Could a collaborative effort between Dominican piano virtuoso Michel Camilio and Giovanni Hidalgo, who is commonly known as the finest living conguero, possibly live up to the expectations? The answer Hands of Rhythm offers is nothing short of "All that and them some, baby." The beautiful thing about hearing both Camilo and Hidalgo in a rare duo format is that unlike larger band contexts, their genius does not compete for sonic space with anyone. Every note, every stroke is clearly audible, and crystal clear. Almost as fantastic as the instrumental performance was the repertoire chosen. In fact, the overall flavor is not what one might expect from two players known well for blistering speed. A haunting, sensitive rendition of "Footprints" and the reminiscent "En Mi Viejo San Juan" are welcome surprises from a percussion lead duo. "Softly as in the Morning" and "Blue Monk" are swinging from start to finish. With these jazzy selections, the bossa nova-at-its-best "If You Knew," and the merengue "Papa Boco," Hands of Rhythm shies away from the clave-driven music that made these two men famous. And yet, they prove themselves as adept in any one idiom as the other. Hidalgo and Camilo make up for their small numbers with both taste and sheer brilliance. Hands of Rhythm is required listening for both these musician's loyal fan bases, and the Latin jazz listening public alike.
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AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez