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Hip Bop Essence Allstars: Afrocubano Chant Two

The opening notes of “St. Thomas/ Domingo Run,” announce the timeless yet timely treat that lies ahead on Afrocubano Chant Two. This eclectic band of all-stars seamlessly blends traditional and modern Latin music and jazz. There’s so much going on here, not in a cluttered way, but in the use of deeply textured sounds from an array of instruments: marimba, accordion, acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, percussion, bass, drums, accordion, tenor and baritone saxes, flute and guitar.

Gato Barbieri’s tenor leads his tune “Habotan,” a lovely swaying melody, but Arturo O’Farrill Jr.’s piano and Dave Samuels’ marimba steal it away from him. Michel Camilo and Bob James try besting each other, with the listener coming out the winner, on “La Comparsa.” Tony Cedras makes his accordion sing, by turns lightly and moodily, through Chico O’Farrill’s “Cancion No. 1.”

Santi Debriano’s bass and Eddie Bobe’s percussion give this disc constantly fascinating rhythms on seven out of the 10 tracks. When Bobe plays, you barely realize there’s no drum kit on those tunes-he’s master of so many sounds.

Originally Published