Rhubumba may be a nonsensical word, but it is also the name of an excellent Afro-Cuban jazz band led by saxophonist Jeff Benedict. The group is an outgrowth of the musical partnership of Benedict and pianist Paul DeCastro. Gradually expanding over time to a septet, the group welcomes Bobby Shew as their guest trumpeter on several of the selections here. Rhubumba perform five spirited originals by DeCastro and a song apiece by McCoy Tyner, Frank Foster, George Gershwin, Michael Brecker, and Consuelo Velázquez. Along with the full-group features are a playful soprano/piano duet on "Chick's Delight" and DeCastro's unaccompanied piano on "Besame Mucho." Dave Askren takes several notable guitar solos, the percussionists work well with the group, and each player distinguishes himself. Rhubumba is well worth searching for.
by Scott Yanow