New Reviews: March 22, 2001

Salsa Africa: Afro-Cuban Salsa Music
Various Artists
Candela Records/Tinder

Salsa Africa bridges the musical gap between Cuba and Africa. Artists from Guinea, Benin, Senegal, Mali and Congo produce rhythmic and melodic pieces that are quite easy to dance to. All of the tracks have vocals and Latin-African percussion. Every track has complex instrumentation that is catchy and delightful to listen to. Ultimately, Salsa Africa succeeds in fusing African percussion elements with Cuban musical elements. The unity of these two musical cultures can be found in Salsa Africa.

Tell Mambo
Oscar & Co.
Tinder Records

France's Oscar & Co. fuses a variety of musical styles, including mambo, gypsy soul Afro-Cuban, North African rai, salsa reggae (rap) and the salsa-yolee style created by vocalist and composer Jean François "Oscar" Hammel. Each track has diverse and creative instrumentation in complex song arrangements which are innovative and enjoyable. Fans of Latin Jazz and the above mentioned styles will find Tell Mambo a very worthwhile listening experience.

Donde Estes?
Latin X-posure
J Curve Records

Salsa from Ohio? Absolutely. Latin X-posure is a Latin jazz band from Cincinnati, Ohio. The band has members from Cuba, Mexico, Peru and Puerto Rico. Smooth and rhythmic Latin melodies cascade from track to track, leaving your heart yearning for more. A Brazilian jazz/merengue element is also present. For the most part, female vocals carry the listener further into the Latin journey. In between vocals, trumpets, saxophones, timbales, congas, shakers and trombones flow fluidly from track to track. The end track is a Latin rendition of "Ob La Dee, Ob La Da" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. No matter how cold it is outside, the dance beats by Latin X-posure will definitely warm you up.

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss.