Formed in 1960, Clave y Guaguancó plays true rumba: not the misnamed craze that swept New York half a century ago, but the wondrously complex percussion and vocal music with its roots in African-based religion and its heart solidly in Cuba. The voices are arranged in lush call-and-response harmonies, equal partners with the drums and sticks that provide the relentless rhythms that a dance music requires. The group, while achieving notice outside of Cuba, continues to play regular outdoor jam sessions at home, with local musicians joining them for improvisations. So while there is a solidity, even stateliness, in the overall sound, this CD is no museum piece, but a moment in time for a group that continues to evolve within its tradition.
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AllMusic Review by Janet Rosen