Wayne Gorbea / Wayne Gorbea's Salsa Picante

Cogele el Gusto

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Perhaps an early response to the success of the Buena Vista Social Club, Wayne Gorbea and his group, Salsa Picante, were finally signed to a nationwide label to record the hot Afro-Cuban collection Cogele el Gusto, a very similar blend of traditional Cuban son and lively Latin jazz. A fixture of New York's Latin jazz scene, Gorbea is very much a traditionalist, with a call-and-response horn section of two trombones and a trumpet in the classic Tito Puente/Johnny Pacheco fashion. A white-hot piano player -- check out the amazing solo improvisation at the start of the title track, both deeply soulful and irresistibly danceable -- Gorbea is also a gifted bandleader and arranger, giving each instrument plenty of breathing room for improvisational licks but locking the whole thing to a firepower rhythm section that underpins even the ballads. Wayne Gorbea is not an innovator, but neither is he a hidebound moldy fig; Cogele el Gusto is in step with the classic salsa and Latin jazz of the 1940s and 1950s, but it brings that sound forward as well, managing to sound both timeless and dead contemporary. This is marvelous stuff.

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