Sounds – CD Reviews – Goza Conmigo

Goza Conmigo
Latin Beat Magazine; 5/1/2001

On this follow-up to their critically-acclaimed debut Danzonemos (Candela Records), the San Francisco Bay Area's resident danzón orchestra serves up a refreshing new menu of classic themes and innovative fusion. Led by renowned folklorist-dancer-percussionist Roberto Borrell, the group is made up of an impressive cast of musicians from the jazz and classical worlds. With lush complicated arrangements written by musical director Trager Otton, the opening selections – Mi Chachachá, Popurri a Francia – acclimate you to their sonic atmosphere and transport you to imaginary Havana when people like Arcaño y sus Maravillas ruled the cabaret scene. Mayeya, No Jueges con los Santos is a beautiful son-salsa with tres guitar and the commanding strings of las cuerdas del terror – Kash Killion (cello), Sandy Poindexter (violin), and Otton (violin). The melodic voices of flautist Jesús "Chus" Alonso and clarinetist Don Gardner add a super dressing to the ingredients. But the neo-traditionalists are evolving with dancehall-inspired Otton originals – Goza Conmigo, Compay Ven a Guarachar, and a songo rendition of Canta la Ceiba, Baila la Palma Real. With a percussion section that includes Borrell on the tumbadoras and Michael Spiro on the pailas, the grooves are solid yet delicate in delivery. Lots of surprises: the Orestes López theme Los Tres Bailadores cross-pollinated with the American standard, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, Noe Fajardo's Juarez, and the son Sol de Verdad. Overall jazzy harmonies, cool solos, super ensemble playing; great swing and a well-captured recording make this a must for lovers of charangadanzón music. (JV)