It was Cecil Taylor (and there were probably many more who came before him) who said that if you cannot dance to music then it is not worth listening to. This is exactly what makes Jazz and all Latin music so irresistible. It is the fact that when it is being played it is impossible to sit down and listen to and while it happens with most music, the best Latin music will also be quite unforgettable. This is certainly true of Nils Fischer and Timbazo and their recording Rumberos a Montón. What is remarkable about Nils Fischer as a percussionist is that his clave is perfect. Not many European percussionists are proficient in the complexities of Latin American rhythms. The volcanic polyrhythms of Africa are not easy to master. Add to that the influences of Moorish and Spanish inflections melded in with those of the Caribbean and you have a matrix that might actually be near impossible to master. But Nils Fischer has done just that.
This album proves the point. But it is also a masterful production; a coming together of many master musicians from Cuba and several from Europe in a joyous encounter. There’s visceral rhythmic excitement in the opening (and title) piece on the album. Its writer, Guillermo Fernandez, seems to have written this for Timbazo. He must have suspected the energy that the band possessed and the similarly enigmatic relationship with tonality as well. The same could be said of almost all of the music on this album. Even on the slower and more thoughtful pieces on the album, where the music may be considered more profound and linear (“What’s Going On” for instance). What could be a (comparatively) dry piece is lifted off the page by passionate vocals and orchestral arrangements for the brass and woodwinds, who bring the accuracy and tonal refinement to the music enhanced by the lively recording. The soli are so “in-the-pocket” that you cannot help marvelling at the free-flowing and lyrical sonorities.
Much of the music—and this is true of the language of Afro-Caribbean music on the whole—is more tonally-based even when it comes to rhythm. This is because the music of the traditional instruments is held together rhythmically, by tuned percussion: timbales in this case. You can hear this on all of the tracks. It’s immediately appealing, and just when you’ve had enough of one musical groove, gesture or texture, another refreshing one comes along. Much of the allure comes from the rhythms that have been liberated of all musical constraints. At the end of it all you are left with a feeling of pure ecstasy. While this album is the epitomé of a collective effort it bears mention that performances by the power of Lucrecia and the irreverent percussion of Changuito are outstanding. None of this would have been possible without the extra-musical ingenuity of Nils Fischer as well, because he has a true Cuban soul.
Track List: Rumberos a Montón; Timbazo Llegó; Maferefún Yemayá; Flores Parate Altar; Emboba; Palo Pa’ Changuito; Sabor a Bombón; What’s Going On; Voy a Barrer Contigo; La Media Vuelta; Algo Así; What’s Going On; Timbazo Llegó; Maferefún Yemayá; Voy a Barrer Contigo.
Personnel: Nils Fischer: congas, bongó, campana; guïro; clave; catá, batá and percussion; Calixto Oviedo: drums and timbales; José Luis Quintana “Changuito”: timbales (1, 5, 6); Armando Vidal Sanchez: timbales (7); José Pepe Espinosa: bongó; cajón; quijada and campana; Gerardo Rosales: maracas; Tony Moreaux: bongó (7); Marc Bischoff: grand piano; Jan Laurens Hartong: grand piano (11); Carlos del Puerto: baby bass (1, 4, 10) and electric bass (2, 3, 8, 9, 11, 12); Adinda Meertins: baby bass (7); Ernesto Paz: baby bass ( 5, 6); Ed Verhoeff: electric guitar (11); Lucrecia Pérez Sáez: vocals ( 4, 6); Shirma Rouse: vocals (12) and backing vocals (8, 12); Alberto Caicedo: vocals and backing vocals; Nando Vanin: vocals and backing vocals; Fabian Nodarse “Hurácan”: vocals and backing vocals; Joe Rivera: trumpet and flugelhorn; Alex Rodriguez: trumpet and flugelhorn; Alexander Abreu Manresa: trumpet (1,2, 4, 6, 10); Julito Padrón: trumpet (2, 3, 7, 10); Amik Guerra: trumpet (8); David Rothschild: trombone; Frans Cornelissen: trombone and 3rd trombone (2, 7); Amuary Pérez Rodriguez: trombone (5, 10); Bart Platteau: flute (3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12); Ben van den Dungen: tenor saxophone (4) and soprano saxophone (9); Pablo Rodriguez: violin (5, 6); Mara Tieles: viola (5, 6); Pedro Luis Pardo: tres (10); Carlos Matos: keyboard (2, 3); Albert Kerekés: baritone saxophone (1); Christof Knoche: alto saxophone (11).
About Nils Fischer
Nils Fischer belongs to Europe’s most important percussionists, touring and recording constantly with his own groups Timbazo, CaboCubaJazz and Skins & Keys, with Nueva Manteca as well as with many others such as The Cubop City Bigband [for 17 years] and Drums United [12 years]. He has shared the stage with such luminaries as Giovanni Hidalgo, Pío Leiva, Orestes Vilató, Armando Peraza, Paquito D’Rivera and Chocolate Armenteros. Read more…