For its third album, the contemporary jazz quintet Nagual has crafted a collection of original tunes that reflect the band's diverse influences and talents and skills.
The album, from which the band will play during its record release show Saturday, October 25 at Gold Lion Arts, is called Second City—a reference to how Chinese immigrants used to describe Sacramento during the Gold Rush era.
The band's name arrives via Carlos Castaneda, the Peruvian-American New Age author. Fittingly, perhaps, the band's sound is best described as '60s-era Blue Note Records meets the Latin jazz of Eddie Palmieri as filtered through a lens of musical self realization.
Nagual is led by guitarist Victor Contreras, whose guitar work is unforced and fluid but still omnipresent. On the new album, Contreras opens up, at least a bit, like the raw-edged treble on the ode to local arts aficionado and cafe owner Art Luna, aptly called “The Art of Luna.”
On three tracks, potent contributions from tenor saxophonist Scott Anderson get additional muscle from guest trombonist Clifford Childers. A rhythm section comprising Ron Ochoa (drums), Paul Relvas (bass) and Harold Muniz (congas) provides not only stable backdrop to the improvisations but also a balance to the overall sound. And the guest list boasts strong cameos, including keyboardist Will Scharff adding tasty organ licks on “River Long” and other tunes.
The show is a benefit for Ritmos, a musician-driven nonprofit that works to increase cultural awareness on the art and history of Latin music. $5-$10, 8 p.m., 2733 Riverside Boulevard, www.nagualmusic.com.