Maraca Tremenda Rumba

This has a bright, but not sugary, production, with arrangements in the classic salsa tradition. Orlando "Maraca" Valle plays his flute over a number of Cuban styles, and there is plenty of rhythmic variety, with tunes taking slightly unexpected turns, befitting the band's name, "Otra Vision." Maraca incorporates non-Cuban flavours of cumbia and ragga into the mix, mostly successfully, and his own flute playing is technically outstanding, even if he does tend towards the showy. Fortunately, the disc isn't one long flute showcase, and the best tracks are those with the most successful hybrids of rhythm; the cumbia/charanga blend of "El Fuelle" is especially fluid. The trance-y afro-jazz cut "Obbatala Ayacuna" is great too, despite a lethargic trumpet solo. Tremenda Rumba seems designed to have something for everyone, especially in a young/old perspective. There is also a solid remix of the ragga tune "Castigala" to close out a disc that's aimed at the kids. (Ahi Nama)