On Rumberos a Monton, a renowned European percussionist leads an all-star group of musicians from five Caribbean and South American countries, plus Holland, Germany and the U.S. in celebrating the music of Cuba, especially the rumba. Why can't the rest of the world come together like that? Although he hails from The Netherlands (via Germany, the land of his birth), Nils Fischer, the founder and leader of Timbazo, has a special fondness for the music of Latin America and plays a key role in the ensemble's rhythmic substructure.
The album consists of two lively permutations of the rumba (and others of its close relatives including Puerto Rican salsa dura and Cuban timba), one "bonus track" (an English-language version of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," sung by Shirma Rouse) and "radio edits" of "Timbazo Llego," "Maferefun Yemaya" and "Voy a Barrer Contigo." Needless to say, rhythm predominates, irrespective of mood or tempo, and there are vocals on every number, by a lone singer or a group. As none save the bonus track is sung in English, a working knowledge of Spanish would be helpful. As for solo improvisation (beyond the rhythmic, that is), it is essentially an afterthought.
Fischer, who doesn't lack for help in carrying out his percussive mission, plays congas, bongo, campana, guiro, clave, cata and bata, supporting other rhythmic stalwarts from drummer Calixto Oviedo and pianist Marc Bischoff to Jose Luis "Changuito" Quintana and Armando Vidal Sanchez (timbales), Jose "Pepe" Espinosa (bongo, cajon, quijada, campana), Geraldo Rosales (maracas), Tony Moreaux (bongo), Ed Verhoeff (guitar) and bassists Carlos del Puerto, Adinda Meertins and Ernesto Paz. Brass and woodwinds are present to some degree on every track, violin and viola on "Emboba" and "Palo Pa Changuito" (a showcase, perhaps, for "Changuito" Quintana's timbales, albeit unconfirmed by these ears, unaccustomed as they are to sorting timbales from bongos, congas and the like). In addition to Rouse, the vocalists are Lucrecia Perez Saez, Alberto Caicedo, Nando Vanin and Fabian "Huracan" Nodarse.
If you are partial to Latin music in general and the rumba in particular, Rumberos a Monton should lift your spirits and brighten your day. Timbazo is an exemplary ensemble, and the music is unquestionably well-played and well-recorded. On the other hand, it is aimed toward the kind of listener described above. Those who aren't usually enkindled by Latin themes or dances, no matter how colorful, may wish to look elsewhere for pleasure and enlightenment.
Rumberos a Monton; Timbazo Llego; Maferefun Yemaya; Flores Para Tu Altar; Emboba; Palo Pa Changuito; Sabor a Bombon; What’s Going On; Voy a Barrer Contigo; La Media Vuelta; Algo Asi. Bonus track – What’s Going On (English version).
Nils Fischer: congas, bongo, campana, guiro, clave, bata, percussion); Joe Rivera: trumpet, flugelhorn; Alex Rodriguez: trumpet, flugelhorn; Alexander Abreu Maresa: trumpet (1, 2, 4, 6, 10); Julio Padron: trumpet (2, 3, 7, 10); Amik Guerra: trumpet (8); Bart Platteau: flute (3, 5-9, 11, 12); Christof Knoche: alto sax (11); Ben van den Dungen: tenor sax (4), soprano sax (9); Albert Kerekes: baritone sax (1); David Rothschild: trombone; Frans Cornelisson: trombone; Amaury Perez Rodriguez: trombone (5, 10); Pablo Rodriguez: violin (5, 6); Mara Tieles: viola (5, 6); Pedro Luis Pardo: tres (10); Carlos Matos: keyboard (2, 3); Marc Bischoff: piano; Ed Verhoeff: electric guitar (11); Carlos del Puerto: baby bass (1, 4, 10), electric bass (2, 3, 8, 9, 11, 12); Adinda Meertins: baby bass (7); Ernesto Paz: baby bass (5, 6); Jose Luis “Changuito” Quintana: timbales (1, 5, 6); Armando Vidal Sanchez: timbales (7); Jose “Pepe” Espinosa: bongo, cajon, quijada, campana; Geraldo Rosales: maracas; Tony Moreaux: bongo (7); Calixio Oviedo: drums, timbales; Lucrecia Perez Saez: vocals (4, 6); Shirma Rouse: vocal (12), backing vocals (8, 12); Alberto Caicedo, Nando Vanin, Fabian “Huracan” Nodarse: backing vocals.
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