Forrest Dylan Bryant Jazz Times Magazine
Hailing from Winnipeg, Canada, Papa Mambo is an intrepid ensemble that mixes up Latin styles old and new. On their second CD, percussionist/bandleader Rodrigo Muñoz keeps the band grounded and grooving as they meander from traditional South American rhythms to son, salsa and even reggaeton. This quirky group flourishes in the giddy title track, the oblique melody and complex handclap beat of “Tornado,” and the kitchen-sink mashup “New Dirt,” but the straightforward and danceable “Convidame” also stands out.
-Forrest Dylan Bryant
Nick McMahon The Manitoban July 18, 2007
♥♥♥♥ Drawing from Winnipeg’s enormous jazz talent pool, Papa Mambo features some of the best jazz musicians that our city has to offer. Their latest project, Crooked Cha, has something for everyone; balancing experimental jazz intellect, accessible jazz and infectious Latin styling, percussionist band-leader, Rodrigo Munoz, unifies the diverse group of songs together with his smoking rhythms. He beats his congas and bongos with energetic precision like a shaman entering a trance, adjusting the groove to suit the song. The opening track, Blue Barron, kicks off with some of Munoz’s most electrifying drumming, while displaying the exceptional compositional skills of trombonist/pianist Jeff Presslaff. Dave Lawton (trumpet and fugelhorn) and Ken Gold (saxophones) complete the horn section, providing tight, dynamic melodies and complex harmony throughout the album. “Crooked Cha” and “Convidame’ force listeners to loosen their hips and commence salsa dancing, as lead vocalist Hyalmar Gonzales belts out catchy Spanish lyrics.