A baker’s dozen of musicians gather under the direction of leader, composer and arranger Roberto Linares Brown, who is the chef de cuisine for this ambitious Latin buffet. Almost arrhythmically, a rapper named Jaime descends upon the mid-tempo melodies a moment before the bridge is built and brings a meringue-sweet flavour to the party called Que Me Digan Loco. It might be off-putting to hear such literal rap lyrics try to merge with the music, but it’s an experiment that succeeds in the end.
Brown confidently handles a mature and diverse collection of melodies, rarely failing when incorporating some slightly shocking spices into the mix. If Pitbull’s abrasive reggaeton was as enticing as that heard on Salsa Con Reggaeton, maybe it wouldn’t have fallen flat on mainstream American radio. If more of the brilliant brass work from the grand finale gets played at the Lula Lounge, the place may never close.
Roberto Linares Brown heats up Lula Lounge Friday (February 22).