At first glance, Baltimore might seem an unusual city for cultivating one of the hottest sounds in mid-90s Latin jazz. The genre has never been more popular, yet always seems more associated with the cosmopolitan jungles of major cities with Hispanic populations--Miami, Los Angeles, NYC. But The Rumba Club, whose eclectic music blends traditional salsa with tinges of Calypso and Afro-Cuban influences, is rapidly expanding those cultural boundaries. Already one of the East Coast's hottest Latin performance ensembles for over a decade, their release on Palmetto Records, desde la capital, aims to bring the excitement of their live concerts to a national audience. Producer Andy Gonzalez picked an exciting batch of tunes here, some from the Rumba Club's regular set list, others originals from the band. The originals include the highly percussive "Comicador," the jazzy title track, and the vocal-percussion gem "El Presidente de La Republica." Among the standards are a sassy take on "It's You Or No One," the danceable Tito Puente pieces "Oye Mi Guaguanco" and "Cual Es La Idea," Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage," Charlie Parker's "Moose the Mooche" and Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes."
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran