Robin Jones Afro-Cuban Rhythms

Mr. Jones has been a leading exponent of all forms of Latin rhythms since the '60s. He has been both a leader and a session player on many pop, jazz and Latin releases. Here he works out a number of different Afro-Cuban forms with a small ensemble. The songs are known only by the names of their rhythm patterns: "Mozambique," "Marcha," "Rumba," "Conga" and "Bembe." These rhythm workouts are interspersed with remixes by some reasonably well-known artists, such as Fila Brazilia and Fretless AZM. The project has an educational feel about it: probably the strongest aspect of this CD are the liner notes, which detail the geographic origin and history of each rhythm. Jones' rhythms are well played, but suffer from an unflattering recording. Furthermore, they are mastered too quietly in relation to the remixes, which diminishes their impact. The remixes themselves frequently have good grooves, especially those by Bullitnuts and Audiomontage, but for the most part, are powered by breaks and drum kits. It's unfortunate that the remixes chose not to use more than a few samples from the original tracks; it would have been more interesting to hear technological reinterpretations of the rhythms and the Latin instrumentation so carefully described in the liner notes. That said, Tim Love Lee ends the disc with a space echo workout on the "Marcha" rhythm that dubs the original track into outer space, exposing nuances in the playing that are buried in the original and not present in the remixes. (Kudos)