“He possesses a full rich sound on both trumpet and flugelhorn and his technique is incredible. It is as a composer that his development is even more amazing.”
On El Conde Negro, Rodriguez reaffirms his prowess as composer, improviser and bandleader, His imaginatively reworked versions of classic Nuyorican hits by his dad include a lilting, dancing version of Soy La Ley, on which Rodriguez supplies both understated vocals and moodily spiraling, soulful trumpet. He elevates Catalina La O with a dark, neoromantic majesty fueled by Perdomo's rippling phrases, and hazy cloudbanks of trumpet. On Sombras Que Paso, he switches out the original's noirish bolero tinges for a moody, suspenseful rhythmic tension that never quite resolves. One of the album's most electric moments is Convergencia, a moody, enigmatic, atmospheric bolero ballad. And his vocals imbue his take of Guaguanco De Amor with a tenderness and sensuality absent in the original.
Pete Rodriguez isn’t a purist. He knows his salsa, as one would expect of the offspring of famed salsa vocal icon Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez, and he knows his jazz. Rodriguez mines Nuyorican musical veins and jazz lodes, ultimately mixing his finds together to create a form of music that’s loyal to both camps yet highly original and completely mutable.