Sonido Isleño Press

“Lapidus the guitarist can hang with anyone, and during his solos on this instrument, the jazz
component takes over. However, he is also an acknowledged virtuoso on the Cuban tres, a guitar-like instrument with three sets of double strings—and when he plays this, as on as in “East of el Son, Wes del Tres,” he really merges the two musical worlds, sounding authentic while at the same time moving the tres beyond its folk limits and into the jazz world.”
Budd Kopman 07-Nov-06

“When Ben Lapidus brought his groups, Sonido Isleño (Island Sound) to Chicago’s Green Mill kazz club last November, nobody in the packed house seemed to mind that his main instruments are more associated with Latin folklore than bebop.”
Aaron Cohen, Downbeat, April 2006

“En el quinto disco de la banda, Lapidus exhibe un balanceado menu de buena música.”
Rafael Mieses, Punto de Vista, Tempo de Música

“Sonido Isleño were founded in 1998 and are based in New York. The group effectively mixes together Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican music with jazz. While the title cut has a poem spoken in Spanish and is of little interest to those who do not speak Spanish, other selections are more jazz-oriented, including “Taino,” which utilizes the chord changes of “Cherokee.” It is
particularly interesting hearing leader Benjamin Lapidus play the tres (a traditional Spanish guitar) on some beboppish material; it works well. The rhythm section is excellent, tenor saxophonist Paul Carlon makes his presence felt, and Lapidus is also a talented guitarist. Sonido Isleño’s brand
of Afro-Cuban/Latin jazz is quite appealing and worth checking out.”
Scott Yanow, All Music

“…designed to illustrate cultural bridges – which Lapidus succeeds to convey rather seamlessly.”
Willard Jenkins, The Independent Ear Vol. 1 No. 2

“For a taste of where Sonido Isleño comes from, “East of el Son, Wes of el Tres” (a patent allusion to Wes Montgomery) calls to task know-it-alls who “talk a lot, saying that this thing jazz is not something I should play on my tres,” proceeding to lay the critics flat with a virtuoso performance to end the argument.”
Michael Stone, Contributing editor, RootsWorld Bulletin #339 January 26, 2006

“Sonido Isleño: Vive jazz: Ben Lapidus (el doctor Lapidus para los amigos) es un tresero y guitarrista judío con alma latina que lleva años facturando un sonido entre el jazz soul, las rumbas caribeñas, el changü. cubano y cierta guachafería neoyorquina. En verdad, su sonido es inclasificable, pero el sabor
de la banda es inconfundible. Vive jazz es otro paso de evolución para un grupo que merece una mayor exposición. Sin duda.”
Eliseo Cardona, Best Albums of 2005, Sun Sentinel, Dec. 31, 2005

“Dr. Ben Lapidus and gang are terrific. Vive Jazz is a tapestry of rhythms interwoven with the finest threads of Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban beats. Highly recommended.”
Javier Riviera (Oct. 28, 2005) Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

“But this recording truly stands because of the compositions with traditional claves where the music pulsates with an infectious and timeless fire.”
Mark F. Turner,

“One of the most passionate jazz sounds to date (Latin) many artists try to afford its beauty, but seldom are they able to pay the bill in the end. However, guitarist Benjamin Lapidus with his October release of Vive Jazz from Tresero Productions has demonstrated that ability to connect
just those sounds with the flair and essence required.”
Karl Stober,

“El disco “Vive Jazz” es uno de esos trabajos que al escucharlo nos llena de optimismo. Aquí nos convencemos, una vez más, que en el mundo musical globalizado que apunta a vender y a difundir masivamente un sonido homogéneo, la música asociada al Caribe Hispano puede seguir
evolucionando con identidad propia, con energía creativa y buen gusto a través de grupos como Sonido Isleño.”
Elmer González, WRTU.ORG

***Editors Pick: Sonido Isleño sound has been producing compelling and innovative Latin jazz since their 1993 debut ¿Quien Tiene Ritmo?, but with Vive Jazz! Ben Lapidus and his crew have evolved into something truly significant. Via the instrumentation, composition and arrangements, guitar-tresero-cuatro player Lapidus has created an identity for the band that makes their sound original and distinctive – not an easy thing to do unless it’s simply novelty you’re after. Just
how many Latin jazz ensembles exemplify a vision that’s identifiable on short order? Not many. The Fort Apache Band comes to mind. Vive Jazz!, Sonido Isleño’s extraordinary and unconventional new release puts a refreshing spin on the Latin jazz genre. With each funky articulated note, Lapidus’ arrangements have sideways montunos rolling uphill against a terrain of
rumbling percussion, grinding bass lines and sort-of-moñas running in reverse. Part retro, part futuro, it’s all good stuff that is difficult to tire of. There’s simply not much out there that’s like it.
Very Highly Recommended. (BP, 10-Sep-05)

“This is one of the hippest groups, with a unique, dynamic sound full of textural variety.”
Nelson Rodríguez, Latin Beat (August 2004)

“Sonido Isleño es un taller de exploración que ha sabido explotar el sabor de nuestra música sin sacrificar la creatividad. Su disco Blue Tres garantiza 55 minutos de placer auditivo para todo aquel que se considera amante de la buena música afro caribeña.”
Elmer González, Radio Universidad 89.7FM WRTU, (July 2004)

“This fourth release by the New York City-based group Sonido Isleño is their best effort by far,
demonstrating the maturity of the band, the leader, and the material.”
Rudy Mangual, Pick of the Month, Latin Beat (April 2004)

“There are a few other U.S. based treseros who must be recognized for their accomplishments, including New York neochanguisero, Benjamin Lapidus.”
Luis Tamrgo, A Brief History of the Cuban Tres, Latin Beat (April 2004)

“Una tremenda producción musical…es una buena alternative para los amantes de la buena música y del buen jazz.”
Josué Navarro, El Todo (April 15, 2004)

“This is an interesting recipe, and the results are delicious – bien sabroso.”
Eric González, Oasis Salsero (February 2002)

“Demonstrates why he is regarded by this west coast writer as the most versatile Caribbean
jazz guitarist/tresero on the opposite coastal region of the U.S. of A.”
Luis Tamargo, Latin Beat (December 2001/January 2002)

“You guys can follow me around anywhere…I’m grooving!”
Mark McEwen, CBS-The Early Show (July 2000)

“Sonido Isleño is a serious and original group of authentic artistic achievement.”
Elizabeth Rogers, East Hampton Star (March 2000)

“Their production and musical quality is just unbelievable. It’s as good, and if not better than
some of the productions done by today’s most popular artists, from some of the biggest labels
in the industry.”
Nestor Louis, Salsaweb

“El sonido y los arreglos son muy buenos y su música es de primera.”
Juan A. Moreno-Velázquez, El diario/la prensa (March 2000)

“The tres like you’ve never heard it before… Lapidus writes ballads with the emotional depth of Gershwin, Porter, and Arlen. ”
Luis Moreno, Salsaweb

“New York is blessed with a hip group called Sonido Isleño.”
Nelson Rodríguez, Latin Beat (November 1999)

“Lapidus has simultaneously assimilated the jazz legado of Wes Montgomery and the son tradition of Arsenio Rodríguez.”
Luis Tamargo, Latin Beat (October 1999)

“Smokes like an early Benson…with Willie Bobo on percussion.”
Rudy Mangual, Latin Beat (November 1998)

“…rare musical find…”
Liz Balmaseda, The Miami Herald (November 1998)

“En vez de hacer jazz con feeling latino, la idea es de explorar y hacer música afro-caribeña
con sabor a jazz. En manos de Lapidus el concepto es novedoso y sabroso.”
Henry Mena, Zoom (November 1998)