Face it, when it comes to authentic Cuban music, we are all just lurkers. Sure, you’re a fan of Dizzy Gillespie’s Cuban-jazz, but Dizzy and his import musicians, Chano Pozo and Mario Bauza, infused jazz with the feel of Cuba. It was, and is, glorious music, but it is a type of fusion. In recent times Cuban-Jazz is reemerging on major jazz labels with the likes of Pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, percussionist Ray Barretto and saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera. Ry Cooder’s trip to the Buena Vista Social Club in Havana discovered (rediscovered) a vast talent pool of Cuban musicians including Ruben Gonzales and Ibrahim Ferrer. I’m still not sure what Steve Coleman’s Cuban collaboration record, Transmissions of Metaphysics Culture was all about.
This authentic document was not smuggled off of Castro’s Island, nor was it traded for that nine year old boy making headlines. It was recorded in California utilizing the finest Cuban musicians living here and in Cuba. The musicians include; Al McKibbon bassist for both Dizzy Gillespie and George Shering, Pianist Chucho Valdes whose 1999 release for Blue Note received critical acclaim, Cubanismo members Carlos Del Puerto, Jr. and Maraca Valle, Grammy winner and killer trombonist Jimmy Bosch, 83 year-old vocalist Pio Leiva, and several young Cuban lions. From Romantic ballads to fiery dance numbers, the musicians give us not “world music,” but distinctly Cuban music. No wonder Dizzy and so many others incorporated these sounds into our modern American vocabulary.
Track List:Romanza Guajira; Una Rumba Con Dos Tres; Chucho Carabali; Rica Y Caliente; Afrekete Suite; Anga Y Jimmy; Solo Y Triste; La Comparsa.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.