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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

3D

By Phil Freeman
Published June 27, 2006

Ritmo De Vida
GMG

Latin music is too frequently defined by the rhythm, and consequently melodic invention goes out the window. 3D doesn’t have that problem. Ritmo De Vida has enough variation throughout its 10 tracks (eight, really—the last two are English-language versions of the first two, which is slightly disappointing) to keep even listeners unfamiliar with the vast variety of Latin rhythms enthralled. The two songs that open the disc, “Mi Amor To Volveras” and “Sobrevivir,” are nice, the former in particular, but it’s when the band flexes its instrumental chops that things really get going. “Country Cubano” is a wild trip through at least three or four genres, combining Afro-Cuban polyrhythms with twangy country guitar for a “Ghost Vaqueros In The Sky” effect. But before the track’s over, the listener seems to have wound up at a particularly high-spirited black church service. The slow-burning tune that follows, “Otra Vez,” is entirely different, its melancholy horn charts seeming inspired as much by the title track from Steely Dan’s The Royal Scam as “real” Latin music. And “Con Los Manos Arriba” is a straight soca rave-up.