Putumayo is known for compilations that are rich in research and care and highlight little-known gems from around the world.

Putumayo is known for compilations that are rich in research and care and highlight little-known gems from around the world. Latin Groove, which showcases bands that fuse Latin rhythms with elements and styles ranging from hip-hop and rap to dance and electronica, finds some such gems, notably New York band Si*Sé's "Bizcocho Amargo" and Colombia's Aterciopelados' better-known "El Estuche." But, by and large, if the tracks on this album have escaped commercial notice, it is less from neglect than from lack of distinction. Sure, Latin Groove is entertaining, in the way your neighborhood band entertains at a neighborhood party. For the most part, this is fusion at the most pedestrian level, with montunos and refrains repeating ad nauseam under banal raps and very basic improvisation. If only there was more seamless fusion, or a better interpretation and understanding of what Latin music should sound like, this compilation could get its groove back.—LC

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