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npr: First Listen: Alfredo Rodriguez & Pedrito Martinez, 'Duologue'

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Duologue is a reminder that one of the surest ways to get to the music of West Africa is to stop in Cuba first.

Pianist Alfredo Rodríguez and percussionist/vocalist Pedrito Martinez have each established a foothold in a Cuban music scene that has its roots in West Africa. They combine their impressive musical talents on an album that demonstrates how flexible those traditions can be when matched with visionary musicians and a seemingly boundless innovative spirit.

Setting Martinez's inspired vocals against a patchwork of beats - including a bit of jazzy funk, as well as Afro-Cuban santería references - Duologue reminds us that the piano is considered a percussion instrument. The mind-melding between the two is sublime, with melodic rhythmic patterns performed on piano as well as a variety of beat-makers big and small.
PHOTO: Anna Webber/Courtesy of the label

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