The seven-piece band known as Electric Piquete only formed about four years ago. But from the group's inception (the product of founders Michael Mut and Ed Rosado's desire to perform at Churchill's annual Hialeahfest back in 2007), it's been drawing local attention and steadily gaining ground.
Quickly recognized as one of the premier Latin jazz ensembles in the city and earning themselves a Best Of Miami award for Best Latin Band in 2009, Piquete has refused to let up. And the long-awaited release of this self-titled EP is another step in that journey.
The album, which is now available on iTunes, is a testament to the band's popular appeal. So, in case listeners needed reminding, the album opens with a live intro advising to "sit back, relax, and enjoy the sounds of Electric Piquete" before breaking into a seven-and-a-half-minute live rendition of "Mother Smother."
The album continues in much the same fashion throughout its seven-song track list. Although, the styles infusing this Latin jazz banquet vary greatly with each and every song. One discovers while listening to the record that Piquete's influences range from Herbie Hancock to Led Zeppelin to Marvin Gaye to Frank Zappa.
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The rock influences rear their head on track two -- a dark, smooth song titled "Heart of Soul" that kicks off with a strumming guitar before giving way to moody horns. Next, "Groovy On a Sunday Afternoon" delivers laid-back brass. And then "Cutty and Water Blues" slows down the tempo once more, with a moody groove reminiscent of the instrumentals to Outkast's "SpottieOttieDopalicious."
But Electric Piquete quickly returns to upbeat funk fare on "Fonquetazo," which would be equally appropriate at Jazid on a Saturday night as in your car on the way to work. Next to last, "Chan Chan" is a respectful, rock-leaning rendition of Buena Vista Social Club's original, replete with chorus-laden guitars and a slap-happy bassline. And the album closes, as it opened, with "Mother Smother," only this time given the boogie-down remix treatment by DJ Le Spam.
Electric Piquete's self-titled EP is a little bit of funk, a little bit of rock, a taste of Afro influence, and a whole lot of Latin jazz delivered with a remarkably keen sense of balance.