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Steve Kroon

El Mas Allá (Beyond)

After years of having worked with artists such as the Temptations, Bette Midler, Kenny G., and the late Luther Vandross, Latin jazz percussionist Steve Kroon has finally released his own album. It's short, comprising only 10 songs. Of those, nine are instrumentals; the sole vocal track here is a remake of Stevie Wonder's "Superwoman/Where Are You." But Kroon's reverence for his musical forebears runs deep — the title of the album itself is a tribute to past legendary percussionists. On songs such as "Bo Bo's Blues," he harks back to the styles of the late greats (in this case, the track's namesake, Willie Bobo). "Brazilian Sugar" resurrects the stylings of Brazilian drummer Dom Um Romão, and on "Precious One," Mongo Santamaria gets a respectful re-examination. All in all, the album's laidback vibe makes it the perfect summer soundtrack for a barbecue, a road trip, or any occasion at all.

 
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