Let's Go to the Rumba!

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Some of Latin jazz's true unsung heroes converge on Rumbantela's Let's Go to the Rumba! So pervasive is the talent on this disc that it's impossible to pick out the shining star in the group. Great Puerto Rican percussionist Egui Castrillo teams up with Tito de Gracias and David Rosado -- all have "played-with" lists as long as your arm. Latin bass hero Oskar Cartaya and renowned pianist Edsel Gomez are joined by trumpeter/bandleader Humberto Ramírez and saxophonist Frankie Perez. Recorded entirely in Puerto Rico, Let's Go to the Rumba! is an amazingly well-balanced, hip CD. A true dream team, the percussion section grooves like it, with an amazing balance of creativity and space. Edsel Gomez and Oskar Cartaya are a particular treat for the ears. Gomez is consistently the most pleasing soloist on the record, and Cartaya's performances are suave and graceful. One might expect a full-tilt, raise-the-roof descarga from the record's title, but the vibe is more often laid-back than keyed up. The horns offer a bluesy melancholy that is not typical of this type of record. Even on the uptempo selections, the band seems to lay back and enjoy the ride rather than push. There are few discs out today that sound like a true collaboration, and this is one of them. There are many projects that claim "all-star" status. This disc actually deserves it.

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