Haiti Direct - Big Band, Mini Jazz & Twoubadou Sounds, 1960-1978
by Various Artists
Haiti's grooves lack the popularity of reggae, soca or son, but the accessibility of these 28 cuts of dance music may surprise you. Compiler Hugo Mendez favors the real Antillean deal, meaning not just méringue but such offshoots as compas direct (slower), mini-jazz (smaller bands), rara (very traditional), and Cuban-influenced twoubadou (troubadours) and cadence rampa (mambo-ish). If those genres sound unfamiliar, don't worry. Juggle the rhythms as best you can while enjoying the surf guitar, Afrobeat organ and alto saxes. Plus, a "Hotel California" adaptation called "Jive Turkey."