Category Archives: Music

Paquito d’Rivera’s Big Band Time, Elio Villafranca’s Encantaciones, and various artists’ The Rough Guide To Latin Jazz

In 1997 Ry Cooder caused a sensation with a CD that he called Buena Vista Social Club. The whole world hailed Cooder’s best-selling “rediscovery” of a generation of Cuban musicians, some in their 70s or even 80s, who had been … Continue reading

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Puentes Brothers’ Morumba Cubana

Mike Stiles wrote this review. Alexis and Adonis Puentes are purveyors of the Cuban son (“sone”) musical tradition. As children they spent much time among artists the likes of whom frequented the legendary Buena Vista Social Club. Morumba Cubana is … Continue reading

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Orlando Poleo’s Sangre Negra

Big Earl Sellar wrote this review. Hailing from Venezuela, Orlando Poleo is one of the artists at the forefront of World Jazz in Europe. This is not the type of Afro-Jazz of Tito Puente, nor that of Hugh Masakela, but … Continue reading

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Vieja Trova Santiaguera’s Pura Trova: The Best of Vieja Trova Santiaguera & Live and Rare Tracks

Big Earl Sellar wrote this review. Pura Trova is a two-disc set with comprehensive booklet, in semi-box set form, by Vieja Trova Santiaguera, a collection of Cuban son performers. More or less a put-together group, VTS features artists in their … Continue reading

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Viva Mindelo’s Fantcha

Big Earl Sellar wrote this review. The Carribean dance music styles seem to be in vogue right now, from older Cuban styles to more modern Latino intrepretations of other Western styles. As this market has picked up, there’s been a … Continue reading

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Ry Cooder & Manuel Galban’s Mambo Sinuendo

At this point Ry Cooder has not released an album under his own name for 15 years, not counting soundtracks. He last dabbled in the commercial music industry with 1992’s Little Village, a band made up of Cooder, John Hiatt, … Continue reading

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Conjunto Casino’s Montuno en Neptuno #960, and Julio Padron Y Los Amigos De Sta. Amalia’s Descarga Santa

Americans seem to have a fascination with things which are forbidden. Since the Revolucion, the Republic of Cuba has existed in a virtual state of invisibility for North Americans. Music from Havana would appear once in a while, usually in … Continue reading

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La Sonera Calaveras’ Numero Uno!

La Sonera Calaveras is a Scotland-based Cuban son group, featuring a number of very talented musicians led by Gerardo Ballesteros, who sings lead vocals, plays percussion and shares songwriting credits on the majority of Numero Uno!, their first album. Held … Continue reading

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Ibrahim Ferrer’s Ay, Candela, Eliades Ochoa’s A la Casa de la Trova, and Omara Portuondo’s Sentimiento

Ibrahim Ferrer, Eliades Ochoa and Omara Portuondo were three of the main participants in 1996’s groundbreaking, multi-platinum Buena Vista Social Club recording that returned Cuban jazz to the world stage. The Cuban state recording company EGREM, through its New York-based … Continue reading

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Benny Moré’s Ritmo, Juan Formell y los Van Van’s Por Encima Del Nivel, Irakere’s Bacalao Con Pan, Chucho Valdes’s Virtuoso, and various artists’ Guantanamera

The Escondida label continues its releases under the Cuban Essentials title, highlighting some of the best music and musicians from the vaults of the Cuban state recording studios, EGREM. Begun in 2005 with career overviews of some of the famed … Continue reading

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