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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

SNOWBOY AND THE LATIN SECTION

By Judson Kilpatrick
Published March 24, 2006

Para Puente
Cubop/Ubiquity

Snowboy (a.k.a. Mark Cotgrove) is a British conguero and hard-driving mambo maestro as well as a DJ, music journalist and promoter. His life is steeped in Latin jazz, and with this album, he pays tribute to the King of Mambo Tito Puente. He started out in the “acid jazz” scene, providing peppery percussion for Lisa Stansfield, Basia and the James Taylor Quartet, but over the past several years, his releases have taken on a much more traditional Latin jazz sound. Leading his U.K.-based band, Snowboy charges through seven extended jams, none of which happen to be Puente covers. Rather, it is the fiery spirit of these recordings—their very essence—that is the actual tribute. Of the man that popularized the synthesis of Afro-Latin rhythms and jazz, Snowboy says, “Without him there would be no us.” So, though it may seem strange to be getting one’s Latin jazz from England—there are several authentic masters on this same label—Snowboy’s burning passion is undeniable, and this is a fine tribute indeed.