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Many performances come and go without fanfare for the musician(s), but a rare few are transformative, reshaping the artist's perspective and direction. California-based trombonist Jamie Dubberly had one such experience when his Latin jazz group shared a bill with a New Orleans-style brass band. Dubberly decided to bring both ensembles together to close the show, putting together an arrangement of his own "Soul Provider" that married the sounds of Cuba and NOLA. The concept for this album was born right then and there.
La Clave Del Gumbo, the sophomore release from Jamie Dubberly and Orquesta Dharma, is a spicy stew that's flavored with mambo, salsa, cha cha cha, cumbia, funk, second line, and soul music. Dubberly expertly blends those ingredients in different proportions throughout.
While the fusion of styles and cultures is plainly evident in most of these performances, the scales almost always tip noticeably to one side or the other. Crescent City sounds dominate on "West Side Strut" and "Soul Provider" while Latin ideals carry "La Esencia Del Guaguanco," "Mambo Pacific" and "Sonando." But it should be noted that none of those songs are purebred in nature. Sometimes a single instrumentation decision can indicate a marriage of sounds and styles, a la the addition of Mike Rinta's tuba on "La Esencia Del Guaguanco." Other times it takes the collective presence of a churning percussive underbelly working with and against swaggering horns to mark the separate-but-together philosophy of this music.
Songs like "Jazzy" and "It Ain't My Fault" manage to strike the finest balance between worlds, but other offerings highlight distinct breaks between styles that provide plenty of thrills. The brief Latin detour in the middle of the Cannonball Adderley-meets-Dr. John-esque "I Don't Need Nobody Else" is a good example of how the element of surprise plays as a strength here. Dubberly need not worry about the dreaded sophomore slump. La Clave Del Gumbo, brimming with brassy allure, swaggering rhythms and exciting offshoots, completely avoids it.
Track Listing: Jazzy; Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing; La Esencia Del Guaguanco; West Side Story;
Mambo Pacific; Soul Provider; Sonando; It Ain't My Fault; I Don't Need Nobody Else.
Personnel: Braulio Barrera: vocals (1, 3, 7, 8), guiro; Steffen Kuehn: trumpet (1); Jamie Dubberly:
trombone, chants, hand claps; Pete Cornell: tenor saxophone; Charlie Gurke: baritone
saxophone (1, 3-6), chants, hand claps; Darren Smith: baritone saxophone (2, 7-9);
Mike Rinta: tuba; Andy Nevala: piano (1, 6-9); Fred Randolph: bass (1, 6-8); Omar
Ledezma Jr.: timbales (1, 4, 6, 7, 8), vocals (7); Javier Cabanillas: congas (1, 2, 3, 4)
guiro (1, 5, 6, 7, 8), bongo (6), tambourine (6, 8, 9), guira (8), chants, hand claps;
Christian Pepin: bongo (1); Camilo Molina: bata drums (1); Silvestre Martinez: bata
drums (1), congas (5, 8), bongo (7); Brian Andres: drums (1, 2, 4, 8); Joe Bagale: vocals
(2, 9); Wayne Wallace: trombone (2); Christian Tumalan: piano (2, 3, 5); Abo
Gumroyan: bass (2, 9); Willy Torres: vocals (3); Sam Bevan: bass (3, 5); Karl Perazzo:
timbales (3, 5); Carlos Caro: bongo (3, 5, 8), congas (6, 7, 9); Ramon Garcia: vocals (8);
Brian Kendrick: drums (9).