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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

LOS HOMBRES CALIENTES

By TOM ORR
Published May 2, 2006

Vol. 4: Vodou Dance
Basin Street Records

Not only do they make some of the hardest-hitting fusion music around, Los Hombres Calientes sound like they have loads of fun doing it. Led by venerable veteran percussionist Bill Summers and hot young trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, the band continues to explore boundless common ground uniting African diasporic music in the Western Hemisphere. The prevailing sense of easiness not only bespeaks the group’s home base of New Orleans, but gives the whole disc a natural flow from samba, rumba and reggae to rara and second line jazz. While a song like “Vodou Hoodoo Babalu” might sound blasphemous to someone taking orishas seriously, there’s no doubting the respect that Summers, Mayfield and company have for the many traditions they tap into. Note how cunningly “Trinidad Shuffle” weaves the sounds of a distant steel pan orchestra with a melancholy shuffle, or how an old warhorse like “Iko Iko” sounds inspiringly fresh. A full plate of soulful sounds, great guest artists and knockout grooves await you.