MARACA Tremenda Rumba! (Ahi-Nama) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Boasting an all-star cast including Tata Güines, Changuito and Wilfredo Campa, Cuban flutist Orlando "Maraca" Valle's latest hot-stepping fusion of Afro-Cuban roots music and high-energy Latin jazz is at once modern and old school. Tremenda Rumba! is fuelled by Santera percussion but takes an almost big-band approach to the arrangements, which are full of energy and bluster while avoiding the cheesy keyboard fills typical of a lot of contemporary Cuban music. It's a surging mix, but sadly, the most modern tracks here are included as an afterthought. Valle commissioned a handful of remixes from hotshot Cuban producers, and while the results aren't exactly blazing by club music standards, Maraca does offer a glimpse of the future of Cuban music.