Sofrito is a U.K.-based DJ collective whose members include Hugo Mendez, Frankie Francis, and the Mighty Crime Minister. Since 2007, they've established a near-fanatical fan base because of their almost legendary parties under the Tropical Warehouse moniker in East London. Their rep has spread and they've branched out, hosting massive bashes on the beaches of Greece, and spinning from the stages of the WOMAD festival and in New York clubs. They've also featured live acts along with their spinning: the Souljazz Orchestra, Manu Dibango, and Quantic have all all appeared with them. Tropical Discoteques is Sofrito's first full-length compilation. It is an (almost entirely) unmixed collection of new, historic, and rare grooves from three continents. What these jams all have in common is their propulsive rhythm, infectious melodies, and irresistible grooves, whether they be highlife, cumbia, Congolese guitar music, Afro-beat, soca, or modern corrido. There isn't a dud in this 15-cut bunch, but there are some real highlights, including Guadelupe's the Fair Nick Stars' "Arrete Pal Marte," a Frankie Francis and Simbad edit of Sir Victor Uwaifo's highlife cruiser "Uhue," El Timba's steamy "Descarga Bontempi," Mighty Shadow's historic "Dat Soca Boat," Dany Play's "Fa’Waka," Roaring Lion's jazzy "Carnival Long Ago," and a new track, "Cumbia Mochilla," by Quantic. Released in January of 2011, this burning set is full of great liner notes as well as music. Tropical Discotheque is guaranteed to take the winter blues away.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek