A cigar documentary with great but fragmented soundtrack
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Both focuses of "Rhythm & Smoke" are interesting- but this DVD is more smoke than rhythm. There are two separate documentaries- both primarily about the process of Cuban cigar-making. The first part shows cigar making (without commentary) interspersed with wonderful & interesting but fragmented clips (or sometimes just audio) from a great variety of Cuban music. "Rhythm & Smoke" is often frustrating, as we hear a great band (or solo) but cannot see them- in favor of cigar making scenes, or have them cut-off prematurely. Rhythm & Smoke includes folkloric Santeria drumming, folk music, Afro-Cuban, salsa, jazz, timbales, scat/vocal, pop, rock, timba...mostly live, some studio. This dvd includes Changuito (former Los Van Van master percussionist/ inventor of songo drumset), Cristal, Carlos Varela, Afrojazz, Sintesis, and many others. The on-location ambience shots are an interesting cultural snapshot. Recommended to musicians- bit not the quality of "Buena Vista" or "Calle 54"."