When faced with a choice between a hot, noisy dance club or a six pack and Diagnosis Murder on a Friday night, I usually opt for the latter. Yet if there is any compelling reason to venture out more often, this release by Batidos is certainly one. This music is made to dance to, and while it is contemporary, it retains an element missing from much dance music today: soul and heart. Comprised of DJ Ron Trent and multi-percussionist Jay Rodriguez, on this release they are surrounded by excellent jazz and Afro-Latin musicians. These elements flow together like water and have none of the harsh, staccato fast rhythms that characterize so much dance music today.
The opening track, “Just a Dream,” clearly sets the mood for much of the rest of the album with the programmed beats and the tasteful keyboard work. Another excellent track, “Tengo Sed,” combines city sounds with an upbeat rhythm that sets the music alight. Throughout, the piano playing keeps the melody rooted allowing the trumpets and sax free reign to explore the limits of the song.
If for no other reason than that you are a fan of Afro-Cuban and Latin rhythms, you should check out this disc. If you feel there is something missing from your music collection — a little heart, perhaps — check out Batidos.
Six Degrees Records, PO Box 411347, San Francisco, CA 94141