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Once you realize that this pretty much a mixed attempt at a Cuban Timba album encased within two Charanga tunes, things work out a bit better, although not that much.
In the opening tune, "Mi violÃ-n charanguero, the violins sizzle in the hands of Alfredo de la Fé and Enrique Álvarez. Alfredo de la Fé is a notable special guest who has made a truly international career that includes long stints in New York during the Salsa heydays, Colombia, after running in troubles with the North American authorities, and now Europe. The content and execution of the opening composition honors the Cuban Charanga tradition, although that is a large measure of the undoing of this mediocre recording. If you are attempting to revalidate or reinterpret such a musical trek, you had better be ready to hang tough with some awesome musical record of accomplishment. Álvarez, in the end, fails in that regard, albeit, in the final number, "Para mi santo, Álvarez certainly leaves his mark. One should also say that, while these are an exception rather than the rule throughout the album, Álvarez 's violin colors pretty much half of the album.
The rest dwells more closely within the realm of the contemporary Cuban musical flavor or formula, otherwise known as Timba. Once again, when delving into current musical Cuban dance trends, it would behoove you to have burly arrangements, killer harmonic vocal concepts and unique performances in order to compete effectively. You will not find that here.
The line up consists of two trumpets, one trombone, flute, violin, and the usual array of singers and the rhythm section. Now, how would they sound if the exceptional exceptions in the recording became the ruling rule?
Jazz is a creative explosion of individual freedom and communication.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was a kid. My father had a music store.
The best live performance I ever attended was Kenny Garrett in Harlem, New York.
The first jazz record I bought was Saxophone Colossus by Sonny Rollins.
My advice to new listeners is keep listening!