Grupo Los Santos

Lo Que Somos Lo Que Sea

On Lo Que Somos Lo Que Sea (What We Are What Will Be) Grupo Los Santos focuses on Afro-Cuban music, with a couple of detours into Brazilian and Flamenco styles. Afro-Cuban music got its start in this country in 1947 when Dizzy Gillespie hired Cuban conguero Chano Pozo for his band and recorded a series of tunes featuring Pozo, among them the fiery “Manteca.” Mambo soon swept the country, and the rest, as they say, is history. However, this New York City quartet (Paul Carlon, tenor sax; Pete Smith, nine-string guitar; David Ambrosio, acoustic bass; William Bausch, drums) puts a different spin on the music: instead of using Cuban percussion, they’ve adapted their instruments to each music’s tradition. The 10 tunes, written either by Carlon or Bausch, feature a lot of intricate unison and highly rhythmic interplay. “Rumbatap pioneer” Max Pollack joins the group on the opener, “Rumba in the Bronx,” and his clickety-clacking meshes well with the group’s sound. After a moody intro, Bausch’s Flamenco-fied “Absurdities and Atrocities” gets a stunning treatment at the hands of guitarist Smith, whose solos are the highlights of this engaging CD.