Talented and unconventional musician William Cepeda assembled a Afrorican jazz outfit in the late '90s to explore Puerto Rican roots, thereby discovering traditions and styles to enrich his skills and musical evolution. In addition, he began experimenting with African, Indian, Andalusian, and Arabic rhythms, delivering an interesting hybrid sound. This eight-track record opens with "Cosa Nuestra," performed in jibaro style with vocals by singer Andrés Jiménez. "Bomba Flamenca" features a mixture of Puerto Rican sicá and traditional flamenco, followed by "Washiba," a combination of Arabic and Indian melodies. "Toshiko" comes with a poetic interpretation by Harry Rexach, while "The Next Plena" offers a futuristic version of plena, a well-known local rhythm. Excerpts from the traditional Latin song "El Cumbanchero" can be found while listening to "Cumba Blues." Branching Out ends with an intimate tribute to the artist's hometown titled "Bomba Pa'Loiza."
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AllMusic Review by Drago Bonacich