Alive and Kicking

Despite being entombed in the recent PBS series, Gumbo shows why jazz is very much alive and well with a fine batch of new releases

Few labels are as iconoclastic -- and obviously less money-driven -- as Arhoolie, which this month releases Lamento Borincano: Early Puerto Rican Music, 1916-1939."File Under Puerto Rico," reads the back of the CD -- yeah, should be no trouble finding room. Whether the listener is corralled by the label's brazen attempt to snag Buena Vista Social Club members, the two discs' 50 selections time-trip you to an era and locale musically more colorful and romantic than you might imagine.

On Deep Rumba's A Calm in the Fire of Dances(Justin Time/American Clave), producer/composer/percussionist Kip Hanrahan again pursues his Latin lusts. Though the sax of Neville Brothers' Charles Neville occasionally squeezes through the bank of drummers, this is primarily a percussion fest that, at 8 on your volume knob, will cure your home of rodent problems.

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