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Various Artists: Viva CuBop 3 (2003)

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Various Artists: Viva CuBop 3 No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

As with most “best of” compilations, CuBop’s third features many exciting artists, each of whom can command entire sessions of their own. Michael Turre performs a fiery “Kimbisa” on flute with the band of Bobby Matos. Charles Owens soars eloquently over “My Favorite Things” with Francisco Aguabella’s ensemble. Marvin Horne’s laid-back guitar sings from the heart on a track taken from Caliente Con Soul by Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers.

The album provides a chance to appreciate many of these artists for the first time. One track was never released before. The others, culled from previous albums, were chosen for their merit. Derf Reklaw’s baritone voice gives us a deep look at authentic Cuban chant. A percussion ensemble accompanies his crystal clear voice. The Har You Percussion Group has a lot more than percussion in its lineup. Papo Vazquez delivers “San Jose” with a solidly intertwined of “La Bamba" foundation. Dave Pike’s “Back to the Roots” and Snowboy’s “42nd and Broadway” honor Cal Tjader and Tito Puente, respectively.

Conga player Jack Costanzo reminds us why he’s been able to keep the flame alive for so long. With lead vocalist Marilu and a capable background coro, the percussionist carries the closer forward with a big sound. Gilbert Castellanos raises the roof as Costanzo’s rhythm section pushes the envelope. Afro-Cuban jazz holds much excitement when it comes from Costanzo’s hands.

”Skin And Bones,” from Johnny Blas’ album of the same name, features four powerful trombones with Afro-Cuban rhythm section. In person, these four swing the audience and create waves of enthusiasm. On the album, they’ve re-created all those vibrations. It’s a powerful force.


Track Listing: Just Another Guajira; Kimbisa; My Favorite Things; Mallet Hands; I Don

Personnel: Francisco Aguabella, Munyungo Jackson- congas, bata; Jack Costanzo, Johnny Blas, Jose de Leon, Johnny Grigs, Ray Armando, Billy King, Snowboy- congas; Robertito Melendez, Samuel

Record Label: Cubop

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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