NILS FISCHER & TIMBAZO

Rumberos a Montón tour

On Rumberos a Monton, a renowned European percussionist leads an all-star group of musicians from five Caribbean and South American countries, plus Holland, Germany and the U.S. in celebrating the music of Cuba, especially the rumba. Why can't the rest of the world come together like that?


Although he hails from The Netherlands (via Germany, the land of his birth), Nils Fischer, the founder and leader of Timbazo, has a special fondness for the music of Latin America and plays a key role in the ensemble's rhythmic substructure. The album consists of two lively permutations of the rumba (and others of its close relatives including Puerto Rican salsa dura and Cuban timba), one bonus track (an English-language version of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," sung by Shirma Rouse) and radio edits of "Timbazo Llego," "Maferefun Yemaya" and "Voy a Barrer Contigo." Needless to say, rhythm predominates, irrespective of mood or tempo, and there are vocals on every number, by a lone singer or a group.


Fischer, who doesn't lack for help in carrying out his percussive mission, plays congas, bongo, campana, guiro, clave, cata and bata, supporting other rhythmic stalwarts from drummer Calixto Oviedo and pianist Marc Bischoff to Jose Luis "Changuito" Quintana and Armando Vidal Sanchez (timbales), Jose "Pepe" Espinosa (bongo, cajon, quijada, campana), Geraldo Rosales (maracas), Tony Moreaux (bongo), Ed Verhoeff (guitar) and bassists Carlos del Puerto, Adinda Meertins and Ernesto Paz. Brass and woodwinds are present to some degree on every track, violin and viola on "Emboba" and "Palo Pa Changuito" (a showcase for "Changuito" Quintana's timbales). In addition to Rouse, the vocalists are Lucrecia Perez Saez, Alberto Caicedo, Nando Vanin and Fabian "Huracan" Nodarse.


If you are partial to Latin music in general and the rumba in particular, Rumberos a Monton should lift your spirits and brighten your day. Timbazo is an exemplary ensemble,

and the music is unquestionably well-played and well-recorded. Those who aren't enkindled by Latin themes or dances, no matter how colorful, may wish to look elsewhere for pleasure and enlightenment.

By JACK BOWERS, Published: May 2, 2015