Percussionist/vocalist Raphael Cruz has made a true world-music record with BEBOP TIMBA. Steeped in the Latin-jazz tradition, Cruz draws on numerous forms from the genre, including classic salsa rhythms, but infuses these with a progressive, globally aware sensibility that incorporates everything from ancient African song to jazz fusion. The personnel on BEBOP TIMBA, which includes Spyro Gyra guitarist Julio Fernandez, Cuban bata master Orlando "Puntilla" Rios, and former Miles Davis saxophonist Rick Margitza, reflects the album's mix-and-match, all-inclusive aesthetic.
The program also reflects Cruz's mission to unite disparate influences, eras, and nationalities in rhythm and song. "Africa's Children," written by Cruz, has a youthful choir singing lyrics in Yoruba over tribal drums, but with synthesizer adding futuristic color. A Latin-inspired cover of Hammerstein/Kern 's "All the Things You Are" keeps one foot firmly in the standard jazz songbook, while a treatment of Pat Metheny's "Face Dance" brings Cruz into the world of fusion. The last track, "La Rumba," which features only drums and call-and-response voices, brings BEBOP TIMBA back to the roots of Cruz's wide-reaching musical tree.