Percussionist Robin Jones could accurately be called salsa's leading ambassador to the United Kingdom. Since the 1960s, Jones has not only been leading his own group, but also collaborating with such headliners as Elton John, Sade, and Al Jarreau, to name a few, and helping to popularize Latin percussion instruments and influence in a scene that was otherwise pretty far from Havana. Immortalized in his 1999 release on the Cubop label, Chango (named for a God of Cuban folklore) is his work with the group King Salsa. Leading the sizable band from behind the congas, Jones mambos and cha chas his way through 15 tracks with one of Britain's first salsa orquestas. Originally released in the '80s, Chango has the warm auditory fuzz of a truly classic recording, typical of the '60s and '70s. Though King Salsa sound at times like exactly what they are -- Brits playing salsa -- Jones himself plays like a native son. Not shy of the occasional conga solo, Jones and pianist Chris Kibble deliver some notable performances. The Isles truly owe Jones and King Salsa a debt of gratitude for blazing the salsa trail, and thanks to this recording, listeners can all share in the journey.
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AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez