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Jim Latta's CD "Caravan" shows, without a doubt, that jazz has become a truly international musical language. Jim is an ex-Adelaide drummer of some repute who is currently resident in Canberra and firmly established as part of the Sydney-Canberra Jazz Scene. He has assembled an extremely talented group of musicians from two continents (who now reside in Sydney) for his first CD of smoothly swinging jazz. Recorded in Sydney in February 1997, this multicultural group comfortably tackles 5 of Jim's original tunes mixed in with 6 others from the jazz repertoire.

Joining Jim Latta (drums/arranger) on this CD are Col Nolan (piano - Sydney), Dave Seidel (bass - ex-Adelaide), Don Rader (trumpet/flugelhorn - ex-USA), Gordon Brisker (tenor sax/flute - ex-USA) and Fabian Hevia (percussion - ex-Chile). This fine group is more than ready to play the tunes selected for this CD. Jim dynamically leads the group from the drum chair with his own bright, tight drum style. Col Nolan's piano swings whether accompanying or soloing. Dave Seidel supports and solos well, while Don Rader exhibits a warm-toned trumpet throughout the CD. Gordon Brisker mixes the harmonic techniques of Coltrane with the smoothness of Ben Webster. Fabian Hevia provides the additional tonal colours required for the various tracks.

"Onion Roll", a bright tempo blues with a bridge, by Herb Ellis starts the CD. This is followed by the Latin influenced "When Love Is New" by
Cedar Walton. "Karen's Theme", a swinging original by Jim, is given an affectionate treatment. Another original by Latta, "Soweto Street Dance"
(featuring Brisker's flute) grooves in an African way, and is followed by a relaxed, swinging original "Groovin' Easy". Jim's tribute to the late
Eddie Mabo, "Mabo Blues", is a bright, up-tempo blues. Col Nolan's piano introduces McCoy Tyner's modal tune "Contemplation" which precedes Latta's blues-based rock tune, "Panama Jim" an original in the style of "Watermelon Man". The intimate ballad "Love Dance" by Paul Williams and Ivan Tors is followed by Ray Brown' stop-time blues, "Spherikal". The exotic title track, "Caravan" by Ellington/Tizol, features extended solos from Jim and Fabian.

This group will be one of the main attractions of the 1997 Manly Jazz Festival to be held in October and after hearing this recording it's no
wonder. An extremely professional CD of relaxed, swinging jazz from an accomplished group of like-minded individuals.

Available directly from Jim Latta and all good CD stores.

Reviewed by Greg Fisher
Source: Adelaide Jazz Scene

“A very human touch was Latta’s dedication of MABO BLUES and his offering it to Eddie Mabo’s widow Bonita, who was present. She later said she had enjoyed her first jazz concert and been touched by Latta’s gesture. It was that sort of night. Jazz music being played well and evoking the range of emotions of which it is capable” Michael Foster, Jazz critic, CANBERRA TIMES

“ Jim Latta’s CD ‘CARAVAN’ is full of smooth twists and turns that are like liquid gold in your ears”

Jazz Jim