Jazz

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Going The Distance

08 JUL 11 JOHN C. BRUENING

Ninety Miles, the new collaborative recording featuring vibraphonist Stefon Harris, saxophonist David Sánchez and trumpeter Christian Scott, is an example of how music in general and jazz in particular can bridge geographical and ideological differences.

Named for the relatively short distance between the southern tip of Florida and the northern coast of Cuba, Ninety Miles was recorded in Havana, with the help of two highly talented and versatile quartets -- one led by pianist Rember Duharte and the other by pianist Harold López-Nussa.

The nine-song recording captures the rehearsal sessions for a live performance in Havana in May 2010, an event arranged -- after more than a year of international red tape -- by John Burk, executive vice president of A&R at Concord Music Group, and producer of the album.

Harris' soulful "Brown Belle Blues" is actually inspired by the insistent groove of Duharte's rhythm section, while Sánchez's "City Sunrise" derives its world-music vibe from the music of Cameroon. Sánchez's "Forgotten Ones" is a tribute to the people of post-Katrina New Orleans. Each of the Cuban pianists contributes a couple of songs as well, making the set a truly cross-cultural affair.

The release also includes a DVD that offers a sneak peek at the forthcoming Ninety Miles documentary that chronicles the recording process.

More than just a jazz recording, Ninety Miles "is about the power of music to communicate, and break down some of the barriers that result from language and politics and culture," says Burk. "This record does illustrate a way -- or at least the ability -- for people to work together despite differences."