The backbone of Louie Vega's Element of Life projects, Luisito Quintero is one of the today's greatest and most creative percussionists. Combining Afro-Latin rhythms with jazz and bossa nova sounds, Elements of Life was a worldwide hit. While on tour with the Elements of Life band for the past three years, Luisito has shared the stage with Robert Plant, Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys and more.
Oil and Hugo Chavez dominate the news from Venezuela, but this brilliant debut CD, by the Caracas-born percussionist Lusito Quintero, who has toured and recorded with everybody from Oscar D'Leon to Alicia Keys, should provide a well-deserved respite from those headlines. The title track is a three-track timbales tour de force, and Quintero's rousing rendition of Tito Puente's immortal "Four Beat Mambo" shows his debt to the master. The late Ray Barretto is saluted with sizzling syncopation on the torrid take of "Acid," and the Fania All Star-fueled "Quintero's Jam," with pianist Hilton Ruiz, is a Latin jazz workout. Quintero's sonic citizenship extends to the Brazilian bossa nova cut "Aquilas Coisas Todas," Fela's Afropop anthem "Gbagada, Gbagada, Gbogodo, Gbogodo," featuring bassist Francis Mbappe, and "M'Bongi," which is pulsed by central African drums. South American by birth and culturally Caribbean, Quintero is well-versed in Afro-Cuban rhythms and is adept at applying them in a diasporic context. --Eugene Holley, Jr.