It’s a quite particular form of excitement generated at the intersection where the precision and energy of multi-member percussion sections collide. Multiple percussionists are found in spectacularly diverse contexts, from the minimalism of Steve Reich to South India’s Carnatic music; from the Middle-East to the profusion of percussion textures populating sub-Saharan Africa. Near the pinnacle of the percussive arts comes Cuba’s music, and a large slice of the success of Sydney’s Mucho Mambo in revisiting the sound of Cuban big bands from days of yore is due to its thrilling four-piece percussion section of Giorgio Rojas, Dominic Kirk, Fabian Hevia and Jess Ciampa. These are heavyweight musicians: players who know how to let the music breathe one moment and then explode in a riot of colour the next.
But obviously this must just be part of a bigger picture, and bassist Martin Taylor’s band is utterly convincing in all departments: horns, vocals and songs, not to mention the crucial role of the piano, here played by Nick Southcott. And the arrangements? They epitomise that collision between precision and energy, highlighted all the while by congas, timbales and the rest.