Havana Before Dawn
Madrugada Habanera (2011)
Madrugada Habanera, literally Havana in the hours before sunrise, is a Caribbean nocturne that journeys through songs of love, breakup, heartache, longing, exotic places, social commentary, and joyful dancing. It begins with E.G.T.S. (Esos Gringos Tienen Swing), a jazz-mambo dedicated to non-Latino performers of Latin music. It continues with A Donde Se Fue El Fuego, which asks, “where did the fire go?” Next, Echate Pa’ Ya (Step Back) begins as a bolero and develops into a driving guajira with a touch of reggae. La United Fruit Co. refers to a poem by Pablo Neruda about imperialism, corporate greed, and dictatorship in Latin America. Samba De Aviação and Duas Caipirinhas take us briefly to the southeastern coast of Brazil. Un Jibarito Cantando Son explores the musical relationship between Cuba and Puerto Rico. Esos Labios No Son Tuyos (Those Lips Don’t Belong to You) is a beautiful bolero. Ya Se Fue (She’s Gone) fuses Latin jazz, funk and salsa. Finally the morning arrives with el ritmo de amanecer, the rhythm of the sunrise.
Shake It! (2010)
Five years in the making, "Shake It!" is Sensemaya's early masterpiece. Including 12 original tracks and no fewer than 10 different musicians, it displays perfectly the amazing range of Sensemaya's style. Not only does it include contributions from all current and former members of the ensemble, but it has something for every listener. It contains Sensemaya's Latin dance club sensations like "Cha Cha Sensemaya," and "Mi Bomba E'" as well as Latin jazz favorites such as "Cu-bird" and "Mantanzas 1958." It even has some deliciously sensual Brazilian grooves like Gleason's haunting "Sao Paulo." Thoughtfully composed, passionately played, cleanly recorded, and cleverly mixed, "Shake It!" won't disappoint.
Praise for "Shake It!"
"Perfect summertime music"- Sarah Foss, Schenectady Gazette
"Gets better with every listening"- Randy Treece, albanyjazz.com
Rated one of the top 3 local albums of 2010 by Greg Haymes of the Times Union