Many of us now cringe at the music we loved when we were teenagers. Rudresh Mahanthappa isn't one of them. Now that he's an internationally acclaimed saxophonist who tours the world's best jazz clubs and festivals, he freely admits that he had a thing for smooth jazz growing up in Colorado in the '80s. "Besides Charlie Parker," he writes in the liner notes to his latest album, "the first sounds that inspired me to play the saxophone as a child were soul/R&B and jazz 'fusion' artists such as Grover Washington Jr., David Sanborn, the Brecker Brothers and The Yellowjackets."
The big sound of Milagres is built from small, simple elements: the boom of the kick drum, the clack of the claves, the repetitive tap-tap-tapping of a piano. This is a band of selective minimalism — which, in the end, somehow gets me thinking about the big sounds Phil Spector made. It's all about attention to detail, and Milagres is a band that cares.