Pollen's production is on point, as is the musicianship. Opening number "El Sueño" introduces the record's exploratory expanse, punctuated with brassy notes and string swells. The title track playfully bounces on an ecological theme against a background of African-influenced rhythms; "Raro Mirar," or "weird look," artfully examines the immigrant experience; Alex Cuba's brother Adonis Puentes rides a funky groove with vocals on "Mi libertad."
Pollen is a collaborative affair. Brazilian percussionist and bandleader Maninho Costa joins in the proceedings with the vibrant "Muchacha" and session guitarist Elmer Ferrer lends a rock vibe on "Te Le Escapas a los Años," while fellow bassist Roberto River and percussionist Chendy León combine for the soothing instrumental jazz number "Entendimiento."
Rodriguez revels in his Afro-Caribbean lineage on Pollen, a tightly crafted and expressive effort. (Lulaworld)