Descarga en California
Descarga en California offers the best of both worlds. The music is familiar, like home, and yet the performances are so daring that one can't help but feel that they are hearing compana for the first time. Though the disc is noticeably void of piano solos, which seems strange at first, Rebeca Mauleón certainly makes her presence known. She has a swing and grace to her style that is unmistakable, the spine of the band. Percussionists Armando Peraza, Orestes Vilato, and Giovanni Hidalgo supply more than enough mind-bending, time-shifting solo phrases to make up for the lack of showing off on the part of the band leader. With an unmistakably West Coast taste for backbeat, the priority of every tune is the pocket, an unwavering groove, cut deep by Cuban drummer Jimmy Branley. Every single tune twists and winds it's way to top-of-the-lungs coro-shouting intensity before fading out, in true descarga style. The arrangements are smart and tasty, with the confident touch of an artist who has nothing to prove, just wanting to make truly good music. The soloists, on the other hand, play with reckless abandon, like they have nothing to lose. It is exactly Mauleón's ability to find this balance that distinguishes her as one of the hippest bandleaders in Latin music today. Latin music fans can only hope that there's alot more where Descarga en California came from.