Dark Latin Groove is the real thing. Powered by the arrangements and playing of super-producer Sergio George and the cutting, blazing tenor of James "Da Barba" de Jesus, DLG finds themselves strides ahead of the competition. Their name is a bit of a misnomer, having nailed the Latin Groove portion of their handle to the wall; the tonality of the group tends to be bright and effervescent. Their 2003 compilation Serie Azul Tropical contains a mix of influence as rich and diverse as the blue tropics for which it is named. Each tune distinguishes itself from the last, introducing different combinations of bachata, reggae, timba, and a healthy dash of salsa. The songwriting is impeccable, and production immaculate and interesting, as listeners can expect from any project out of the Sir George camp. The gem of the record is the inspirational vocal performance of de Jesus, a truly singular force in the genre. There are only brief windows of hip-hopper Huey Dunbar's reggae rompings. However, with a loop-enlivened rhythm section, DLG is still pursuing an interest in salsa's hip next-generation audience. Playing as an unrelenting, high-energy Nueva York dance party, Serie Azul Tropical will please existing fans, and win more to the cause.
AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez