Luis Conte can play virtually any style of music and has performed with a very wide range of major artists, including James Taylor, Madonna, Barbara Streisand, Phil Collins and Pat Metheny, to name a few. Conte is also an important bandleader, and a very skilled songwriter and singer. His many musical talents are on display throughout En Casa de Luis, his seventh recording as a leader.
On En Casa De Luis, Conte welcomes such talented players as guitarist Barry Coates, trumpeter Walt Fowler, bassist Jimmy Johnson and (on “Dance Of The Firefly”) pianist Larry Goldings. Each of the musicians adds color and their own personality to the music, under the guidance of the leader. Luis Conte is heard on congas, timbales, shakers, guiro, cajon, djembe, claves, bongos, cowbells, pandeiros, maracas and many other percussion instruments. On “Conga Melody” he also plays bass, accordion, and keyboards. In addition, Conte is the composer of six of the 11 selections and he takes three personable and spirited vocals.
The music ranges from exciting percussion displays and instrumentals for the Latin jazz quartet to a few particularly unique performances. The opening “En Casa De Luis” has a likable and memorable melody that Conte sings along with three background vocalists over his percussion. “The Last Resort” is an Afro-Cuban jazz piece that has a very good trumpet solo by Walt Fowler. The chant piece “El Rumbero Mas Chevere” features several vocalists including guest Hector Crisantes. “Water Pots,” a duet with Coates that has a catchy riff, puts the focus on Conte's percussion. “Sticks And Stones” gives the core quartet an opportunity to stretch out.
Luis Conte's interpretation of the Peggy Lee hit “Fever” is one of the most unusual ever heard of this standard, featuring his chanting and percussion. He also takes the vocal on the brief but hypnotic “Conga Melody.” On “Eden,” Conte is heard on all of the instruments (including electric bass) except for the guitar, which is prominently played by Coates. “Dance Of The Firefly” has Conte in a supportive role, setting a relaxed groove for the rhythm section of Larry Goldings, Barry Coates and Jimmy Johnson. The same group, with Walt Fowler in Goldings' place, plays the moody instrumental “There's Only Love” before Conte and Daniel Willy conclude the memorable set with some percussion fireworks on “Mi China.”