Panamanian singer-musician Rogelio Mitchell has teamed up with some of the best musicians from the Los Angeles area in his first CD as a resident of the States. Mitchell's travels through South America as well the yearly Carnaval festivities and Calypso musicians that influenced him are evident in every song as he blends tropical beats with a soothing touch of jazz in his arrangements.
The most appealing aspects of the recording are indeed the arrangements and instrumentation. Many of the songs begin with a strong reggae beat supported by definitive bass and percussive rhythms which smoothly transition into jazz-tinged choruses.
The tracks Lead Us Love, Love is the Rock, and What's Ahead are perfect examples of the blend of reggae and jazz rhythms which mix nicely. Perhaps the most impressive and enjoyable song to listen to, because of its beautiful instrumentation and creative arrangement, is the seven-minute long track I'm With You.
The first half of this spiritual song has an easy-listening sensation to it with a contemporary base. Unexpectedly, about three-and-a-half minutes into the song, there is a strong break section which segues into the second half of the song, which takes on a quicker tempo. The percussions add such a vibrant touch to this song which is worth listening to over and over again just to fully soak in all of the musicians' efforts. Treat the Lady Right lends itself nicely to movement as do the constant reggae beats of I Don't Mind.
The most uplifting and festive song on this CD is Carnaval Celebration which instantly makes you want to dance. Mitchell's voice is especially pleasant and relaxed on the track Stylish. What's Ahead has the power to set a romantic mood and get your feet tappin' to the beat at the same time. Mitchell and his crew did an impressive job on his American debut.