Francisco Aguabella

Ochimini

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AllMusic Review by

Nearly 50 years after emigrating to the United States from his native Cuba, conguero and percussionist Francisco Aguabella is still capable of organizing and leading some of the most dynamic ensembles in Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban music, as his fifth album for the Cubop label demonstrates. The West Coast crew that he enlisted for this session could not be any tighter or more joyful-sounding; on the deliriously dancing title track and the elegantly funky, blues-based "Funky Cha" the horns are crisp, clean, and brilliant, and the multi-layered rhythm section is simultaneously loose and rock-solid. The arrangements of "Makin' Whoopee" and the Cole Porter standard "Love for Sale" are both interesting, but maybe not quite revelatory; much more inspired are "Tumbaito" (which opens like a ballad, then struts away for six more minutes with a sassy swish of the tail) and the resolute Latin funk of "Guajira Candela," which features excellent vocals by percussionist Alfredo Ortiz and Fermin Sifontes. Highly recommended.

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