New Jazz: Roy McGrath — ‘Menjunje’

In Puerto Rico, a menjunje is a healing drink given to those who need to recover. After the pandemic, Roy McGrath’s new album of Afro-Caribbean jazz is just what we all could use. The collection of 8 tracks blends together the traditions and rhythms of Puerto Rican music with the playful sprit of jazz, and the expressiveness of improv.

As Roy McGrath shared in the album’s liner notes: “A menjunje is improvised on the spur of the moment, often with whatever your grandmother has in her cupboard. It’s a potent elixir containing a variety of ingredients: typically guarapo (sugar cane juice), ginger, lemon and honey, as well as less appealing additives such as garlic and cayenne pepper. Essentially, it’s a brew, a hodgepodge of things to heal you and make you feel better but that don’t necessarily entice your palate.”

Give the album a listen and you’ll agree that McGrath captured it perfectly.

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