Giraldo Piloto, who is perhaps one of Cuban music's most underappreciated modern masters, has surprisingly few records as a bandleader to his credit. Upon hearing even the first few notes of his 2002 release simply entitled Klimax, this fact will seem even more perplexing. To American listeners, Cuban musicians have long been viewed as being players with two hearts: a deep love for their folkoric traditions, and a passion for jazz. Klimax's "Melena Obbatalá" is a fantastic example of this duality, seamlessly synthesizing religious bata drumming with complex jazz harmonies and horn arrangements. Featuring piano great Chucho Valdés and timbale innovator Changuito, Piloto is in excellent company for this excursion into the no man's land of timba-jazz, too hard-hitting to be called Latin jazz and yet too complex and exploratory in its focus to be called dance music. Unlike both previous and subsequent Klimax releases, this record is predominantly instrumental. Having made a name for themselves alongside groups like NG la Banda and Charanga Habanera, on this record Giraldo Piloto & Klimax bravely explore regions that are off the beaten path. There could be no better tour guide than Piloto. Klimax comes highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez