Those in the know understand that Toronto — by virtue of its cosmopolitan, multi-cultural nature — has a thriving salsa music scene. The latest from Sean Bellaviti & Conjunto Lacalu, Toronto Mambo, takes full advantage of this fact; this 10-track project taps into the scene by way of an 11-piece ensemble, founded by pianist Bellaviti and primarily comprised of Canadians of Cuban descent. This includes Afro-Cuban percussion, bass, piano, Cuban tres guitar and a three-trumpet horn section.
Toronto Mambo weaves its own spin on the Afro-Caribbean sound in a reverent and expansive fashion. Seguing into rumba to bolero to mambo, the album successfully manages to capture a vibrant live sound on record. Tracks like the deceptively smooth "Cabello Viejo," the sweet strains of "Lucy" and the high tempo of the title track reveal why the Canadian salsa scene cannot be overlooked. (Lulaworld)