Dec. 7, 2016
As one of those guitarists who first captured my attention with his Latin-infused and Nuevo Flamenco guitar style quite awhile ago, Lawson Rollins continues to provide awe-inspiring melodies and riffs on his latest release, 3 Minutes to Midnight (wonder what’s the inspiration behind that interesting title?), scheduled for release in January 2017.
Pushing through this album with the richness you’d expect from one who knows this Latin jazz subgenre all too well, Rollins again puts on display his mastery of the exoticism of the music that has so captivated those of us who have been sufficiently exposed to it to know it holds so much mystique and elegance.
Full of spirit and substance, the album opens with the lively, rhythmic title track guaranteed to get the Latin party started. From there, he strolls into the warm, rich mid-tempo “Light the Way,” and light the way he does, incidentally…all the way to the end of the album.
Taking us on a walk along some of those warm and enticing beaches in the Caribbean and maybe somewhere sweet in South America, he serenades us with “Island Time,” a gloriously melodic number with plenty of voice. “Sway” cleverly combines the allure of the Latin charm with the undeniable appeal of that ever-popular reggae element. One of my personal faves here.
Picture yourself dancing around a bonfire nestled there along a Caribbean shore, laughing and drinking in the delicious, and you’ve captured the scenario that should abound in your mind when you listen to the upbeat “Driving Force.”
So many of these compositions, all penned by Rollins, by the way, are simply filled with the moving vibe that defies description but always speaks to you and manages to transport you to some wondrous land of color and intrigue. If you are a big fan of Latin jazz music – and even if it will be your first exposure to it – you owe it to yourself to give 3 Minutes to Midnight a serious listen. Great effort again by Rollins. – Ronald Jackson