by Nigel Campbell, Caribbean Beat 

Pianist Josean Jacobo has been heralded as the “Ambassador of Afro-Dominican Jazz,” and with that understanding, the listener must negotiate a minefield of ideas and ideologies on “Dominicanness” and the image of the island as a tourist playground. On Cimarrón, Jacobo, along with the band Tumbao — a unique combo of two saxes, drums, and percussion — present a solid interface of music born in the American melting pot of New Orleans and traditional folkloric rhythms from African-descended natives of Hispaniola. His piano soars and floats on the ten songs here, while the polyrhythms of the hand drums and other percussion give credence to a history of solid representation of the music of African souls who have mingled and transformed Spanish-derived sounds to create what we today know as salve, congos, bachata, and more. The language of jazz has broadened in this context, and this album is a distinctive beginning for new listeners

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