Bobby Matos & John Santos - Mambo Jazz
Artist: Bobby Matos & John Santos
Title: Mambo Jazz
Label: Ubiquity Records (www.ubiquityrecords.com)
Ubiquity Records continues to be the Yankees scout of
the Latin jazz world. This time, Bobby Matos & John
Santos are up once again, and that means rhythm.
Rhythm, rhythm, and then two trays more of: rhythm.
Whether John is doing the timbales or Bobby's grabbed
the congas, the hands are the passion on this 9 track,
42 minute cd, and they - are - busy.
Don't go any farther than 'Entrada (Agogo y Agbe)'
with its plethora of bells and conga and chekere, with
many a little bass from Eliseo Borrero to give it
instrumental substance. The point of the opener is
show that when you're of a brilliant mind, cadence
alone can win the day.
But 'Nueva Diana' grinds out a full sound, from horn
section to short vocal chorus to flute and sax solos
to - well, what's left? Perhaps some romance. Okay,
hoof on over to the next track, 'Oye Mi Querida' and
see if your samba dance shoes fit. If not, your ass
will be aching if you have to sit out of this one.
Martin Padilla is in fine form on lead vocal, while
John Santos takes to the bongos like a true Latin
beatnik. And Robertito Melendez is ever present on his
own set of congas.
Didn't I warn you this was a rhythm-sister's album?
All tunes stem from it, like some sort of guerrilla
jazz ensemble that doesn't know when to stop hiring
skin whackers. Yet, nothing in traditional jazz is
left out in favor of more clank. No. The brass of 'Ya
Se Ve' is cool and hot whenever they surprise you by
showing up. Wicked.
Perhaps the stand out tune (except that truly exciting
opening) would be Ismael 'East' Carlo doing her
lead-vocal best to instruct the bright dance class
students in 'I Don't Speak Spanish (But I Understand
Everything When I'm Dancing)' as she trips along like
some 1960s-movie diva with a tight navel and a sly
smile. 'I don't speak Spanish but I understand
everything when I'm dancing. The sign language of the
body speaks conga logic, rumba intelligentsia and
tongues tied by trails of ocean water from Africa to
Cuba to New York City.' And that ain't all by a long
shot. Throughout the entire cut she's adding her own 3
cents, and the cash really adds up.
Great, great album. Worth the pricetag.