Here's a nice surprise from Baltimore: a handful of Latin and jazz veterans jelling some wonderful claves to underlay some very resourceful horn playing. Producer Andy Gonzalez, a brilliant bassist in his own right, guides Rumba Club's fourth project and he has led them into a wonderful mix of that old Fania/Fania All Stars sound with some thoughtful, forward-thinking jazz playing. Melodic formulas so commonly cliched in this kind of recording are avoided. Instead we are treated to some straightahead, clever head arrangements, played with obviously solid chops by the musicians, including percussionists Sam Turner, Orlando Cotto, Jim Hannah and Rudy Ramon Morales, trumpeter Alexander Pope Norris, trombonist Craig Considine, saxophonist Paul Hannah, keyboardist Tim Murphy and bassist/lead arranger Josh Schwartzman.
I particularly liked Rumba Club's guaguanc¢ treatment of Joni Mitchell's "This Flight Tonight" and the bolero approach to Cole Porter's "Every Time We Say Goodbye"-you don't find many Latin bands exploring this kind of material and I find it very refreshing.