Quimbombo - Conga Electrica
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Quimbombo
Conga Electrica
Testa Dura Records

I can rightly claim to have loved Cuban music since long before nearly all of it was judged by the Buena Vista Social Club's gold standard, and it's always a pleasure to hear new things being done with it. While New York-based band Quimbombo may not identify themselves as specifically Cuban (particularly given their multinational lineup), their jumping-off point is clearly the Cuban son style. To it they add springy electric guitar riffing, saxophone, clarinet and flute alongside familiarly majestic trumpet, looser overall structures that lean toward Latin jazz and, on this hot-and-cool little disc, a Brazilian percussion section. A few songs here, like the sultry "Anorado Encuentro" link Rio and Havana to good effect; others like the semi-psychedelic title track are more experimental and the balance is tipped by sizzling mini-descargas ("Cuando Tu Vayas a Oriente," "Llegaron las Viandas"). Half the tracks are originals and half are Cuban covers reconfigured, so this band is clearly looking to tip their hat to the foundations while laying on some spark of their own. The two halves add up to a sweet whole, perfect for those who like Cuban sounds offered up with a few welcome surprises. - Tom Orr

The ensemble's web site: www.quimbombo.com

CD available from CD Baby

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CD available from CD Baby

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