Londoner Mark "Snowboy" Cotgrove, already a well-established percussionist and bandleader, makes a case for mambo with his second album, "Afro Cuban Jazz." Snowboy's marriage of traditional congas, timbales, bongos and horns with a spirited Fender Rhodes piano and Santana-esque Hammond organ casts a unique, unpolished resonance throughout the listening experience.
The heavily percussive "Aguacero" allows Snowboy's talents to shine over understated horns. "El Campeon del Mambo" is a nod to the Latin forays of New York artists in the '60s, colored by staccato, Palmieri-influenced Hammond mastery. The laid-back, savory grooves of "Ofrenda" offer subtle, tongue-in-cheek references to the Santeria religion. "Afro Cuban Jazz" is more than a fusion of genres; it's an album that conquers the Casio-laden pseudo-mambo of which we've grown weary. Snowboy is Tito incarnate.