ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM CONJUNTO BARROCO -- A Colombia (Maho Records MR 1001). THE SHOW CONJUNTO BARROCO, at Chelsea's, Friday through Sunday.
Conjunto Barroco plays salsa with a Colombian twist. Once strictly associated with a particularly spicy style of Cuban music, salsa has changed since it first gained popularity in New York. Barroco's version reflects some of those changes, especially the broadening of the music's appeal by combining salsa with a variety of Latin American elements.
A young and promising ensemble, Conjunto Barroco has recorded a debut album, "A Colombia," that's more formally arranged than a lot of salsa. Improvisation is downplayed and the music is clearly meant to appeal to dancers. Still, the instrumental mix is hot enough to warrant the label.
Throughout the album, the typical conjunto -- the Latin combo format of percussion and trumpets -- prevails, augmented by David Rothchild's hearty trombone, Ronald Acevedeo's unhurried piano and Julian Rizo's romantic vocals.
At its most spirited, however, the music is ripe with a Cuban flavor. On "A Guarachar," the fiery combination of brass and reeds is particularly striking. Fleshing out the performance are a dozen or so guests who bring considerable color to the ensemble's already festive and vibrant style.