23 March 2006
TITO PUENTE - TAMBO
Is it exotica ? Is it afro cuban ? Is it a total percussion rinse out ? YES YES AND YES !!!
Indeed, these 12 compositions will wake up even the sleepiest of listeners. On the opening track, "Dance of the Headhunters," Tito Puente's brass section comes in screeching with the full force of an express train . Supported by Puente's writhing percussion troupe, the trumpets smash right through to the upper stratosphere; rarely does one hear brass players hit so many high notes with this kind of ease. (Of course, trumpet virtuoso Doc Severinsen is at the helm here.) Puente himself takes the lead on "Rumba Timbales," a tune that is comprised of one long, raging timbale solo. Several layers of rhythms are piled on top of one another for this track, leaving the listener to discern between the various tempos that are superimposed over one another. "Witch Doctor's Nightmare" moves in a different direction, embracing the smooth-toned, jazzy stylings of tenor saxophonist Rafael Palau. For anybody wishing to better understand real, unbridled Afro-Cuban jazz, Tambo is the perfect listen. Not only are these performances filled with great virtuosity, Puente's compositions and arrangements underscore the very roots of the genre.