On their second effort, Los Hombres Calientes exchange bassists (David Pulphus for Edwin Livingston), and Ronald Markham shows up on Hammond B-3 and keyboards. The record, a 71-minute, 18-cut musical treatise, features a much larger complement of vocalists and percussionists, and even a string quartet on three selections. Hombres Calientes, Vol. 2 also draws from a larger palette of Latin rhythms. The Yoruban chants on the trio of tunes near the end of the recording are most convincing -- "Alabi Oyo E," "Suite Obatala," and "Vamos a la Cima," all composed by percussionist Bill Summers, burst with emotional discourse. "Cuban Suite," penned by trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, moves from a slow rhumba (featuring cascading piano by Victor Atkins, III) to a classical, church-like montuno figure and, finally, to a much hotter comparsa with rollicking trumpet, piano, and simmering percussion. "A Comer y a Descargar" is an out-and-out jam, with Mayfield leading the charge. "Fongo Sunk," a piece from drummer Jason Marsalis, is a no-frills piano/percussion workout. There's also a hot take on the old Roberta Flack hit "Feel Like Makin' Love." Of the many remaining cuts, "Rasta Renegade" is a reggae number with organ and group vocals; "Blues de Enredo" is a Brazilian festival samba; "Young Lovers at First Sight/Tangeaux-Zon" is a tango with the Louisiana Philharmonic String Quartet; "Daydreamer" is a bossa nova with Atkins' piano omnipresent; and "Comparsa N.O." combines an Afro-Cuban section and a Professor Longhair-like gumbo blues shuffle. The CD ends rather unceremoniously, with the always-vapid "Chameleon" slapped onto George Clinton's "We Want the Funk." More might not necessarily be better for this group, but the overall result is quite enjoyable -- some bumps in the road, but a competent music presentation nonetheless.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos