Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

291

Various Artists: Cuban Funk Experience

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
UK mixologist John Armstrong has compiled a collection of "Cuban funk" recordings from the coffers of two record labels: Havana's Egrem and Miami's Sound Triangle, between 1973 and 1988. Like Típica '73's Johnny "Dandy" Rodríguez did back in the 1970s, Armstrong is arguing that Cuban music in the US and in Cuba are two branches of a single family tree. He makes a good case. An interesting experiment is to try to identify which of these cuts comes from which country: it's not easy.

So, the first provocation of Cuban Funk Experience is the assertion that "Cuban" embraces Miami-based musicians as well as those on the island. The second provocation is that there is something, sampled here, called "Cuban funk."

Now anyone who has plumbed the depths of Irakere's impossibly funky "Aguanile"—there's a live version on The Best of Irakere (CBS, 1994)—will be intrigued to explore such a genre. But the notion of Cuban funk poses certain musical problems, not least of which is how to merge funk rhythms with Afro-Cuban clavé. Irakere, in fact, avoided the issue altogether, playing funk first, in the smoking introduction to "Aguanile," followed by an electrified Afro-Cuban segment. And that's what Armstrong does here, alternating funk tunes with numbers based on salsa, son and other Afro-Cuban styles with joyous abandon.

Thus, for example, the presence of Latin percussion on the funk number "Con Mucha Manteca," by Grupo Raíces Nuevas, doesn't make it a Latin number any more than the similar-sounding presence of Latin percussion makes the Dramatics' R&B hit, "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" (Volt, 1972), a Latin number; such accents were par for the course in 1970s R&B. The Cuban Grupo Raíces Nuevas could pass for Con Funk Shun or the Average White Band. Miami-based Manteca's dense percussion workout, "Abacua," meanwhile, is nothing but Afro-Cuban.

Irakere, for its part, is represented here by two numbers, both marked by the virtuosity for which they're known, including mind-bending electronic keyboard solos, presumably by Chucho Valdes; the great Los Van Van, too, is present on two cuts. Most of the rest of the musicians are far less well-known (though Hilario Duran, better known today, pops up for a nice soul-jazz number). And it's among the lesser-known artists that the collection offers up some of its most idiosyncratic and enjoyable gems, both from the Cuban (Orquesta Riverside) and American (Luis Santi) side.

There is precious little Cuban funk fusion here, but ample servings of funk, and lots of Cuban music from both sides of the Straits of Florida. None of this is carping, nor should it detract from the enjoyment of this generous and inspired collection.

Track Listing: Abacua; En Casa Del Trompo No Bailes (Si Para Usted); Un Lamento Hecho Canción; Yo Sí Que Estoy a la Moda; De Eso Nada Monado; Las Jardineras; Takatakata; Pero a Mi Manera; Nana; Los Feligreses; Quindiamo; Rompe Cocorioco; Borriquito; Llegué Llegué; Hasta Mañana; Cosas Que Se Me Occuren; La Inflación de Ofelia; Algo Sabroso; La Contrapartida; Con Mucha Manteca.

Personnel: Manteca (1); Orquesta Riverside (2); Los Reyes '73 (3); Orquesta Monumental (4, 15); Ray & His Court (5); Pello El Afrokan (6); Irakere (7, 11); Los Van Van (8, 14); Coke (9); Luis Santi (10); Grupo Algo Nuevo (12); Peter Fernández (13); Los 5 U 4 (16); Oscar Peña (17); Nelson Padrón (18); Hilario Durán (19); Grupo Raíces Nuevas (20).

Title: Cuban Funk Experience | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Nascente


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Child in Me CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Way Home CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Fractured Pop" CD/LP/Track Review Fractured Pop
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "That's What She Said..." CD/LP/Track Review That's What She Said...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Jersey" CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of That" CD/LP/Track Review A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of That
by James Nadal
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh" CD/LP/Track Review Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 22, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor