Various Hammock House: Africa Caribe

Various Hammock House: Africa Caribe
Joaquin "Joe" Claussell has more than a dozen years of history in creating organic grooves for the dance floor. He used to be known for "tribal house," but has since minimized that dated sobriquet in his repertoire in favour of less classifiable, but no less compelling rhythms. Here, he takes on Fania jazz numbers from the '70s, remixing and overdubbing them heavily. For better or worse, his penchant for grandeur is constantly evident. Some tracks are over the top ― does Ray Barretto's already florid version of "Exodus" (the movie theme, not Marley song) need two-and-a-half minutes of ripe cheese as an introduction before getting to the point with some religiously rhythmic 6/8 grooves? On the other hand, he straightens out the overblown original arrangement of Eddie Palmieri's "Lucumi, Macumba, Voodoo" into something much tougher. Despite an over reliance on the loungier side of Fania's jazz catalogue, there are more wins than losses, particularly on ballads with wisps of backbeats turned into slow-burners like Ismael Miranda tour de force "Me Voy Ahora." (Fania)