en-us Timba.com http://www.timba.com Cuban Music News. HAVANA D'PRIMERA - LA VUELTA AL MUNDO Havana D'Primera - La Vuelta al Mundo Cover

I can say this with confidence and without having listened to a single track yet - one of the biggest timba releases of 2015 has just come out! Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera "La Vuelta al Mundo" is now available at CD Baby in MP3, MP3-320 and FLAC (lossless) format! I have downloaded mine already! Havana D'Primera is one of very few groups whose albums I will buy without having to listen first. But as soon as I have had a chance I will be back with preliminary thoughts! Go get your copy now! Click here to listen or to download.

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 09:55:25 -0400
New Beyond Salsa Video

This is the longest one yet - 55 minutes - so I added a Table of Contents of links in the description so you can skip around - there are sections for dancers, drummers, and fans of various groups. 
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:58:29 -0400
Houston Jazz Alert One of the best Jazz clarinet/saxophone artists from Cuba, also an excellent composer, is Ernesto Vega, who works in Houston,  Texas currently.  You can read a review of his debut recording Venir al Mundo here, and a recording with him and Harold López Nussa together is due to be released in Cuba later this year. 
On Friday, March 27, Ernesto will be presenting a performance of his own compositions with his quartet at Cezanne, a nationally-recognized Jazz Club in Houston. You can see all of the details here.  You can also hear his English-language interview with Bill Tilford in the Bill's Bag segment of Frankie Pineiro's The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition on WSLR on Tuesday morning,  March 24 (the show runs from 10am to Noon Eastern time, and you can stream it here.)   If you are in or near Houston, and you like Jazz, don't miss this.  A video taste of Ernesto at work:

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 21:11:36 -0400
Yissy García, Chuchito Valdés & Brian Lynch
Chuchito Valdés
is doing 9 shows in Trio at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago between Thursday, March 20 and Sunday, March 23.  Musically, Chuchito just keeps getting better as he ages. For complete schedule and tickets, click here

Fresh from some concerts in Miami that are getting raves, Yissy Garcia now moves on to New Orleans. On Saturday afternoon, March 21, she will be performing at the Congo Square New World Rhythms festival, and WWOZ will play a recording of her music on Sunday, March 22.  The WWOZ website, which contains the Congo Square lineup as well, is here.  Then, at 8pm the same day (March 22), she will perform at the Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro.  Catch her group, Bandancha, live if you can - it's a live representative of the new wave of Cuban music that I keep shouting about.  If you can't see it live, catch the WWOZ broadcast.   

Finally, in a recent blog entry about Latin on Lex in New York, I mentioned that one of the artistic directors was Brian Lynch.  He is performing with Phil Woods and We Six at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Jazz Festival in Milwaukee on Friday, March 20.  As best as I can determine, this will be straight-ahead Jazz but very much worth checking out.  This is part of a larger festival that runs from March 19-21.For complete details, click here

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 22:10:49 -0400
SF SalsaRueda Festival Photos Are Up! Tom Ehrlich has posted two galleries on the 2015 SF SalsaRueda Festival, featuring Mayito Rivera, Timbalive and hundreds of phenomenal dancers from around the world.



Sun, 15 Mar 2015 16:58:21 -0400
More about Moncada, Conan, Casino, Life, The Universe, and Everything ENGLISH: In Havana, Grupo Moncada (their leader, Jorgé Gómez, was in the first few minutes of the Conan O'Brien special about Cuba), frequently gives concerts at the Jardines del 1830, which has become known as a destination for Casino dancers in that city.   
An interesting piece of the story is that Conan's encounter with Moncada also drew the attention of Rolling Stone, not normally known for showing a deep interest in our part of the musical spectrum. You can check out the Rolling Stone item here.   I doubt that this wlll turn all of  its readers into Casineros overnight, but there is no doubt that it  does help the cause...
Finallyto add a Cuban perspective, you can read a communique from the Press Office of the National Center For Popular Music in Cuba here. 

ESPAÑOL:  En La Habana, Grupo Moncada (su líder, Jorge Gómez, aparece en los primeros minutos del episodio especial  de Conan O'Brien sobre Cuba), da conciertos  con frecuencia en los Jardines del 1830, un lugar que se ha conocido como un destino para los bailarines de Casino en esa ciudad. 
Una parte interesante del cuento es que el encuentro de Conan con Moncada también señaló a la atención de la revista Rolling Stone, normalmente no conocida por mostrar un interés profundo en nuestra parte del espectro musical. Puede ver el item de Rolling Stone (en inglés) aquí. Dudo que este articulo transforme a todos sus lectores en casineros de repente, pero no hay duda que es ayuda a la causa ...
Por último, para añadir una perspectiva cubana, puede leer un comunicado de la Oficina de Prensa del Centro Nacional de Música Popular en Cuba aquí.

Sat, 14 Mar 2015 20:08:11 -0400
Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor Tour Starts Today UPDATE! The audio for the 10th Anniversary concert DVD is now available at iTunes!
Click here to preview and purchase the audio tracks from "Cerrando Filas"

Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor DVD - Cerrando FilasNew DVD Cerrando Filas

Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor are back in Europe where they will visit 6 countries and play 13 concerts in only 15 days before heading to Martinique to conclude their tour. The first concert will be held tonight in Argenteuil (Paris), France at the Festival Caribedanza. They will also perform in Belgium, Germany,  Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Italy. Click here for the list of concerts

The band has been busy with new songs and finishing the DVD of their 10th anniversary concert from 2014 titled "Cerrando Filas". They have released a few teasers for the DVD and it is definitely on my to-buy list! Salsa Mayor is one of the best live performances you can catch. See for yourself! Or Click here to preview and purchase the audio tracks from "Cerrando Filas"

Sat, 14 Mar 2015 05:34:14 -0400

SO, if I were in New York, I would be spending the next three nights at 92Y in New York. The poster above shows the tip of the iceberg - Eddie Palmieri takes the first night with the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Octet; the second night is themed New Cuban New York with Yosvany Terry, Gregory Tardy, Manuel Valera, Pedrito Martínez, Hans Glawischnig and Obed Calvaire; the third night, Bolero Meets Jazz, features an all-star 11-piece ensemble (including Xiomara Laugart on vocals and Phil Woods on alto sax)  and a pre-concert talk with Brian Lynch, the Artistic Director of the Festival. Unless there's a power outage, the storm of the decade or an asteroid strike, this should be epic. For complete details and tickets, visit the 92Y event page here. 

Wed, 11 Mar 2015 15:15:56 -0400
Global Cuba Fest Part II PLUS: I.  Global Cuba Fest Continues

Yissy García swings into Miami with her new project Bandancha for part 2 of Global Cuba Fest. She'll be at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse (404 NW 26th St., Miami on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14.  Yissy is part of a new wave of Jazz/Fusion groups in Cuba, and this is a don't- miss if you're able to attend. For more information, visit the Fundarte event page

II.  Jorge Luis Pacheco and Aldo López-Gavilán at the Kennedy Center

For those of us who missed Part I of Global Cuba Fest, we can watch two of the pianists playing at the Kennedy Center's  Millennium Stage the next day thanks to their video archive.  To watch the 2-hour concert of Jorge Luis Pacheco and Aldo López-Gavilán, click here

III. New Omar Sosa Album

Omar Sosa has released an interesting new album, ilé, that was recently featured on NPR's First Listen.  You can read Bill Tilford's review here, and Omar's team has also published a very nice EPK preview, which you can view below....


Tue, 10 Mar 2015 23:33:56 -0400
GLOBAL CUBA FEST PLUS: WHO IS THAT MAN? ENGLISH:  Global Cuba Fest begins in Miami Saturday, March 7 with a don't-miss lineup featuring a marathon of some of Cuba's superb young pianists (Harold López-NussaAldo López-Gavilán and Jorge Luis Pacheco) followed by Volcán with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Horacio El Negro Hernández, Giovanni Hidalgo and Armando Gola.   A Latin Fusion group from Switzerland, Lariba, closes the show.  It continues on Saturday 13-14 with Yissy García and Bandancha, an exciting new project in the current music scene in Cuba.  Bill Tilford interviewed Yissy, who is in  DC March 7,  via telephone earlier this week, and you can listen to that (in Spanish) by clicking here.   Yissy's YouTube channel is here and worth visiting. 
Fundarte's page is here

ESPAÑOL: Global Cuba Fest comienza en Miami el sábado 7 de marzo con una "no se lo pierda" colección de artistas ofreciendo un maratón de algunos de los pianistas jóvenes magníficos de Cuba (Harold López-Nussa, Aldo López-Gavilán y Jorge Luis Pacheco), seguido de Volcán con Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Horacio El Negro Hernández, Giovanni Hidalgo y Armando Gola. Un grupo de fusión latina desde Suiza, Lariba, cierra el espectáculo. Global Cuba Fest continúa  13-14 de marzo con Yissy García y Bandancha, una nuevo proyecto emocionante en la escena musical actual en Cuba. Bill Tilford entrevistó a Yissy, que está en  DC el 07 de marzo, a través del teléfono a principios de esta semana, y para escuchar la entrevista, haga clic aquí.  El canal de Yissy en YouTube está aquí y vale la pena visitar.  
La página de Fundarte está aquí

L: Jorge Gómez, R: Bill Tilford, La Habana, Cuba, May 2014

ENGLISH: If you happened to watch the Conan O'Brien episode about his trip to Cuba, you would have seen him handling a guitar in the presence of a bandleader during the first few minutes. That bandleader was Jorge Gómez of Grupo Moncada, who is also a man who helped Bill Tilford get around during Cubadisco 2014.   You can see a photo gallery and learn a little more about the group here
ESPAÑOL:  Si le pasó a ver el episodio de Conan O'Brien sobre su viaje a Cuba, habría visto a Conan manejando una guitarra en la presencia de un líder de una banda durante los primeros minutos. Ese líder de la banda es Jorge Gómez del Grupo Moncada, que también es un hombre que ayudó a Bill Tilford a ir a muchos lugares durante Cubadisco 2014. Puede ver una galería de fotos y aprender un poco más sobre el grupo aquí.

Fri, 06 Mar 2015 20:46:37 -0500
Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival Fiesta del Tambor 2015

The 2015 Havana Rhythm and Dance Festival begins tomorrow at 8:30 pm at Teatro Mella with a tribute to drummer Chuck Silverman, who passed away unexpectedly almost a year ago. Chuck was well-known to many of the writers and readers here at Timba.com. He was a great educator and driving force behind Afro-Caribbean rhythms in drumming. Participating in this opening show and tribute are Afrocuba de Matanzas and guests; Osaìn del Monte and Rodney Barreto; Jeff Coffin`s Big Band Project and Yoruba Andabo. Havana's annual festival of drumming and dance under festival president Giraldo Piloto is a must-see event. Click here for the full program

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:30:37 -0500

This is another of the new wave of modern Cuban music groups that are mixing Cuban music, Funk, Jazz Hip Hop and other genres successfully.  Yissy's group is also interesting for other reasons - their next album will be crowdfunded, and this may open the door for more of this activity by Cuban artists if all goes well.  They just finished in New York, will be in Knoxville, then off to DC, then Miami.   Here's a taste of recent New York concert from Yissy's You Tube channel:

March 7, 13, 14; April 11, 2015
Miami Dade County Auditorium and The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse
Opening night, March 7, features a marathon of some of Cuba's superb young pianists (Harold López-Nussa, Aldo López-Gavilán and Jorge Luis Pacheco) followed by Volcán with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Horacio El Negro Hernandez, Giovanny Hidalgo and Armando Goia.   A Latin Fusion group from Switzerland, Lariba, closes the show.   This should be an explosive evening.  Yissy comes in on March 13-14, and Omar Sosa comes in on April 11.  For complete details, visit the Fundarte website here

The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage in Washington DC will have the Harold López-Nussa, Aldo López-Gavilán and Jorge Luis Pacheco part of the program on March 8. 

We recently mentioned Septeto Santiaguero's forthcoming release, No Quiero Llanto - Tributo a Los Compadres.   Word has it that the Septeto will be premiering a video at Billboard Latin on April 28 followed by official release on May 12.  Stay tuned. 

Finally, Chicago musician/bandleader Lise Gilly went to Jazz Plaza 2014 in Havana with several other musicians including Andrea Brachfeld.  Lise was kind enough to write about her trip, and you can read her impressions of Jazz Plaza here. 


Sun, 01 Mar 2015 00:15:30 -0500
Conan in Cuba As most cubanophiles know, Conan O'Brien recently recorded an episode in Cuba that will air on March 4th. Among other things he joined in a rueda at the popular dance club 1830. He definitely has a style all his own. Here are some spots from his web site. Below is a tourist video of Conan's dance stylings, which we can see in full on Wednesday. I especially like the "jumping jacks" move. Other current visiters to Cuba include Paris Hilton and Naomi Campbell.

Sat, 28 Feb 2015 06:20:57 -0500
Calixto Pre-Release Party Calixto Oviedo Why I am Here Tour

Get ready Los Angeles because Calixto Oviedo is coming at you with his Latin Jazz Train Quintet! They are currently in the process of recording a new CD of Calixto's signature danceable Latin Jazz under the production of Manny Gonzales SA and Calixto Oviedo at Maracatumba Studios in L.A. You can get a sneak peek at what is coming this Wednesday February 25th when Calixto's Latin Jazz Train Quintet will  give a pre-release concert at Trattoria 25 2510 S. Santa Fe Ave. The concert will include special guest Lily Hernández on vocals. For reservations and more information contact (626) 818-4464. It's free admission and parking! Don't missit!

Mon, 23 Feb 2015 06:58:33 -0500
Conga al estilo de Havana D'Primera Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera are in the studio in Miami working on their third CD with the title "La Vuelta al Mundo". They uploaded a clip from the studio of a conga they have recorded and you have never heard a conga like this! There's a reason they are called D'Primera. Here it is to get you excited about what's to come: conga-timba al estilo de Havana D'Primera! If you're in Miami, don't miss their matinee today at The Place of Miami at 6:00 pm.

Alexander Abreu y Havana D'Primera están en el estudio in Miami trabajando en su tercer CD con el título de "La Vuelta al Mundo". Ellos cargaron un clip desde el estudio de una conga que han grabado y te juro que nunca haz escuchado una conga como este! Hay una razón por la que son llamados D'Primera. Aquí está para que te entusiasma acerca de lo que está por venir: conga-timba al estilo de Havana D'Primera!  Si estás en Miami no pierdas el matinee hoy en The Place of Miami a las 6:00 pm.

Sun, 22 Feb 2015 06:12:32 -0500
Interview with Alain Almeida Alain Almeida Manzanares

Alain Almeida Manzanares has been singing timba since he was 18 starting with Sello L.A. and later with groups such as La Charanga Forever, Michel Maza y La Bola and Roberto Armas y Los Conquistadores del La Salsa. It was with the latter orchestra that he finally settled in Lima in 2002, where he also worked with A1 Banda and Barbaro Fines y Su Mayimbe. In March 2013 Alain started his own timba band "La Constelación de Cuba" with a repertoire based on original compositions by himself and musical director and arranger Osuan Ponciano. The band will soon be finishing their first CD - "Pa' Lante y con Fe" - that they plan to release in time for their second anniversary party which will be hosted by the nightclub Makumba in Lima on March 28th. They are also in the process of filming the official video for the hit single "Hoy serás mía". We took the time to do a short interview with Alain. Click here to read the interview where he talks about how he got into music and what led him to start his own band. Dale cliq aquí para leérlo en español. Below is a video with lyrics of "Hoy serás mía" but this is not the official clip that is coming; it's just a teaser. To keep up with the band, you can follow them at the Constelación D'Cuba Facebook page

"Hoy serás mía" with lyrics

Sat, 21 Feb 2015 14:32:34 -0500
La Fantasía @ Descarga Los Van Van - La Fantasia

The new Van Van album "La Fantasía" is now available at Descarga.com in hardcopy. It is their best album of the past decade so you don't want to miss it! Click here to read Bill's review. It's the best way to prepare yourself for the upcoming US tour celebrating 45 years of Van Van. For more information about the tour click here.

Tue, 17 Feb 2015 13:10:44 -0500
Complete Program Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival Fiesta del Tambor 2015

As promised we have uploaded the full program for the 2015 Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival. Over six days music and dance events will be held in nine venues across Havana. In addition to the percussion competition and the Casino competition, highlights include the Giants of Percussion at Teatro Mella March 4th at 8:30pm and the concerts at La Tropical on March 7th and 8th with Paulo FG y la Èlite, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Cándido Fabré y su Orquesta, Lazarito Valdés y Bamboleo, Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco, Giraldo Piloto y Klimax,  Jose Luis Cortés y NG la Banda, Compañía Santiago Alfonso, Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor, and El Niño y La Verdad. Click here to check the full program or to download the program in PDF format, click here.

Mon, 16 Feb 2015 14:55:02 -0500
CUBAN MUSIC NEWS FEBRUARY 14, 2015 I. Mezcla Celebrates 30 Years, Releases New Album Pure Mezcla

Since Mezcla was already performing in public before the band was officially named, even its leader, Pablo Menéndez, is uncertain about which day should be considered its birthday, but 2015 is the 30th Anniversary year of one of Cuba's foremost Fusion groups, and the group is currently engaged in activities related to that milestone in Cuba. 
Oakland-born Pablo Menéndez and Cuban-made Mezcla have served as a cultural bridge between Cuba and the United States for decades.  A key moment in that history came in 1993, when 5 of the 8 band members were denied entry for a US tour by the State Department.  This galvanized activists and the musical community in the Bay Area.  The lawsuit that followed, Encuentro del Canto Popular vs. Christopher, helped set the course of the subsequent career of one of the leading attorneys in the US for assisting US-Cuba cultural exchanges, William Martinez, and it also helped cement the Bay Area's reputation as a supportive center of the music in the United States.   The show went on after a fashion in 1993 with Santana and some members of his band performing with Pablo Menéndez and Lazaro Ros in place of Pablo's full band.  Here's a clip from Yerba Buena Gardens from that time...  

In 1999, Pablo Menéndez, Bonnie Raitt & Woody Harrelson performed together at an event in the Karl Marx Theater in Havana called Music Bridges in which 40 Cuban musicians and 40 musicians from the US collaborated in a joint songwriting and performance effort.  Sadly, subsequent events in the United States a couple of years later prevented the musicians in both countries  from fully developing the opportunities presented by this project.

In more recent years, Mezcla has placed more emphasis on both Jazz and Folkloric fusion elements including a wonderful DVD made in Cuba, Todos estrellas del Jazz cubano.  Mezcla's current fans include Arturo O'Farrill and Orbert Davis among many others.  

Now, Mezcla has just released a new album, Pure Mezcla, which contains the best parts of a live concert at Yoshi's Oakland in 2013.  The album is already getting airplay across the planet (literally, from Canada to Australia) and is drawing favorable reviews in the music press. Best of all, the intial release is an exclusive download with bonus content on Latin Pulse Music. Don't wait for something to turn up on Amazon or I-Tunes - those are fine services, but the label (Tilford Productions, run by yours truly) has no plans of putting it there in the near future because we were able to load liner notes, bonus content etc. on LPM, and these things matter to us. 
Click here for the album page, which includes sample videos, audio samples and review clips. 

II. Next

The 7th Annual San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival

February 19-22, 2015
Hotel Whitcomb
1231 Market Street, 
San Francisco, CA 94103. 
Ticket Info
Quite simply the best and most important festival of its kind in the United States.  Of very special interest to TIMBA.com's visitors will be the performances by Mayito Rivera (who incidentally  also blogs for us from time to time) and Timbalive and two lectures by our Editor in Chief Kevin Moore on clave and its relationship to the basic dance step. People come from considerable distances to attend this event. Here's a link to Kevin's review of last year's performance of Mayito and Timbalive at this same festival.

III:  Happy Anniversary to Septeto Santiaguero!

Septeto Santiaguero, one of Cuba's best traditional Son bands and a group that has been working with an impressive collection of guest artists in recent years, celebrated its 20th Anniversary on February 2.   Their forthcoming new recording (in May 2015) will be No Quiero Llanto - Tributo a Los Compadres, a joint project with José Alberto El Canario. You can read our review of this excellent recording here in English and aquí en español

IV.  Meanwhile, in Chicago: 

Many Chicagoans are enjoying the 14th Annual
Chicago International Salsa Congress this weekend, and on Sunday, February 15, the Pedrito Martinez Group is doing two shows (5 and 8pm) at City Winery.  We aren't positive, but we think this may be the PMG's first visit to Chicago featuring their new lineup. PMG is a regular visitor here, and the winery has named one of its selections after them. 

Sat, 14 Feb 2015 20:17:45 -0500
Cuban Cornucopia ENGLISH: Cubadisco 2015 is now in the early stages of considering recordings for its awards program (Cubadisco is many things including Cuba's equivalent of the GRAMMY awards), and it is now inviting submissions for the Symposium that takes place during the event.  Each year has a central theme - this year that theme is symphonic and choral music. For more information (in Spanish) about the upcoming 2015 event, click here.  
There is a section dedicated to Cubadisco in which we recently posted the Edición Resumen, the final publication (in Spanish) of the annual event .  For more information, click here
ESPAÑOL: Cubadisco 2015 se encuentra ahora en las primeras etapas de considerar las grabaciones para su programa de premios (Cubadisco es muchas cosas, incluyendo el equivalente de los premios Grammy de Cuba), y ahora se está buscando las presentaciones para el simposio que tiene lugar durante el evento. Cada año tiene un tema central - este año  el tema es la música sinfónica y coral. Para más información (en español) sobre el próximo evento de 2015, haga clic aquí.
Hay una sección dedicada a Cubadisco en la que recientemente hemos publicado la Edición Resumen, la publicación final (en español) del evento anual. Para obtener más información, haga clic aquí.
ENGLISH: Eliel Lazo in Chicago:
Eliel brings an exciting mix of Songo and Cuban Funk to new listeners.  To see a photo gallery and summary of his performance in Chicago, click here
ESPAÑOL: Eliel Lazo en Chicago:
Eliel trae una mezcla emocionante de Songo y Funk cubano a nuevos oyentes.  Para ver una galería de fotos y un resumen de su actuación en Chicago, haga clic aquí.
ENGLISH: Global Cuba Fest:  
A VERY exciting festival featuring Cuban artists is coming up in Miami in March.  For more information, click here
FINALLY:  Congratulaions to Arturo O'Farrill for his GRAMMY win (Best Latin Jazz Album) for The Offense of the Drrum.  To read a review in English, click here

Sun, 08 Feb 2015 20:00:30 -0500
Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival - 2015 Fiesta del Tambor 2015 Havana

One month from today sees the start of the 2015 Havana Rhythm and Dance Festival. This is one of the major Cuban music and dance events every year with masters classes and performances as well as competitions for hopeful young percussion musicians in the categories drums, timbales, congas, bongos and batá. The Festival also hosts the International Competition in Casino Dance. Prizes are provided by the event sponsors, which include Hotel Palco, Melia Hotels, Havana Club S.A., Sabian Co, Pearl Drums, Evans, Regal Tip, Bucanero S.A. among others. The competitions are open to both Cubans and non-Cubans. If you are interested in participating, you can click here for contact information

After an intense day of classes and competitions, relax in the evenings with the top bands in Cuba including Havana D'Primera, Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor, Manolito Simonet, Paulo FG, Klímax, Robertico Carcarsés and Interactive, Companía Santiago Alfonso, Companía Liszt Alfonso, Havana Dance Compás, Muñequitos de Matanzas, Afrocuba Matanzas, Osaín del Monte, Yoruba Andabo, Rodney Barreto, Oliver Valdés, Ramsés Rodriguez, and Eliel Lazo among others.

The complete program with times and venues for all events will be released shortly so stay tuned! As travel opportunities open up, this festival is a must for musicians and dancers who want a chance to learn from the very best. Click here for the full announcement with contact information.

Dale cliq aquí para leer la convocatoria en español. 

If you need any more convincing, just check out this video from the 2014 Festival!

Klímax - "Aquí estoy" Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival 2014

Tue, 03 Feb 2015 13:50:27 -0500
Interview with Samuel Formell Formell y Los Van Van 2015 United States Tour

I spoke to Samuel Formell today and he was about to leave Miami and return to Cuba. The orchestra will be in the US in July 2015 through August 25th.

Read our "La Fantasía" album review (in English) here 
Oprima aquí para leer nuestra reseña del nuevo disco de Los Van Van "La Fantasía" (Español)

Formell y Los Van Van 2015 United States Tour"This year marks the 45th anniversary of LOS VAN VAN and preparations are underway for this summer's 2015 USA Tour, in support of our new album La Fantasia, created an as homaje to my father, Juan Formell." Samuel said. "Jenny, Roberton, Lele and Mandy will be singing on this tour. We have dates already booked for San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Miami with many more to come. We look forward to the return of EL TREN and he will be performing with a 15-piece band."

Searock Music LLC proudly announces the U.S. 2015 tour of Formell y Los Van Van, Cuba’s legendary, Grammy-winning dance orchestra.  Performance dates will be posted on www.Searockmusic.com and on Facebook under SeaRock Entertainment.

Heralded as Cuba’s greatest dance orchestra and known throughout the world for their iconic live performances, Los Van Van return to then US, reuniting with Leo Tizol, the producer and creative force behind their 1996 debut tour of the U.S.

Founded in 1969 by Juan Formell, Los Van Van continue to dominate as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of contemporary Afro-Caribbean music.  Fans can expect to hear the group’s greatest hits along with work from their more current CD releases. 

Continuing the legacy of the late Juan Formell, his son Samuel, the band's artistic director, has left no doubt that the group will follow the footsteps of his father. The tour of Los Van Van will present compositions from their latest production entitled La Fantasía ("The Fantasy"), a collection of danceable tracks incorporating innovative, contemporary arrangements of Juan Formell’s hits from past

“La Fantasía es el mejor album de los Van Van”- Samuel Formell

For group availability, contact:
Searock Entertainment - Leo Tizol - Tour Producer/Artist Representative
 (917) 687 - 2486

Ernesto Lago - Tour Producer 
(917) 617 - 5708

Formell y Los Van Van 2015 United States Tour

Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:39:22 -0500
Jazzin’ - A New Magazine on Puerto Rican Music

Tom Ehrlich has discovered a new magazine -  Jazzin’, reporting on jazz in Puerto Rico and   scheduled to release its first monthly issue in February, 2015. It will include interviews, reviews of recordings, listings of concerts and more. The magazine will be distributed mainly in Puerto Rico in clubs and restaurants, but the magazine is available to people outside the island for the cost of shipping and handling. If anyone is interested in getting a subscription to this magazine, contact Wilbert Sostre at wsostre@gmail.com. 

Thu, 29 Jan 2015 23:22:48 -0500
PALO! - "La Malanga Resbala" Exclusive World Premiere PALO! anticipates Grammy(R) week with video premiere and concert. - Miami’s Afro-Cuban Funk band PALO! has much to celebrate: A Grammy nomination and headlining a concert at one of Hollywood’s top music venues. In anticipation of Grammy Week, timba.com is featuring the Exclusive World Premiere of their music video “La Malanga Resbala”.

PALO! storms Los Angeles on February 3rd for Grammy week with a series of high profile appearances on TV, radio and digital media. (Follow “gopalo” on social media to keep track.) The week culminates with Music’s Biggest Night: The 57th Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 8, 2015.

On Friday, February 6, PALO! will be performing at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood.
Tickets can be purchased here.  

“We are blown away.” said Steve Roitstein, the group’s founder and pianist, when asked about their Grammy nomination. “We started PALO! to have fun and make music we’re proud of. Happily, our fans like it too. But this kind of industry recognition was totally unexpected. It’s a real honor.”

The video for “La Malanga Resbala” features a 1950’s-influenced approach. PALO! collaborated with directors Ralf Gonzalez and Andrew Peña, art director Rene Quesada, and fashion designer Yas Gonzalez, who created singer Leslie Cartaya’s look. “They did a fantastic job to reflect our mix of vintage and contemporary sounds.” Roitstein told timba.com. “The Cuban flavor is echoed in the visuals.” In addition to the Grammy Nomination for Best Tropical Latin Album of the Year, the album “PALO! Live” was also nominated for a 2014 Latin Grammy. For more information about the group, see gopalo.com.

Wed, 28 Jan 2015 04:00:40 -0500
New Mezcla Video Update With Mezcla's 30th Anniversary this year, a few things are happening:  Last week, Radio Metropolitana had a special segment devoted to Mezcla during the week, and on February 15, a new release, Pure Mezcla, will be unveiled as a digital download on Latinpulsemusic.com. There will be some special concert events featuring Mezcla in the weeks to come in Cuba.
A very popular video with unmastered audio of a song from their live concert at Yoshi's Oakland in 2013, Mambo Influenciado, has been on Mezcla's YouTube channel for months; a mastered audio version has now been published on YouTube as a leadup to the new album release:  

This is a great time to be in Chicago if you love Cuban Jazz and Funk.  Orlando Sanchez Soto (Cubajazz)  and Danae Blanco are thriving on a riff at Sabor a Café - you can read more and see a photo gallery here.  
Then, on February 6-7, Eliel Lazo is coming to the same establishment for a concert and workshop (we covered Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine a few posts back.)  Finally, the Pedrito Martínez Group comes to Chicago at the City Winery on February 15.  This has become the PMG's regular annual outpost in Chicago, and we believe this will be the first time there with their new lineup. 

Tue, 27 Jan 2015 07:03:05 -0500
Ear ... Meet Hook With or without the autotune, I can't get these coros out of my head. Hat tip to Antonio in Oz for the heads up. And lots of Emilio Frías coming shortly - stay tuned.

Sun, 25 Jan 2015 09:15:32 -0500
Tiki Tiki - Video debut from TIMBEROS DEL NORTE Oh yeah! Timba from Texas... Austin, Texas to be exact. The first and self-titled album by TIMBEROS DEL NORTE was named one of the Top 10 Austin Releases (see below).  Grammy-winning trombonist / arranger Raul “Ralo” Vallejo and pianist / producer Paul “Pauly” Matthews spearhead this 10-piece outfit featuring multi-layered vocals and horns in an impressive and enticing 12-song collection of heavily rhythmic Cuban jazz and pop. 

Album download / CD available here = http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/timberosdelnorte

"Timberos Del Norte, self-titled. Deep danceable grooves driven by ebullient horns and vocals mark this collection of Cuban music that sounds like it could have come straight out of Havana but was made right here." -- Peter Blackstock, Austin American Statesman newspaper

Click on their album cover below to visit their website.

Tiki Tiki - Video debut from TIMBEROS DEL NORTE

Tiki Tiki - Video debut from TIMBEROS DEL NORTE


Role - InstrumentName
Vocals Tito Cuba, Wawy Cabrera, Danerys Echevarría, Monica Salas and Samaria Pérez-Stanford
Piano Paul "Pauly" Matthews
Trumpets / Guiro George Shalda
Trombones Raúl "Ralo" Vallejo
Bass Framy Díaz
Drums / Percussion Carmelo Torres
Horn arrangements Raúl Vallejo, Pauly, George Shalda
Recording engineers Geroge Shalda & Paul Matthews
(Beardog Studios)
Mixing engineer Richie Pérez of SoundsRight (Miami)
Mastering engineer Michael Lazarus of Latinmusicmastering.com
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 01:24:13 -0500
New Documentary: This one features some very choice footage, lots of music history, and my new "Ken Burns" trick. 

Sun, 18 Jan 2015 22:32:20 -0500
NG La Banda en Vivo To whet your appetites for the upcoming Calixto Oviedo youtube, here's a particularly encendiary concert from the mid-1990s.

Sat, 17 Jan 2015 19:44:26 -0500
Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros

Subrosa, Blue Note’s new Cuban-themed club located in the heart of the Meat Packing District, has wasted no time in establishing itself as one of Manhattan’s central clubs for Latin music since opening its doors in November of 2014. The club has served as the new headquarters for the Pedrito Martínez Group as well as regular appearances by Pepito Gómez, Ariance Trujillo and other members of New York’s Cuban Music Community.

While the core motive of this establishment has been to feature NYC Cuban artists, Subrosa has been wise to include representatives of other genres as well. Groups ranging from Rana Santacruz’s original Mexican folk, the Colombian Jazz sounds of Pablo Mayor and even the indie rock meets salsa-dura fusion of the Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra are among the recent and upcoming attractions on Subrosa’s calendar.

An upcoming event of particular note is by none other than Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros. Mr. Contino will be debuting his most recently recorded song “Quisiera Saber” this coming Tuesday Jan 20th at Subrosa. In many ways, the venue is the perfect fit for Contino, his music and his new single. A true believer in the power of cultural diffusion, Contino has often looked to influences outside of his home country in terms of his original compositions and even the members of his own band. His first recording as a leader “Somos Latinos”, while at its core being a Cuban Salsa record, incorporates strong influences from other Latin genres including Cumbia. Ina addition, Contino has collaborated with a wide range of musicians including Peruvian Folkoric Group Kambalache Negro. “Quisiera Saber” is no exception, written in the style of Colombian Vallenato mixed with a healthy dose of pop and Contino’s undeniably Cuban voice.

Contino’s sets will start at 7pm and 9pm and tickets can be bought online via Subrosa’s website. Of course more information on other concerts and events by Contino and his band can be found on his website and Facebook page. Subrosa is located at 63 Gansevoort Street in Manhattan. 63 Gansevoort Street

Sat, 17 Jan 2015 15:14:22 -0500
Tom's Haila Gallery Click here for Tom Ehrlich's gallery from Haila Mompié's recent Bay Area shows.

Fri, 16 Jan 2015 02:57:25 -0500
New Single By Mezcla: "I'll See You In C.U.B.A."

ENGLISH: This song (in English), composed by Irving Berlin and interpreted by Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla arrives at a very convenient time given the ongoing public discussion about travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens.  It is a single from the forthcoming album Pure Mezcla, which will be released on February 15th.  The digital release will be via Latin Pulse Music, with which this website is affiliated. 
This is the first of two alternate videos that will be released for this song.  The second one will be released in a few days.  
ESPAÑOL: Esta canción (en inglés), compuesta por Irving Berlin y interpretada por Pablo Menéndez y Mezcla llega en un momento muy conveniente dada la discusión pública en curso sobre los viajes a Cuba de ciudadanos estadounidenses. Se trata de un sencillo del próximo álbum Puro Mezcla, que se lanzará el 15 de febrero. La versión digital estará disponible a través de Latin Pulse Music, con la que este sitio web está afiliado.
Este es el primero de dos videos alternativos que se lanzarán para esta canción. El segundo, se dará a conocer en unos días.

Thu, 15 Jan 2015 09:57:02 -0500
Estocolmo Se Pone Caliente La Liga Habanera - Estocolmo Se Pone Caliente

La Liga Habanera released their first album "Tremenda Unión", in the summer of 2013. They are back heating up Stockholm's cold, dark winter with their new single "Estocolmo Se Pone Caliente". The songs starts with a tribute to NG La Banda's "El Trágico" and quickly slips into a dance groove with an urban edge courtesy of rap by Bamma B. Definitely timba caliente. We asked bandleader Max Alton to tell us a little about the song.

"Daniel Baro (Flecha) wrote the lyrics together with me, except for the rap which was written by Kevin Dennis (Bamma B) from Trinidad Tobago. Daniel is a singer from Havana who has sung in various son orchestras. The arrangement is by me, Oldrich González, and Petter Linde. We are also working on another song that will be released in 2015."

"Estocolmo Se Pone Caliente" has been released at iTunes and Spotify. Dale clic para escuchar!

Daniel Baro (Flecha) - Lead vocals
Bamma B (Kevin Dennis) - Rap
Oldrich Gonzales - Piano
Aleksander Bdarski - Bass
Alexander Waljansson - Guitar
Jan Kohlin - Trumpet 1
Rickard Lindgren - Trumpet 2
Johan Åström - Trombone
Pablo Cepeda - Backing vocals and congas
Max Alton - Drums, timbales, güiro, bongo and backing vocals
Måns Ek - Mixing
Farmerstreet studios and Mastertone studios

Mon, 12 Jan 2015 13:28:54 -0500
New Radio Segment Featuring Cuban Jazz
 There are several excellent programs that feature Cuban Jazz on the radio in the United States.  One of the very best (and most progressive) is The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition with Frankie Pineiro, who is also a conguero and leader of several musical groups including Guisando Caliente, Viva Cal and Proyecto Son.  This program can be heard during alternate Tuesdays from 10-am-Noon Eastern Time (US) @ WSLR, 96.5 LPFM in Sarasota, Florida.  Frankie also loves Timba and includes a little in his program from time to time. 
Beginning January 13, 2015, I (Bill Tilford) will be joining the program with a new short segment, Bill's Bag, to feature recent Jazz recordings made in Havana and beyond. (many of these  have or will have reviews  in Timba.com).  I am extremely excited about the opportunity to work with Frankie Pineiro to help share the wonderful new Jazz being recorded today, and I hope that you will be equally excited as soon as you listen. 
ESPAÑOL:  Hay varios programas excelentes que ofrecen el Jazz cubano en la radio en los Estados Unidos.  Uno de los mejores (y más progresistas) es The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition con Frankie Pineiro, quien también es conguero y líder de varios grupos musicales, entre ellos Guisando Caliente, Viva Cal y Proyecto Son.  Este programa se puede escuchar durante los martes alternos de 10am-mediodía (hora del este, EE.UU.) @ WSLR, 96,5 LPFM en Sarasota, Florida. Frankie también ama la Timba e incluye un poquito en su programa de vez en cuando. 
Comenzando el 13 de enero, 2015, yo (Bill Tilford) me uniré al programa con un nuevo segmento corto, Bill's Bag, con el fin de ofrecer grabaciones recientes del Jazz hechas en la Habana y más alla (muchas de ellas tienen o tendrán reseñas en Timba.com).   Estoy muy emocionado por la oportunidad de trabajar con Frankie Pineiro para ayudar a compartir el maravilloso nuevo Jazz que se está grabando hoy, y espero que ustedes estarán igualmente emocionados en cuanto ustedes escuchen.   

Sun, 11 Jan 2015 10:06:10 -0500
Osvaldo Chacón - Se Te Cuela Osvaldo ChacónOsvaldo Chacón is back with "Se te cuela"

Osvaldo Chacón is back with his third CD "Se te cuela", which will be released in 2015! He has uploaded a teaser with clips from the album as well as a four-minute video of his new arrangement of "Te gusto" - the new version of his hit song with Bamboleo. The videos are already making waves with timba fans around the world.  

We asked Osvaldo a few questions about the upcoming album.

This year you will release "Se te cuela", a CD containing nine songs. Who are the authors and arrangers of the songs?
I am the author and arranger of all 9 songs and all mambos (horns) that you are going to hear. The other musician who helped me (the co-arranger) is a young man named Gelmis Castillo Suarez who wrote piano, bass and percussion. He is a very talented young man. He has worked with Azúcar Negra, Son14 and is planning to work with Leo Vera and Tania Pantoja.

What studio did you recorded in?
The recording was done in Studio Forever Music and the recording and programming was done by Daynel Castillo (CUPIDO) who is working with "El Balacero" now! He is a young man of great talent and professionalism in his work. He has produced hundreds of projects for reggaetoneros: El Yonky, Jacob Forever ex-Gente D 'Zona, etc. It was a lovely experience!

Who are the musicians who recorded?
Daynel Castillo Reyes (CUPIDO)  - Programing, all Percussion
Gelmis Castillo Suarez - Arranger, Piano, Bass
Lester Mancebo Magdariga - Trombone
Luis R Fuentes - Trumpet (Sierra Maestra)
Leyanis Campos Marrero - Corista
Gabriel Rodriguez Ducamger - Corista
Rubén Rodriguez Ducamger - Corista 

Tell us about plans for concerts in the UK and Europe.
I have a lot of plans, first to promote the CD well. I'm hoping to sign with a label and start making some videos to have a good start. The new version of "Te gusto", a song I recorded with Bamboleo years ago, has had a viral acceptance. I think the new arrangement is cooler. In just three days on YouTube it had over 400 hits. Many DJs around the world are asking me for a copy. So that's a good sign!

Do you have a release date and where will people be able to buy it?
I will know the release date when the physical disk is ready for sale. It will be sold on the major networks such as iTunes, Amazon, etc. Moreover, it was made with love and I hope the dancers like it since they have the last word!

A warm hug and greetings to all the dancers of Cuban music around the world and thanks to you for the help you have been giving Cuban musicians for a long time on your website Timba.com.


Aché, iré, salud pa' mi gente linda!
Osvaldo Chacón

Fri, 09 Jan 2015 15:58:04 -0500
Latest Beyond Salsa YouTube This one has a very cool method for learning rhythms.

Wed, 07 Jan 2015 18:03:08 -0500
Grammy-Nominated PALO! San Francisco Debut at The Addition San Francisco music fans are in for a treat: prior to hitting Los Angeles for the Grammys, Miami’s Afro-Cuban Funk band PALO! will be performing in San Francisco for the first time. "We’re excited to play for our friends and fans in the Bay area.” says Steve Roitstein, the band’s founder and keyboardist. “It’s gonna be a blast performing in such a great venue” referring to The Addition (formerly Yoshi’s) San Francisco, where they are booked for a show on Friday, January 30. “We also look forward to bringing our music to folks who haven’t yet had a chance to check us out live.”

PALO! @ The Addition - Friday January 30 2015
Doors 7pm / show 8pm - All Ages Event
The Addition (formerly Yoshi's - San Francisco)
1330 Fillmore St - San Francisco, CA, 94115


Grammy-Nominated PALO! Makes Their San Francisco Debut at The AdditionLeslie Cartaya sings on the set of the upcoming new video from Afro-Cuban Funk Band PALO!

A live show is where PALO! shines brightest; their album “PALO! Live” was recorded at their 10-year anniversary show, and the results have been impressive. Prior to getting the 2015 Grammy nod, the record was nominated for a Latin Grammy as Best Contemporary Tropical Album of 2014. 

“Our music, steeped in the traditions of Afro-Cuban music, funk, and jazz, thrives in a live setting. We leave room for improvisation and spontaneity, while striving to hit a deep, danceable groove.” After hearing PALO!’s catchy songs and the spectacular vocals of Leslie Cartaya, you will understand why the music industry has recognized this group with two nominations.

Stay tuned to timba.com for more PALO! news; in the weeks to come we will feature the world premiere of their new video for the song “La Malanga Resbala” from their Grammy-nominated album. In the meantime, check out the EPK:

Wed, 07 Jan 2015 01:54:49 -0500
Interview with Kentucky Salsa All Stars Leader Edel Roque
Technical difficulties with a field recorder prevented an in situ recording, but after the Haila concert in Louisville, Bill Tilford and drummer/bandleader Edel Roque subsequently went back and had a brief recorded telephone conversation about the concert and about Edel's  group, the Kentucky Salsa All Stars, an excellent 12-piece ensemble composed mostly of young musicians educated in Cuba. You can hear a recording of that conversation (in English) here.  Click "continue reading" for more - including Gente d'Zona.

Sun, 04 Jan 2015 19:28:03 -0500
Haila at Roccapulco                                                                 photos by Tom Ehrlich

Tom said Haila was fabulous at Roccapulco - click continue reading for more photos from last night and click here for tickets to tonight's show. Opening the show will be rumba with Mikhail.

La Peña Cultural Center is having a celebration of the recent Cuban breakthrough here.

Sun, 04 Jan 2015 18:51:34 -0500
Mini-Documentary: Tirso Duarte This one traces the roots of David Calzado and Charanga Habana from the 1950s to the Suspension Concert to the Charanga Forever split to the arrival of piano tumbao master extraordinaire - Tirso Duarte.

In other news, Haila Mompié plays San Francisco's Roccapulco tonight and tomorrow night.

Sat, 03 Jan 2015 18:29:59 -0500
LOUISVANA 3AM ENGLISH:  As a Chicagoan, it pains me to say this, but the fact that some artists from Cuba are performing in Louisville instead of Chicago (as opposed to performing in both cities) says things about both places.  This being said, I always enjoy a good excuse to visit Louisville, and Haila provided an excellent one, as did her local backing band, the Kentucky Salsa All Stars.  You can read more and see a gallery of photos here...  
Haila is touring a few cities using different local talent in each place.  As Mayito Rivera has already demonstrated, the talent pool now exists in a few places like Miami, New York and yes, Louisville, to name just three examples, to make this possible for a singer when that artist is the center of the performance (however, we are unlikely to see this happen with an ensemble like Klimax). She will be in Houston on New Years Eve and in San Francisco January 3-4.  Miami was also on her itinerary during this tour.  
The same club that presented Haila, Coconut Beach, will be presenting Gente d'Zona on January 9.  

ESPAÑOL: Como ciudadano de Chicago, me duele decirlo, pero el hecho de que algunos artistas de Cuba están dando conciertos en Louisville en vez de Chicago (en oposición a tocar en ambas ciudades) dice cosas sobre ambos lugares. Dicho esto, siempre me gusta una buena excusa para visitar Louisville, y Haila me dió una excusa excelente, junto con su grupo  de acompánamiento lugareño, las Kentucky Salsa All Stars. Puedes leer más y ver una galería de fotos aquí ...  
Haila está de gira por algunas ciudades utilizando diferentes talentos locales en cada lugar. Como Mayito Rivera ya ha demostrado, la reserva de talento ahora existe en algunos lugares como Miami, Nueva York y sí, Louisville, por citar sólo tres ejemplos, para que esto sea posible para un cantante cuando ese artista es el centro de la actuación (sin embargo, es poco probable que esto pueda suceder con un grupo como Klimax). Ella estará en Houston la Nochevieja y en San Francisco para dos noches (3-4 de enero). Miami también era parte de su itinerario durante esta gira.
El mismo club que presentó a Haila, Coconut Beach, presentará a Gente d'Zona el 9 de enero.

Sun, 28 Dec 2014 22:12:40 -0500

ENGLISH: Thanks to a growing community of musicians who were born and educated in Cuba, Louisville has more than one excellent band and a growing community of fans who support Cuban Salsa, Songo, Timba and other genres. One of these bands, the Kentucky Salsa All Stars, which is led by Cuban-born Edel Roque, will be the backing band for Haila when she appears there on December 26.  The KSAS was opened for Havana d'Primera when it came to Kentucky, and it can definitely play Haila's charts.  It will be interesting to see whether this band becomes Kentucky's answer to La Temati-K on the east coast.  In the meantime, Timba.com will be watching this concert, and you should too if you can. 
ESPAÑOL:  Gracias a una creciente comunidad de músicos que nacieron  y fueron formados en Cuba, Louisville tiene más de uno excelente banda y una creciente comunidad de fans que apoyan a la salsa cubana, Songo, Timba y otros géneros. Una de estas bandas, los Kentucky Salsa All Stars, que está dirigido por el cubano-americano Edel Roque, será la banda de acompañamiento de Haila cuando ella aparece allí el 26 de diciembre.  Los KSAS abrió el show de Habana D'Primera en Kentucky , y ellos sin duda pueden tocar la música de Haila. Será interesante ver si esta banda se convierte en la respuesta de Kentucky para La Temati-K en la costa este. Mientras tanto, Timba.com estará viendo este concierto, y  debes verlo también si  puedes.

Then what?
/ ¿Entonces Qué?

Coconut Beach in Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/coconuts.beach.7?fref=nf

Sat, 20 Dec 2014 16:18:03 -0500
Mini-Documentary: Los Van Van in the 1990s This is the longest of the Beyond Salsa youtube series, with all sorts of backstories, lyrics, live video clips and photos - covering a truly unbelievable part of the Van Van story.

Fri, 19 Dec 2014 00:58:01 -0500
Todo lo mejor a Jazz Plaza 2014 ESPAÑOL:   Jazz Plaza en La Habana, Cuba ha evolucionado en uno de los más maravillosos festivales de Jazz en el planeta. Ahora celebrando su trigésimo año, su nombre puede ser engañoso hoy en día ya que no tiene lugar solamente en una plaza (bueno, ALGUNAS de los conciertos, pero sólo algunas), sino también en teatros grandes, clubes, hoteles y otros lugares. Toda la ciudad está escuchando la música y músicos de muchos países vienen a tocar y escuchar (Este escritor asistió al Festival 2013 y lamenta profundamente que él quedará atrapado en su oficina durante el evento de 2014.) El horario del evento siempre se aparece al el último minuto debido a la complejidad del evento, pero se puede oir casí cualquier estilo de Jazz alrededor la cuidad durante la semaña.  Hay un minisimposio sobre Jazz también. 
Según el sitio web suenacubano.com, y de especial interés para nuestros lectores norteamericanos: Arturo O'Farrill, un nominado actual al GRAMMY® en la categoría de Jazz Latino (The Offense of the Drum) presentará en el festival con todo su orquesta, y más tarde, él va a grabar un nuevo proyecto en los estudios Abdala, titulado La conversación continuada
¡Todo lo mejor y mucho éxito a Jazz Plaza 2014!

ENGLISH:  Jazz Plaza in Havana, Cuba has evolved into one of the most wonderful jazz festivals on the planet. Now celebrating its thirtieth year, its name can be misleading today as it does not take place  only in a square anymore (well, SOME of the concerts do, but only some), but also in large theaters, clubs, hotels and other places. The whole city is listening to the music and musicians from many countries come to play and listen (this writer attended the 2013 Festival and deeply regrets that he will remain trapped in his office during the 2014 event.) The final schedule for  the program always appears at the last minute due to the complexity of the event, but you can hear almost any style of Jazz around the city during the week. There is a mini-symposium on Jazz as well.
According to the Suenacubano.com web site, and of particular interest to our North American readers: Arturo O'Farrill, a current  GRAMMY® nominee in the Latin Jazz category (The Offense of the Drum) will perform at the festival with his whole orchestra, and later, he will record a new project in Abdala Studios titled La conversacion continuada
All the best and much success to Jazz Plaza 2014!

Sat, 13 Dec 2014 15:35:14 -0500

In many ways, one could say that the Cuban Music Community of New York City is currently going through an interesting, uncertain, but nonetheless exciting period in its development. Although modern Cuban Music has been present in NYC for a number of years, the genre is still very much coming of age in the city. Up until recently it has stood in the shadows of Nuyorican Salsa, finding a niche among only a small but discerning crowd. However, as groups such as the Pedrito Martínez Group and bands like them have brought new and much deserved attention to the genre, the rest of New York has almost been forced to pay attention, which in turn has resulted in some sudden yet nonetheless interesting developments. 

On one hand there are new venues such as Subrosa, in which larger enterprises such as Blue Note are bringing Cuban music to the previously untapped attention of the Meatpacking crowd, serving up Música Cubana in an elaborate decor with drink and ticket prices to match. One the other hand there are the established Cuban hubs such as Guantanamera, whose regular groups have also found themselves in a new state of flux as Cuban acts juggle their itineraries with the new performances that are now opening up, allowing for a “changing of the guard” so to speak.    

(Click here to continue reading ...)

Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:16:41 -0500
Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations Lots of action this year for Cuban artists in the 57th Grammy® nominations! Here's a quick recap:


Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations
Tremendo PALO!
-- Afro-Cuban Funk group PALO! is buzzing hard after their LatinGrammy® nomination. The group -- singer Leslie Cartaya, Raymer Olande, Philbert Armenteros, pianist Steve Roitstein and saxophonist Ed Calle -- got a nomination for their live record Palo! Live. The group’s unique, danceable sound blends the allure of Cuban music with funky beats and jazzy improvisation. You can check out Bill Tilford's review of the record (click) here.

Click HERE to download Track 2 (La Malanga Resbala) from their album PALO! LIVE

Palo! Live nominanated for 2015 Grammy Best Tropical Latin Album

Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations

Aymee Nuviola
- Also following her LatinGrammy® nomination, "La Sonera del Mundo" Aymee's album First Class to Havana counts with guest artists Amaury Gutiérrez, Alexis Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba y also nominated percussionist Pedrito Martínez. The singer had a banner year after her participation in Sergio George's SALSA GIANTS tour. 


Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations
Yosvany Terry
- Matanzero and saxophonist Yosvany Terry got a nod for his album New Throned King, is the musical culmination of his spiritual exploration, and one of the most creative recordings of the year. "The entire set is comprised of music Terry composed, based on Arara "cantos" and rhythms, which for the most part have never been performed outside of Matanzas."-- AllAboutJazz.com

Click on the photo below to visit Tom Ehrlich's photo gallery for Yosvany's performance last year at Yerba Gardens in San Francisco.
Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations

Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations
Pedrito Martínez Group
 - The highly anticipated, self-titled debut album from the Pedrito Martínez Group has been a delight to Latin jazz, traditional jazz and dancers alike. "Pedrito Martinez is undeniably one of the most talented young musicians in Latin music today and has become one of the most in-demand in the industry for both his beautiful voice and his exceptional percussion skills."-- AllAboutJazz.com

Click on the photo below to visit Tom Ehrlich's photo gallery for Pedrito Martínez Group's performance last year at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz.

Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy Nominations

Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy NominationsArturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra - Following in his father's footsteps, Arturo O'Farrill scores another nomination for Motema Music (same label as Pedrito Martínez Group;'s album) with his record The Offense Of The Drum.

"With The Offense of the Drum, O'Farrill nails that lofty goal. The sounds of a big band are here, the sounds of various Afro-Caribbean rhythms are here, and the sounds of some of New York's best musicians in any genre are here. But what's guiding the music is a vision that incorporates sounds from the streets today with a spoken-word performance that's manifesto-like in its call to recognize culture as something that changes and grows every day."-- NPR.org


Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy NominationsAlfredo Rodríguez - Alfredo puts himself on the Grammy map with an arrangement of Guatanamera, a track from his second record The Invasion Parade. "Co-Produced by Quincy Jones, Rodríguez’ champion and mentor, and featuring a superb ensemble that includes bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding, percussionist and vocalist Pedrito Martínez, and drummer and percussionist Henry Cole, The Invasion Parade comprises nine tracks including originals by Rodríguez as well as evergreens such as 'Guantanamera', Maria Teresa Vera’s 'Veinte Años', and 'Quizás, Quizás, Quizás'..." -- AllABoutJazz.com


Cuban Artists in the 57th Grammy NominationsLuis Conte - Santiaguero and percussionist Luis Conte partners up with musicians Daniel Ho and Wu Man for a collection of international popular songs adapted for traditional chinese instruments for the album  OUR WORLD IN SONG. "So, a Chinese pipa player, a Cuban percussionist and a Hawaiian guitarist go into a studio cross-pollinating instruments and traditions in a series of musical selections from around the world... and successfully traversed genres with such delicious delight that audiences will find the combo hard to resist." -- WorldMusicCentral.org

There you have it.... Best of luck to all the nominees!

Wed, 10 Dec 2014 17:36:37 -0500
Another Full Concert (piano-bass closeup)

This is the legendary late 90s Van Van group with Pedrito Calvo, Mayito Rivera and Robertón Hernández.

If you want to see the band from the front with multiple camera angles, search for the Miami Arena 1999 video, currently on YouTube by Pimienta Records and others and probably still in print as a DVD/CD package.

This video, shot by pianist Robert Schwentker in June of 2000 at the Conga Room in Los Angeles, is of special value for a variety of reasons:

1) It has a lot of closeups of the piano (for those who want to learn piano and history buffs, here are introductory videos for two Beyond Salsa Piano books on Pupy Pedroso (Vol. 10 - Vol. 11).

2) This also results in lots of closeups of Juan Formell's baby bass technique.

3) ... and to a lesser degree, closeups of Samuel Formell, who has a very unusual setup (for him), playing from a standing position as he did in his first job, with Issac Delgado. By this point, Samuel was almost always playing seated at a full drum/timbales set. Probably a snafu with the sound rental company, but as you can see, it doesn't seem to cramp his style in the least.

4) This is within 6 months of the departure of Pedrito Calvo and within 1 year of the departure of Pupy Pedroso.


Tue, 09 Dec 2014 01:42:03 -0500
Back to Van Van Back on the topic of Los Van Van's 45th anniverary, we have the updated Discography section and the latest Beyond Salsa video - on the 2nd Pupy Pedroso book and concluding with an epic 18-minute mashup of the avalanche of hooks unleashed by Pupy in his final two decades with the band:

Sun, 07 Dec 2014 05:07:39 -0500
It's New, It's Baaad, and That's Good: ENGLISH:  Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine are here.  Be funky.  Be VERY funky. 
ESPAÑOL:  Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine están aquí.  Sea funky.  Sea MUY funky. 

Read a review of the new CD here / Lee una reseña del nuevo CD aquí
ENGLISH:  US Tour coming (including Chicago 2/6) in February.   
ESPAÑOL:  Eliel vendrá a los Estados Unidos para una gira (incluyendo Chicago 2/6/15) en februaro.

 Haila is coming to Louisville, KY on December 26.   The venue has hosted Charanga Habanera in the past.  More information in the near future. 
ESPAÑOL:  Haila vendrá al Louisville, KY el 26 de diciembre.  El venue ha presentado Charanga Habenera en el pasado. Más información en el futuro cercano. 

Sat, 06 Dec 2014 17:31:08 -0500
Amazing Weekend in Havana Los Van Van @ La Escalinata de la Universidad de la Habana por Ivan Soca PascualPhoto courtesy of Ivan Soca Pascual

Havana has a wonderful tradition of free concerts at the end of the year. They are off to an early start this weekend with two free mega-concerts. The first took place last night on the Stairway of the University of Havana. To put it mildly, the concert was well-attended. Los Van Van closed their national tour with a free concert and also the official release of the new CD "La Fantasía".  If you're in Havana pick up a hard copy. It isn't up at digital retailers yet, but hopefully next week. Samuel has said that it's Van Van's best CD. It's too early for me to say, but it is definitely the best since "Chapeando", maybe even the best since "Llegó...Van Van". Without question it is going to be a favorite of dancers, so keep an eye out for it.

Una Luz Por La Esperanza - Buena Fe Tonight!

Buena Fe concert @ Carlos III y Boyeros

The other big free concert this weekend takes place tonight at Carlos III and Boyeros. Buena Fe are holding a concert in honor of the doctors fighting ebola in Africa. The show starts early at 7:00pm so families with young children can participate. Buena Fe is also working on a new album which should be out soon.

Sat, 06 Dec 2014 08:50:39 -0500
45 Years of Los Van Van Another major milestone for El Tren - but sadly the first without their founder.

The big news, of course, is the release of La fantasía. By my count, this is the 26th album of new material. We have: the 15 original EGREM albums, released as La colección; the 5 masterpieces of the 90s, Malecón (has several new originals), Chapeando, Arrasando, La maquinaria and now La fantasía.

At timba.com we have a lovingly prepared recounting of the first first decade and its historical context, a more general surveyon the 80s that includes mini-reviews of all Van Van's releases, and a complete discography.

The Van Van story is also told in parts in the Beyond Salsa series. BS Piano, Vol. 3 covers the first decade, Vol. 10 runs from 1979-1983, Vol. 11 from 1984-1987, Vol. 12 from 1988 to Pupy's departure in 2001. I've yet to write a book on the post-2001 period, but it's coming.

Thu, 04 Dec 2014 01:33:31 -0500
Beyond Salsa on Los Van Van Here's the latest Beyond Salsa video - in honor of Van Van's upcoming 45th Anniversary (actually it just turned out that way ...). And three new galleries from Tom Ehrlich: Klímax in SF-Pt. 2Roberto Fonseca and Gente de Zona in Oakland.

Tue, 02 Dec 2014 22:47:42 -0500
Premios Lucas 2014 Se bota a matar

The Premios Lucas (Lucas Awards) are Cuba's video awards. The past few years have seen an explosion of Cuban music on the Internet and the Premios Lucas have been an important part of this movement. The official website brings together and tracks the most popular videos in Cuba. It is an excellent source for those of us living outside Cuba to keep up with what is popular on the island. In addition, every year fans can vote for their favorite video as part of the Premios Lucas. The Premios Lucas also have an active Facebook page that you can "Like" in order to keep up on what is happening in Cuban video. This may help you understand how popular the premios Lucas are in Cuba: they sold out all 2500 tickets and set up big screen TVs outside the Karl Marx theater where about 1000 people went to watch the performances and the awards.

The ceremony included performances by Buena Fe & Havana Queens, David Blanco, Yuli y Havana C, El Niño y La Verdad, Charanga Latina, Haila, Osamu, Waldo Mendoza and Los Ángeles, among others. There were tributes to Juan Formell and Santiago Feliú and EGREM was presented with a special award for its 50 year anniversary. The show was closed by Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera performing "Me dicen Cuba", which was given a special recognition prize by the Premios Lucas.

The big winner last night was filmaker Ian Padrón and Buena Fe who won Best Production, Best Fusion Video and Best Video of the Year for the song "Se bota a matar" from the album "Dial". The video features the dancers from "Havana Queens, who also participated in the beautiful video "La culpla", also from "Dial".

Buena Fe feat. Havana Queens "Se bota a matar" from the CD "Dial"
Director Ián Padrón

The category closest to our hearts at Timba.com is "Popular Dance Music" and the winner was José Rojas for "Que no que no" by JG (you know him, his name is Juan Guillermo) from his last album "Que no me controlen".

JG "Que no, que no" from the album "Que no me controlen"
Director José Rojas

Other winners in dance categories include Alejandro Pérez and El Micha for Best Reggaeton for "Bla bla bla", Manuel Ortega and Los Ángeles won Most Popular Video for "Besando tu boca" and Joseph Ros and Sexto Sentido for "Brujas". Alejandro Pérez also won for Best Traditional and Folkloric Video and Best Photography with "Alcé mi voz" by Ivette Cepeda. Best Choreography went to Sadaise Arencibia who choreographed both the original Descemer Bueno & Gente D'Zona version of "Bailando" and the Enrique Iglesias version. For more about the Premios Lucas 2014 visit their website (in Spanish).

Mon, 01 Dec 2014 14:59:21 -0500
LOS VAN VAN - LA FANTASIA Los Van Van - La Fantasia

At a press conference on November 29th, Samuel Formell announced that Los Van Van will release their tribute to Juan Formell - "La fantasía" - on Friday, December 5th at the final concert of their national tour, which will be held at the steps of the University of Havana. This will be only one day after the band celebrates its 45th anniversary.

The new CD - recorded at Estudios de 18 EGREM - contains 14 tracks with compositions and arrangements by Juan Formell, Samuel Formell, Juan Carlos Formell, Boris Luna, Jorge Leliebre, Pacho Chibás, Robertón, Mandy Cantero and Juan Ballestero. Alexander Abreu makes an appearance with a brilliant trumpet solo on track 14 - "Soy Van Van". Various DJs have posted short sections of some of the songs, and I am going to say that from what I have heard, I believe that "La fantasía" will be Van Van's strongest album since "Chapeando". Samuel has the daunting task of taking the helm of Cuba's most famous musical instituion, and all indications are that his father prepared him well by making him musical director several years ago. El tren va por buen camino. 

As we were discussing the new album via e-mail, Kevin made the following observations on the subject of remakes, of which "La fantasía" contains two.

Kevin Moore:
1) "Es mucho" is from vol. 5 - 1979 - I think I'm on firm ground in saying the vols 5 & 6 were by far the worst sounding Van Van albums but had some great songs that were unjustly debuted with bad recordings - thus, re-recording anything from those (especially "La rumba no está completa" and "El montuno" - which they've already done and which are two amazing tracks) is a great idea because now Van Van has world-class singing and infinitely better recording capabilities.

2) "Me basta con pensar" started as the B-side bolero of the early 70s single "Que se sepa" - neither of which ever got onto an official album - unless the version Omara did of the A-side with them did got onto one, but "Me basta" was turned into an uptempo arrangement in 1990 for Los Van Van - not by Formell, but by Pupy (this only happened twice and both were masterpieces in my opinion). That version of "Me basta" contains within it - among many other things - the seeds of Manolito y su Trabuco's whole harmonic sello - it sounds like late 90s Trabuco back when Manolito was still in Maravillas de Florida. It's a hugely important timba precursor and one of the best post-revolution tracks period in my opinion - no idea what the new one will be like, but it's definitely anything but a tired old song swept out of the closet for lack of creativity. I'm very curious to hear this whole album.

As are we all Kevin. The first thing I plan to do Friday morning is buy "La fantasía" from whichever on-line store uploads it first. I predict that it will be a great holiday gift for all the Cuban music fans on my list.

Sun, 30 Nov 2014 05:06:31 -0500
Beyond Salsa Video #9 Our last Beyond Salsa video had a cameo by JS Bach - this one has Kenny G.

The new concert, Issac from Café Cantante, finally gives the world YouTube access to the only known version of Issac's legendary La competencia, aka Hit Parade. It also contains the ultra-killer version of Por qué paró featured in Volume 7.

Also... any minute now we'll have a lot of details on the impending new Van van album, La fantasía -  stay tuned.


Sun, 30 Nov 2014 04:46:20 -0500
"Crowdfunding" Comes To Cuban Music

ENGLISH:  As the recorded music industry in Cuba continues to evolve and diversify, a growing number of new recordings are being made either completely independently or by using the services of Cuba's major recording companies a la carte. (These companies acquire some of those projects later.) A relatively new aspect of the environment is the consideration of crowdfunding by some Cuban artists. The above example is for a new project by Yissy García, an exciting member of the new wave of music in Havana today. Genre labels can be misleading, but the term Acid Jazz as it was used in the United States (her quintet includes a turntable) comes to mind. The crowdfunding company is based in Barcelona, and the campaign is happening now. To see the crowdfunding website page, click here
ESPAÑOL:  A medida que la industria de la música grabada en Cuba sigue evolucionando y diversificándose,  un número cada vez mayor de nuevas grabaciones se están haciendo ya sea totalmente independiente o mediante el uso de los servicios de las principales empresas discograficas de Cuba a la carta. (Estas empresas adquieren algunos de aquellos proyectos más adelante.) Un aspecto relativamente nuevo del medio ambiente es la consideración de crowdfunding por algunos artistas cubanos. El ejemplo anterior es para un nuevo proyecto por Yissy García, miembro emocionante de la nueva onda musical en La Habana de hoy. Etiquetas de género pueden ser engañosos, pero el término Acid Jazz, ya que se utiliza en los Estados Unidos (su quinteto incluye un giradiscos) viene a la mente. La compañía crowdfunding se basa en Barcelona, y la campaña está sucediendo ahora. Para ver la página web de crowdfunding, haga clic aquí.

ENGLISH:  Young but already-renowned tresero Renesito Avich is now offering lessons to the entire planet via Skype.  To register for classes, you can contact him at renesitoclass@gmail.com
ESPAÑOL:  Joven pero ya reconocido tresero Renesito Avich está ofreciendo lecciones a todo el planeta a través de Skype.  Para inscribirse en una clase, puede ponerse en contacto con él @ renesitoclass@gmail.com
Sat, 29 Nov 2014 19:06:20 -0500
Tom Ehrlich's Klímax Photos - Part 1 Here's Tom's first gallery from the amazing but way-too-short Klímax tour. 

The new Van Van album, La Fantasía, is coming very soon - we'll have a lot on this almost immediately.

Sat, 29 Nov 2014 17:07:34 -0500
¡Atácala Melón! The third Melón volume covers the classic Deja que Roberto te toque, Brindando con el alma  and La chica del sol.

Thu, 27 Nov 2014 01:03:41 -0500
Timba: The Movie: The Sequel Here's the latest Beyond Salsa video with lots of amusing stuff for non-musicians - with live footage from two Issac and two Charanga Habanera concerts and a bit of Havana d'Primera thrown in for good measure. Also, a guest cameo from JS Bach. 

Wed, 26 Nov 2014 04:11:58 -0500
Less Famous but Just as Great

If Issac's performance on this early arrangement of Solar de la California doesn't take you on an emotional journey from tears to euphoria, check your pulse. Of Issac's many epic live bands, the Alain/Melón, Yoel/Joel, and Piloto/Pérez incarnations are probably the most famous, but the Spring 2000 group was just as amazing in its own way.

Before Bombón Reyes became the founding drummer/arranger of Pupy y Los Que Son Son and Pupy's spot in Van Van was taken by Roberto "Cucurucho" Valdés, both of these phenomenal musicians played in this short-lived but historically great Issac Delgado Group, along with the ubiquitous bass master Frank Rubio, conguero Denis "Papacho" Savón and many others.

This concert includes the original arrangements of El Solar de la California and Amor sin ética and two tremendous guest vocals by Mayito Rivera. Manolín is on hand, and, doing what he does better than anyone, he adds coros, rather than guías, to the proceedings. Don't forget that you can use the links in the video descriptions to jump from song to song. For Beyond Salsa geeks, this band was the heavyweight champion in the categories of efectos and signals. The rhythm section here is as brilliantly loose and creative as the piano and bass were in the Melón-Alain band of 1997. The '00 band's sello is based on that of the '99 band that played the Y2K Concert that we added last week, but they added their own sello to the inherited sello - you'll see what I mean. Enjoy! If the response is good I'll add another show, two days earlier at the same club, with Robertón sitting in.

And Bay Areans - Gente de Zona will be in Alameda Sunday for their Bay Area premiere. It's supposed to be a full band of live musicians - will they force us to change our name to regueton punto com? [Kevin Moore]

Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:46:25 -0500
GENTE DE ZONA BAILANDO TOUR This Sunday, don't miss 3-time 2014 Latin Grammy® Winners GENTE DE ZONA with their full band "Bailando" Tour 2014. November 23rd - Doors open 2pm.

Just Dance (Ballroom) Social Club "Grand Opening"
2500 Embarcadero, Alameda, CA 94606

Online tickets = Eventbrite - Ticketon - Brownpapertickets


Este Domingo, no te pierdas a los ganadores de 3 Latin Grammys® 2014 GENTE DE ZONA en concierto con toda su banda completa (12 personas en tarima). 

Just Dance - Social Club "Grand Opening"
2500 Embarcadero, Alameda, CA 94606
Puertas abren 2pm

Taquillas = Eventbrite - Ticketon - Brownpapertickets

Sat, 22 Nov 2014 03:28:27 -0500
CUBA @ LATIN GRAMMYS Congratulations are in order for Descemer Bueno, Alexander Delgado & Randy Malcom of Gente D'Zona, and Enrique Iglesias who won in three of the four categories for which they were nominated. "Bailando" won Best Urban Song, Best Urban Performance and the coveted Song of the Year. It's great to see Cuban musicians getting such international recognition. There is still a long way to go, since the original version of the song recorded and released in Cuba would probably not even have garnered a nomination (note: this is my opinion and not necessarily the opinion of Timba.com). I hope to see renewed international interest in what is happening in Cuban music as well as a continuation of interational artists collaborating with Cuban musicians, as we have seen with Andy Montañez, Gilberto Santa Rosa and El Canario. Most recently Marc Anthony has released the official video of his version of Polo Montañez' "Flor Pálida" and collaborated with Cuban audiovisual producer Alejandro Pérez, who also produced the "Bailando" videos.

Billboard recently published a good interview with Descemer Bueno titled: "Meet Descemer Bueno, The Talent Behind Enrique Iglesias' Smash Hit 'Bailando'. 

The guys are currently touring Europe and were in their hotel in Paris when the winners were announced. Thanks to Joel Collazo for posting a video of Enrique, Descemer, Alexander and Randy and their reaction to the GRAMMYs.


Song for MauraBest Latin Jazz Album LATIN GRAMMYS 2014

Congratulations also to Paquito D'Rivera & Trio Corrente ("Song for Maura") for their tie with Chick Corea ("The Vigil") for Best Latin Jazz Album. I am not a GRAMMY historian so I don't know how often ties happen. Maybe Bill has more comments in this area.

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:35:09 -0500
Coast to Coast TIMBA Thanksgiving A real West Coast treat is in store for next Wednesday, November 26. This Thanksgiving Eve Concert is a Night of Afro-Cuban Jazz w/ Cuban Master Percussionist Calixto Oviedo & his Latin Train In a Tribute to the legendary pianist Bebo Valdés. The performance will feature some of Bebo’s hit songs as well as classic Afro-Cuban jazz standards and Oviedo’s original compositions. 

Tickets here = http://www.flavorus.com/event/Calixto-Oviedo-and-hisLatinTrain/271321

November 26 at 8:30 pm @ Catalina Jazz Club
6725 W. Sunset Blvd. Hollywood 90028 - Doors Open at 7:00 pm

CALIXTO OVIEDO & HIS LATIN TRAIN - Catalina Jazz Club - Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 08:00PM

Then in the Big Apple, we have a 3 night residency -- November 28, 29 & 30 -- with MAYITO RIVERA y la TEMATI-K at González y González, cuminating in a special live video recording with special guests Pepito Gómez, Willie Torres and Pedrito Martínez.

Gonzalez y Gonzalez - www.GyGnyc.com
192 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10012 - (Btwn. Houston & Bleecker St.)
Tel:(212) 473-7878

Tickets here =  www.facebook.com/gonzalezygonzalez/events

November 28, 29 & 30 - Gonzalez y Gonzalez presents: Mayito Rivera Y La Temati-K (NYC)


Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:15:49 -0500
Alfredo Rodriguez and Tiempo Libre Galleries Alfredo Rodriguez and Tiempo Libre both gave exceptional performances in Chicago last weekend.  

For more about the Aflredo Rodriguez concert, click HERE

For more about the Tiempo Libre performance, click HERE

We lost an important figure in modern Cuban music recently with the passing of guitarist Carlos Emilio Morales, a founding member of the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna and of Irakere.  The Instituto Cubano de la Música posted an excellent article about his life (in Spanish) on November 13 on their Facebook page, which you can visit here.  Rest in peace, Carlos, and thanks for all the great music that you left us. 

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:26:42 -0500
The Greatest Concert of All Time Series Continues Highlights: Luz viajera vocal improv (both of them) (Y2K), Tirso's guest spot on No me mires (Y2K), Tomasito and Yoel's songo con efectos all through Noche de Cristal (autumn 98 I believe).

Seriously - Issac just KILLS it on Luz viajera - the best vocal improvising I've heard.

The fourth contender for the title - the amazing April 2000 Marina Hemingway show - is coming soon, but in the meantime, here's an honorable mention. This is from the same July 1997 Festival at which Charanga Habanera was suspended. All CH did was to perform their regular nightclub show, but Issac omitted the dance contest from Por qué paró. Compare the version here to this one. but the hottest Por qué paró (no video) is this one. And for a full comparison, there's also this one. Which do you like best and why? (please answer in the comments section)


Mon, 17 Nov 2014 19:50:50 -0500
Timba: The Movie Narrated by: James Earl Jones (he had a bad cold)
Directed by: Martin Scorsese (he was really drunk)

Actually, this is just another Beyond Salsa preview video but it runs 30 minutes and has a lot of "video within video" and history of Issac and timba in general.

                                            Pablo Menéndez and El Capitán (click for Pt. 1)

Ocatvio Rodríguez and José Hermida (click for Pt. 2)

Sun, 16 Nov 2014 20:10:28 -0500
The Hottest Timba Concert of All Time? If you have other nominations, add them to the comments section!

Fri, 14 Nov 2014 23:37:51 -0500
The New Pedrito Martínez Group at Harlem Stage Ian Stewart was on hand for the first official performance of PMG with Edgar Pantoja replacing Ariacne Trujillo. Click here for his review. Tonight they open an exciting new Cuban music club, Subrosa. Ian will also soon report on Ariacne's new group (personnel unknown).

photo by Marc Millman Photography

Wed, 12 Nov 2014 17:18:34 -0500
Grupo Danson Release 2nd CD Grupo Danson CD Rumba, Son con TimbaThe newest addition to my CD collection: Grupo Danson - Rumba, Son con Timba

On Monday Grupo Danson, under the direction of trombonist Carlos Pérez, released their long-awaited second CD - "Rumba, son con timba" - at iTunes and Amazon. I was fortunate to get a hardcopy at their release concert held in Copenhagen Saturday, November 8th. The concert report and a CD review will be coming soon.

Briefly let me say that Grupo Danson is an outstanding body of musicians. The rhythm section has fantastic gears and the trombones are a powerhouse. I highly recommend catching them live, but more on that in the concert report. The CD contains songs by Alaín Pérez, Alexander Abreu, César "Pupy" Pedroso and Carlos Pérez and includes both Alaín and Mandy Cantero as guest singers along with Danson's own singer lineup of Ernesto Manuitt and Henri Benitez. But again, more on the CD in the full review.

track list:
Mezclando culturas A. Abreu arr. A. Abreu ,A. Pérez
Que buena suerte G. Pérez arr. A. Pérez
Sibaguaní C. Pérez arr. C. Pérez
Polvo del ayer G. Pérez arr. A. Pérez
Sabor de mi rumba G. Pérez arr. A. Pérez
José Andrés C. Pedroso arr. C. Pérez
Siempre cha cha chá G. Pérez  arr. A. Pérez
Va y ven de hamaca C. Pérez arr. C. Pérez
Conga cubana G. Pérez  arr. A. Pérez

In the meantime here is a brief interview with Carlos done shortly before the concert. It is in Spanish with English subtitles.

Wed, 12 Nov 2014 17:09:59 -0500
New Singles From Rumbankete

ENGLISH: Los Angeles-based Rumbankete recently released two excellent new singles, Cuando Suene and Ambicioso Seductor.   This is a group that prides itself on its ability to play both Timba and Salsa Cubana, but these two songs are clearly in the Timba side of the repertoire, and I like them both (Ambicioso Seductor is my favorite), enough so that the radio program Domingos Felices will play them Sunday, November 16, and interview lead singer Iris Sandra Cepeda.  For more information (including where to buy the singles in iTunes), click here
Also:  Chicago will enjoy a trifecta of excellent concerts this weekend:  Cuban Jazz piano virtuoso Alfredo Rodríguez (a favorite of Quincy Jones, incidentally), Tiempo Libre and Arturo Sandoval.   For all the details, see our Report From Chicago page for November 9. 
ESPAÑOL:  Rumbankete, que se basa en Los Angeles, lanzó recientemente dos nuevos sencillos excelentes, Cuando Suene y Ambicioso Seductor.  Este grupo se enorgullece de su capacidad de tocar ambos la Timba y la Salsa Cubana, pero las dos canciones son claramente del lado de la TImba en su repertorio, y me gustan las dos (Ambicioso Seductor es mi favorita), lo suficiente para que el programa de radio Domingos Felices pondrá ellas el domingo, 16 de Noviembre, y la cantante Iris Sandra Cepeda será la entrevistada.  Para más información (incluyendo dónde se  puede comprarlas en iTunes), haga clic aquí.
También:  Chicago va a disfrutar de una trifecta de excelentes conciertos este fin de semana: el pianista cubano Alfredo Rodríguez (un virtuoso del Jazz y uno de los favoritos de Quincy Jones, por cierto), Tiempo Libre y Arturo Sandoval.  para todos los detalles, consulte Report From Chicago  (9 de noviembre). 

Mon, 10 Nov 2014 21:28:40 -0500
Tiempo Libre Returns to Chicago November 15 ENGLISH:  Tiempo Libre returns to Chicago for two shows at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Saturday, November 15.  The Chicago-based radio show Domingos Felices will be interviewing the leader, Jorge Gómez, and giving away two pairs of tickets and 3 collections of TL's four discs during their braodcast on November 9.  For more details about the concerts and the radio promotion, click here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Tiempo Libre regresa a Chicago para dos espectáculos en Old Town School of Folk Music el sábado, 15 de noviembre.  El programa de radio con sede en Chicago Domingos Felices entrevistará al líder, Jorge Gómez, y regalará dos pares de entradas y 3 colecciones de los cuatro discos de TL durante su show el 9 de noviembre.  Para más detalles sobre los conciertos y la promoción, haga clic aquí. 

Fri, 07 Nov 2014 20:05:26 -0500
Calixto Heating Up the LA Scene ... and if any major city needs some heating up, it's LA. I can say this because I was born and raised there: Los Angeles sucks - sorry Kay, Gloria, Bob & Paul - the truth hurts. Only Miami surpasses LA for its sheer quantity of unappreciated talent. But don't jump off of City Hall just yet - where there's an Oviedo, there's hope - and there are two of them in Smogville now.

Calixto (of NG La Banda, Pacho Alonso, Adalberto Álvarez and of course Beyond Salsa fame) has put together a super-tight band featuring his talented wife Lily. They tore it up at SJ Jazz this year and now they're starting to play regularly in the LA scene (I use the term "scene" advisedly).

Lily D. Oviedo y su Orchestra play Nov. 8th, 14th and 20th at La Floridita, Tía Juana's and M Bar - full details on the Tours page.

Then, on December 4th, a new incarnation of The Arsenio Rodríguez Project. Here are some photos from their last tour. But this new band - while it lacks the two New York studs - has a lineup that makes me want to do the 6-hour drive and brave the smoggy Southland. Calixto on drums, the great Rigoberto López (of Opus 13 and Adalberto) on bass, changüí master Gabriel García on tres, Alberto Salas on piano (this guy is great), and vocalist Perico Hernández - as close as we're likely to get to Cuní and Scull among the living. This is really a must-see concert. [Kevin Moore]

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 17:29:00 -0500
Tom Ehrlich's Photos: ACAS in SF Another great gallery from another great recent show. Mezcla and Klímax galleries coming next.

News: Juan Carlos Formell becomes the full-time bassist of Los Van Van. Possible US tour in 2015.

Mon, 03 Nov 2014 17:09:02 -0500
Video: Jorge Luis Pacheco Quartet at Kennedy Center
ENGLISH: Jorge Luis Pacheco, another of Cuba's piano phenomena as well as an impressive and eclectic composer (and vocalist), performed in quartet at the Kennedy Center on November 1st. The Kennedy Center keeps a video archive on its website, and therefore, you can watch the entire performance by clicking here.  This is pretty intense, but don't take my word for it - check it out. 
ALSO:  Roberto Fonseca gave a great concert in Chicago.   See more here
ESPAÑOL:  Jorge Luis Pacheco, otro de los fenómenos de piano de Cuba así como impresionante y ecléctica compositor (y vocalista) dió un concierto en el Kennedy Center el 01 de noviembre.   El Kennedy Center mantiene archivos de video en su sitio web, y por lo tanto, se puede ver todo al hacer clic aqui.  Es bastante intensa, pero no confie en mis palabras - échale un vistazo. 
MÁS:  Roberto Fonseca dió un gran concierto en Chicago.  Se puede ver más aquí. 

Mon, 03 Nov 2014 08:12:27 -0500
New Melvis Santa Project Debuts in New York

Melvis Santa already has an impressive resume in both music and acting - a cofounder at age 14 of Sexto Sentido, more recent recordings with Interactivo and Santa Habana. an acting role in 7 días en La Habana (7 Days in Havana) and work with several other artists.  At the moment, she is working in New York, and on November 1, she is debuting a new project at The Jazz Gallery there.  For those of you who haven't heard her, a video clip from Santa Habana:

Fri, 31 Oct 2014 05:09:50 -0400
Laritza Bacallao on Carnival Cruise Laritza Bacallao on Carnival Cruise Scandinavia

Bar Brasil's annual Carnival Cruise Stockholm is fast approaching. Every year the Baltic Sea goes Caribbean for 23 hours with dancers, bands, percussionists, and DJs. This year over 100 artists will take part, including Laritza Bacallao - one of the most popular young artists in Cuba. 

Laritza comes from a family of singers. Her grandfather Rafael "Felo" Bacallao and her father Ernesto Bacallao were both singers of the legendary Orquesta Aragón. It seems natural that Laritza would also study music - choral direction and piano - and become a singer. She has a versatile voice and can sing a bolero as well as cha-cha-chá a son or a reggaeton. But the style for which Laritza has become known is the pan-Caribbean dance music that swept her to the top of the charts in Cuba where she has remained for the past couple of years. The arrangements mix everything from samba to salsa to merengue to rumba and conga...you get the idea. She has collaborated with many Cuban artists, such as Pablo FG, Candido Fabré, JG, and Los 4 to name a few. Her infectious party music caught the attention of Puerto Rican salsa star Victor Manuelle, who will soon release a salsa version of her hit "Que suenen los tambores" by composer Osmany Espinosa.

Although she has toured Europe before, this will be Laritza's first Scandinavian performance. She will be backed by an eight-piece band. If you will be in the area, book your cabin now and get ready to rock the boat with the Scandinavian carnival elite. A YouTube search will give you a number of videos with Laritza, but in honor of the Carnival Cruise, I leave you with her hit "Carnaval".

Every year

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:47:18 -0400
Tom Ehrlich Photos from Mont. Jazz Day 3

(above: Harold López-Nussa) Click here for Tom's final gallery from this year's Monterey Jazz Festival. Afro-Cuban All Stars is next, then Klímax.

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 02:02:33 -0400
Pulling Out the Stops

It turns out Klímax conguero Julio López is also a tremendous rumbero - photos by Tom Ehrlich

Klímax's debut Northern California tour is ending all too soon. In many ways they're playing an even tighter and more aggressive form of timba than they did in the 1990s. The percussion section - together for 15 years now - is absurdly tight, even by Havana standards, and the metales are by far the cleanest, most powerful and most in-tune trumpet-sax section since Los Metales de Terror. Vocal harmonies sublime and great dance routines - although Julio López overshadowed everything with his multi-part rumba-changó tour de force performance, with local hero Christian Pepín covering the congas.

Don't miss tonight - the Giants game will be over by the time they hit at 8:00 and Yoshi's has a nice screen in the lobby.

Click continue reading for more photos.

Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:25:22 -0400
***Piloto in SF*** all photos by Tom Ehrlich

The Klímax entourage is now safely in the Bay Area for Piloto's drum clinic in the Mission at 6:30 tonight. Here's a downloadable PDF of the handout for the clinic, including all sorts of information on Piloto and Kosa's other educational programs.

Transportation problems delayed the Felton show, but when Klímax hit the stage, they played a two hour-plus set that blew the roof off the joint. The horn section was as tight and clean as any I've heard out of Cuba and conguero Julio López is truly a force of nature. Ryan and Sidney's Klímax dance class was brilliant as always (they also do classes before each Yoshi's show). For that matter, the stage dancing was also extraordinarily tight, even in the limited space available, but if you want to see Noel Díaz's patented "splits" move, you'll have to go to Yoshi's.

Here's a google map of the clinic location (544 Capp Street, SF CA 94110 | 415-647-6015).

 Community Music Center in San Francisco's Mission District (home page here)

Tomorrow begins two nights at Yoshi's SF (one admission for the whole night). Then off to Seattle and Portland.

Tuesday, 10-21 - San Francisco - Yoshi's SF
Wednesday, 10-22 - San Francisco - Yoshi's SF
Thursday, 10-23 - Seattle - Seattle Club Sur
Friday, 10-24 - Portland - The Conga Club

Julio López - photos by Tom Ehlrich

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:32:02 -0400
The Parade of Cuban Piano Virtuosos in Chicago Continues ENGLISH:   So many masters of the piano have visited Chicago this year - Elio VillafrancaManuel Valera, Aruán Ortiz, Chucho Valdés, Chuchito Valdés, Harold López-Nussa - and more will come.  This week brings

Roberto Fonseca
Mayne Stage,  1328 W. Morse, Chicago, IL
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
7:00pm and 9:30pm 
One of Cuba's most important young Jazz and Fusion pianists and composers and a half-brother of Chuchito Valdés.  Roberto gave a phenomenal concert at the Lotus Festival in Bloomington, Indiana last year.  You can read a review of that performance  here and his recording Yo  here.

ESPAÑOL:   Tantos maestros del piano han visitado Chicago este año - Elio VillafrancaManuel Valera, Aruán Ortíz, Chucho Valdés, Chuchito Valdés, Harold López-Nussa - y más vendrán.  Esta semana trae

Roberto Fonseca
Mayne Stage,  1328 W. Morse, Chicago, IL
Miercoles, 22 de octubre, 2014
7:00pm y 9:30pm   
Uno de los más importantes jóvenes pianistas y compositores en Jazz y Fusión en Cuba y un medio hermano de Chuchito Valdés.  Roberto dió un concerto fenomenal en el Lotus Festival en Bloomington, Indiana el año pasado. Puede leer una reseña del concierto (en ingles) aquí y de su grabacion Yo aquí

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:03:41 -0400
Tribute to Bebo Homenaje a Bebo - Calixto Oviedo

Mark this date in your calendar: Wednesday November 26, 2014. Calixto Oviedo & His Latin Train will offer a Thanksgiving Eve performance of their Tribute to Maestro Bebo Valdés at Catalina Jazz Club on Sunset Boulevard. The Master Percussionist honors the Master Pianist with a night of Afro-Cuban Jazz. Calixto took time from his busy schedule to talk to Timba.com about the concert. Click here to book your tickets now! For more information check out the event at Facebook.

How did the idea arise to do a tribute to Bebo Valdés?

The idea came from my producer Guido Herrera. We decided to use my first presentation at the prestigious jazz club Catalin to honor the great musician Bebo - also utilizing my experiences with him in Stockholm, Sweden where we both lived for many years.

For you personally, what did Bebo Valdés mean to Cuban music - what is his legacy?

I met Bebo Valdés in Stockholm when we both lived there. One day he called me at home and asked me to give drum lessons to his younger son Rickard. From that moment every Wednesday for two years was spent at his home. A great friendship blossomed between our families. Now the opportunity has been presented for my Latin Train Band to perform at the prestigious Catalina Jazz Club. I decided to dedicate my debut show to one of the most important and influential pianist of Cuba. Bebo is a very important part of the history of Cuban music. He trained great artists who later became world stars and his legacy will remain for life. Bebo is Cuba. 

What other news can you give us about your band?

Well my band - I finally found the musicians I needed and who have very similar interests to mine. They are very young musicians but with a high musical level. They come from great bands and carry a large baggage of work. Yosmel Montejo on bass was formerly with Maraca and is a very accomplished musician and also an excellent person, which is very important to do a good job. He is a great connoisseur of the Latin Jazz genre and also an excellent Timbero. He is helping a lot with his compositions and arrangements. 

Joel Nunez is a tremendous saxophonist/pianist who also plays the EWI electronic instrument that brings colors and tones which I love. He has tremendous talent. Nathaniel Molina is a boricua with tremendous BOMBA who plays piano, composes, sings - he is a great all-around musician. Studious 100 x 100, he is a connoisseur of drumming and he knows all the styles. Santiago is a brother from Matanzas with a great history in Cuban music. He is very responsible my brother of the old guard - a great person. The singer Lily D Oviedo continues captivating audiences and rising to the top. She can move between "feeling", samba and ballads with incredible ease. She is very versatile in addition to singing in English or Portuguese. Lily is great. 

This is my band  - Latin Train Band - and we are now preparing our first album. It includes songs by Yosmel Montejo, a few standards and some of my songs.

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:15:49 -0400
Klímax Tour Begins Tonight in LA Giraldo Piloto & Klímax have landed safely and begin their West Coast tour tonight at the 333 Club in Los Angeles. Here's the full itinerary:

Friday, 10-17 - Los Angeles - 333 Club
Saturday, 10-18 - Felton (Santa Cruz) - Don Quixote's
Sunday, 10-19 - Folsom (Sacramento)  - Three Stages at Folsom Lake College
Tuesday, 10-21 - San Francisco - Yoshi's SF
Wednesday, 10-22 - San Francisco - Yoshi's SF
Thursday, 10-23 - Seattle - Seattle Club Sur
Friday, 10-24 - Portland - The Conga Club

Saturday, 10-18 - 1:00-4:00 - Santa Cruz Tannery (corner of Hwys 1 & 9)
Tuesday, 10-21 - San Francisco - Yoshi's SF
Wednesday, 10-22 - San Francisco - Yoshi's SF

Monday, 10-20 -  Community Music Center in San Francisco's Mission District (home page here)

Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:41:37 -0400
Tom Ehrlich's Photos from the Monterey Jazz Festival Habaneros String Quartet

Here are Tom's photos from Saturday at Monterey Jazz 2014. Sunday's gallery coming soon.

Klímax will be in LA Friday and Santa Cruz Saturday. See below for more.

Thu, 16 Oct 2014 22:59:08 -0400
Piloto Drum Clinic in San Francisco - Oct. 20

If you're in Northern California, this one is absolutely not to be missed. On Klímax's one off-day, Monday, October 20th, Giraldo Piloto will do a clinic-demo session at the Community Music Center in San Francisco's Mission District (home page here). It's only $15 at the door (sliding scale), 6:30 to 8:00. No need to be a drummer or musician - this is a demo rather than a play-along master class - and an incredible opportunity to meet the greatest living Cuban musician never to have come to the United States (til now!) - and to hear him play, talk and answer your questions for 1.5 hours in a small and intimate setting. For more info, call  415-647-6015. Here are the latest concert dates.

There are drummers who compose and composers who drum, but Piloto is on the shortest of short lists in both categories, having won the timba.com award for Best Timba Drummer of All-Time and having written pivotal breakthrough hits for Issac Delgado (No me mires, Por qué paró, etc.), Charanga Habanera (Me sube la fiebre, Mi estrella, Pelirroja), NG La Banda (Te confunde ser esa mujer), Bamboleo (Yo tengo Bamboleo), and of course, Klímax.

Mon, 13 Oct 2014 00:27:13 -0400
Maykel Blanco & Su Salsa Mayor to Celebrate 10th Anniversary Maykel Blanco & Su Salsa Mayor 10th Anniversary

The place to be in Havana this weekend is Teatro Lázaro Peña for the 10th anniversary celebration of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor. Maykel has been keeping most of the plans to himself to maintain the air of mystery, but he has stated that in addition to the guest musicians, a number of plastic artists are invited.  Fans from around the world have been sending the band video greetings that Maykel will be incorporating into the anniversary AV show.

The popularity of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor, both in Cuba and abroad, is indisputable. Maykel's hard work with both the music and the audiovisual aspects of the show has made their matinee one of the must-see concerts for timberos visiting Havana. If you're in Havana, don't miss it!

During a recent appearance on Donde si no, the band performed three new songs that they will be doing at the anniversary gala, and each bears the unmistakable Salsa Mayor sello. Maykel himself classifies his music as son with songo. Over the past decade he has faced criticism for similarities to Van Van and Pupy, but there is no longer any question that Salsa Mayor has its own sound that is as recognizable as the great bands of the classic timba era. Click here to watch the video interview (in Spanish) and see all three of the new songs.

Te Escapaste - Yordys Larrazábal

Fri, 10 Oct 2014 08:30:02 -0400

After waiting for this for over 15 years, I didn't want to jinx it by getting excited before the visas came through, but they did and it's all systems go for the US DEBUT, believe it or not, of Giraldo Piloto y Klímax, the last of the great Cuban bands never to have come to the US.

There are 7 dates so far: Los Angeles on the 17th (333 Live), Santa Cruz on the 18th, Yoshi's SF on the 21st and 22nd, Seattle on the 23rd and Portland on the 24th.

The Santa Cruz (Felton) show at Don Quixote's is only $20/advance for the whole night. This is a very nice, low key, spacious club with a large dance floor - Havana d'Primera played there on their first US tour. On the afternoon of the show, Ryan and Sidney of Rueda con Ritmo will be giving classes from 1:00 to 4:00 at the Santa Cruz Tannery (corner of Hwy 1 and Hwy 9), including a special class that deals specifically with the style of Klímax and special dance steps that can used with it.

Klímax has three new singles out on amazon - featuring Piloto's new pianist and collaborator, Javier Moreno Piloto, the latest musical member of the legendary Piloto Barreto clan to join the timba scene. [Kevin Moore]

Fri, 10 Oct 2014 05:21:48 -0400
Tom Ehrlich's Photos from the Monterey Jazz Festival The Monterey Jazz is the longest continuously running jazz festival in the world, having presented everyone from Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and John Coltrane to Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Issac Delgado and the Pedrito Martínez Group. Although this year's event was a bit light on Afro-Caribbean music, it featured many outstanding bands, including living legends Herbie Hancock and Charles Lloyd, young phenoms like Cécile McLoren Salvant and Melissa Aldana, master bassist Christian McBride, and dozens of other great musicians.

This is the first of at least three reports on this year's festival. [Tom Ehrlich]

Charles Lloyd with Zakir Hussain (above) - Melissa Aldana with Francisco Mela (below)

Mon, 06 Oct 2014 01:53:51 -0400
Harold López-Nussa Trio US Tour Continues
The Harold López-Nussa Trio continues its US Tour on the  East Coast.  On October 1, they performed at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, which posts videos of its performances on its website.   You can watch that concert here, and you can see the rest of the tour itinerary here. Catch them live if you can - their performances are electric.  

Fri, 03 Oct 2014 22:49:17 -0400
Two New Klímax Dates Added BREAKING NEWS! Make that 4 new dates
Seattle and Portland on the 23rd and 24th!

CLICK HERE to see the full list (Klimax USA Tour 2014).
Much more coming on this historic tour.
OPRIMA AQUÍ para evr todas las fechas nuevas.

Kilmax USA Tour 2014

Fri, 03 Oct 2014 03:59:28 -0400
Harold López-Nussa in Evanston

The Harold López-Nussa trio gave an intense performance at Evanston SPACE on Monday, September 29.  You can see a photo gallery and summary here

Also, Mezcla is at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz tonight (October 2). 

Fri, 03 Oct 2014 00:03:29 -0400
TONIGHT: MEZCLA AT YOSHI'S OAKLAND Mezcla, which has been on tour in the Midwestern United States (including the World Music Festivals in Millennium Park in Chicago and Madison, Wisconsin) and a few engagements in Washington state, returns to the Bay Area for two nights:  Yoshi's in Oakland on Wednesday, October 1, and the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz on Thursday, October 2. .Here's a clip from their 2013 performance at Yoshi's Oakland:

For times and tickets for Yoshi's Oakland, click here
For times and tickets for Kuumbwa Jazz Center, click here.  

Mezcla is due to release a new album, Pure Mezcla, in November.   Stay tuned. 

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:03:19 -0400
Mezcla: Back to Oakland Mezcla, which has been on tour in the Midwestern United States (including the World Music Festivals in Millennium Park in Chicago and Madison, Wisconsin) and a few engagements in Washington state, returns to the Bay Area for two nights:  Yoshi's in Oakland on Wednesday, October 1, and the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz on Thursday, October 2. .Here's a clip from their 2013 performance at Yoshi's Oakland:

For times and tickets for Yoshi's Oakland, click here
For times and tickets for Kuumbwa Jazz Center, click here.  

Mezcla is due to release a new album, Pure Mezcla, in November.   Stay tuned. 

Also, virtuoso Cuban Jazz pianist/composer Harold López Nussa is on tour in trio with a stop in the Chicago area on Monday, September 29, at Evanston SPACE.   For more details about that show, click here. Several cities remain on the itinerary, which you can view here

Sun, 28 Sep 2014 23:15:54 -0400
New Singles from Klímax Tom's latest SJ JAZZ gallery begins with a batch of photos by the newest addition to timba.com, renowned Bay Area rumbero/fotógrafo Yussef Breffe. Stay tuned for more from Yussef soon. Also stay tuned for news on the upcoming tour of Klímax (Oct. 18 at Don Quixote's - Oct 21 & 22 at Yoshi's SF ) and the new album from Los Hermanos Arango. Here's are three great new Klímax singles: Aquí estoy , Si te descuidas , and La ternerita .

Yosmel Montejo with Calixto Oviedo - photo by Yussef Breffe

Álvaro Benavides with Pedrito Martínez Group - photo by Tom Ehrlich

Sat, 27 Sep 2014 17:47:02 -0400
In Motion: The New NCX Album ENGLISH: Manuel Valera and New Cuban Express do it again:  In Motion is as exciting as the first two NCX albums, and it has just been released.   You can read our review in English here

ESPAÑOL: Manuel Valera y New Cuban Express lo hacen otra vez: In Motion es tan emocionante como los dos primeros álbumes de NCX, y se acaba de lanzar.  Puede leer nuestra reseña en español aquí. 

Un nuevo programa de radio en español, Domingos Felices, que se transmite todos los domingos entre 2-4pm hora de Chicago por la tarde, cuenta con nueva música cubana y lo mejor de la otra Salsa incluyendo entrevistas con artistas destacados e interesantes.  Este domingo, por ejemplo, el programa ofrece un par de canciones del nuevo album de El Niño y La Verdad y una entrevista en directo con ganador del GRAMMY Marlow Rosado además de una entrevista grabada con ganador del premio Cubadisco Harold López-Nussa. Marlow tiene una nueva grabación, Salsanimal.   Un video:  

Domingos Felices (también conocido informalmente como Tu Radio Secreta porque la emisora todavía no ha publicado el show en su página web) está disponible alrededor de Chicago en WCEV AM 1450 y via Internet entre 2-4pm hora de Chicago los domingos aquí:

Sat, 27 Sep 2014 15:12:43 -0400
The Nominees for the 15th Annual Latin GRAMMY® Awards

(Image Source: Facebook Page of Descemer Bueno)

ENGLISH:  On Wednesday, September 24, the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences® (LARAS) announced the nominations for the 15th Annual Latin GRAMMY® Awards.  For followers of Cuban music, this year is less exciting than last, which included the Lifetime Achievement Award for Juan Formell and more Cuban nominees.  Still, there are some interesting highlights. You can read Bill Tilford's perspectives about this year's nominations here

ESPAÑOL:  El miércoles, 24 de septiembre, La Academia Latina de la Grabacion® (LARAS) anunció las nominaciones a la 15a Entrega Anual del Latin GRAMMY®.  Para los seguidores de la música cubana, este año parece menos emocionante que el anterior, que incluyó el Premio a la Excelencia Musical para Juan Formell y más nominados cubanos.  Sin embargo, hay algunos interesantes aspectos destacados.  Puede leer las perspectivas de Bill Tilford sobre las nominaciones actuales aquí


Thu, 25 Sep 2014 19:33:56 -0400
Mayito Rivera & The Sons of Cuba @WOMEX 14 Mayito RiveraThe 14th World Music Expo - WOMEX, will take place from October 22-26 in the beautiful, historic city of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Last year Los Van Van was given the Artist Award at WOMEX 13. This year Mayito Rivera & The Sons of Cuba have been selected as part of the Artist Showcase. They will perform on October 23rd. Click here to purchase your tickets for the October 23rd showcase.

For those of you unfamiliar with WOMEX, it is a world music trade fair where artists, promoters and labels can meet and network. It also includes showcase performances each night open to visitors, as well as awards for excellence presented at events only open to attendees. 

Mayito's selection for the WOMEX showcase is an affirmation of his recent solo work as represented by the album "Invéntate una historia". All arrangements and lyrics on the new album are by Mayito. With this album he is mixing Cuban music with a broader range of world musical traditions. Check out the electronic press kit below to hear more about Mayito's latest project from the man himself. And if you can't make WOMEX, you can still catch Mayito performing with Soneros de Verdad tomorrow, September 25th in Brussels at Moliere, Friday the 26th in Utrecht at Rasa and Saturday the 27th in The Hague at Korzo

Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:27:43 -0400
Harold López-Nussa Comes To The Midwestern US ENGLISH: Stellar Cuban pianist and composer Harold López-Nussa is now on tour in the United States and will be performing in Evanston, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) on Monday, September 29 at 7:30pm at SPACE, 1245 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.  He will be in trio with bassist Gaston Joya and his brother, drummer Ruy Adrian López Nussa. You can read all the details on SPACE's web page for the event. This is a don't miss event for fans of the new Jazz in Cuba. 
Read our review of the album New Day  here. 
See the rest of the tour here.

  Estelar pianista/compositor cubano Harold López-Nussa se encuentra de gira en los Estados Unidos, y él se presentará en Evanston, Illinois (un suburbio de Chicago) el lunes, 29 de Septiembre a las 7:30pm en SPACE, 1245 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.  Él estará en trío con el bajista Gastón Joya y su hermano, el baterista Ruy Adrián López-Nussa.  Puede leer todos los detalles en la página web de SPACE para el evento.  Esto es un "no se lo pierda" evento para los fans del nuevo Jazz en Cuba. 
Lea nuestra reseña del álbum  New Day  aquí.  Vea el resto de la gira aquí. 

Tue, 23 Sep 2014 10:11:48 -0400
Cubans Worldwide Unite for "Guantanamera"

Music organization PLAYING FOR CHANGE brings us this Cuban classic... "Guantanamera". PFC started the song with Carlos Varela in Havana and it features over 75 Cuban musicians around the world, from Havana and Santiago to Miami, Barcelona and Tokyo. They recorded and produced this track with Jackson Browne, who explains that “traveling with Playing For Change across Cuba was one of the most rewarding and inspiring musical experiences of my life.”

Aymee Nuviola (vocals)  --  Equis Alfonso (vocals) -- Eva Griñán (vocals) --  Carlos Varela (vocals/guitar) -- Diana Fuentes (vocals) --  Grupo Síntesis (vocals) --  Luis Bofill (vocals/guiro) -- Reinaldo Elosegui (vocals) --  Candi Sosa (vocals/maracas) --  Manuel Galbán (guitar) --  Gabino Jardines (guitar) --  Alexander “Pupi” Carriera (conga) --  Miami Cuban Horns (Braily Ramos: trombone, Carlos Puig, trumpet, Felipe Lamoglia: saxophone) -- Camerata Romeu (strings conducted by Zenaida Romeu Diogenes) -- Manfarrol Medrano (marímbula) --  Gastón Joya (upright bass) --  Ernán López-Nussa (piano) -- Joel Peña (tres) --  La Conga de San Agustín (La Pasión) --  Luis Conte (bongos) --  Luis Valle (trumpet) --   Michelle Fragoso (piano) -- Papa Orbe Ortiz (bass) --  Sergio Cardona Veranes (guitar) --  Rigoberto López (bass)

Playing for Change is a multimedia music project, created by the American producer and sound engineer Mark Johnson with his Timeless Media Group, that seeks to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. Playing For Change also created a separate non-profit organization called the Playing For Change Foundation, which builds music schools for children around the world.

"Guantanamera" is a track from the album “PFC3 Songs Around The World”, which features 185 musicians from 31 countries, including performances from Keith Richards, Sara Bareilles, Taj Mahal, Toots Hibbert from Toots & The Maytals, Los Lobos, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Keb’ Mo’, and Andres Calamaro, in addition to a song produced by Jackson Browne. Here is the cover and link...

PFC3 Songs Around The World

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 05:28:04 -0400
Buena Fe Miami Rehearsals
Israel Rojas tells us a little about what to expect at the Miami show.

Tomorrow, September 18th, Buena Fe will perform at Miami-Dade County Auditorium with guest Frank Delgado. This year's show is a tribute to contemporary Cuban cinema including audiovisual segments. I can't make the Miami show, but I was in Havana and caught two of the rehearsals where they were preparing for the Miami show.

The first day, Israel missed the first hour of rehearsal because he was giving interviews. The second day they really focused on coordinating the audiovisual part of the show. Someone brought a smart TV that is supposed to work with gestures and voice control. No one could ever get that working, but they did get the video sections of the performance set up, however, you will get no spoilers from me! Below is a little montage of moments from the rehearsals on September 9 and 11, 2014.

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:37:16 -0400
Llegó La Verdad El Niño y La Verdad - Llegó La VerdadA photo of my copy of "Llegó la Verdad" on the seat by my departure gate

I totally lucked out! I took a very brief trip to Cuba where I was never able to hook up with Emilio Frias "El Niño" and Pachy Jr. for the interview I have been wanting to about La Verdad. But as luck would have it, while going through security at José Martí airport, I looked up and saw that just two people ahead of me in  line was Emilio. They were on their way to Cancún for the Mayan congress. We hugged, he introduced me to his mom and he gave me the very first copy of the new CD "Llegó La Verdad". Hot off the presses! I knew the news would be out by the time I reached Stockholm (a 16 hour trip) but at least I know I was the very first person to get a copy. As I expected, it is a brilliant album worth the wait. A full review will be coming soon, but let me just say that the songs you have already heard as demos have been re-recorded/re-mixed and sound better than ever. There are 3 songs I haven't heard at all previously. Also worth noting, the new version of "La Mata" no longer features El Micha like the demo did, and "Seguir viviendo" is a Manolito Simonet arrangement with an intro that really brings to mind a "Loco por tus besos" vibe.

Below is a track & genre listing, which you might find interesting. All arrangements are by Wifredo Naranjo "Pachy Jr." and Dayron Ortega except as listed below. The hard copy is on sale in Havana at the EGREM stores. I don't know yet what the iTunes and other digital outlets release date will be.

  1. La verdad (son)
  2. Ese soy yo (son)
  3. Dime cuanto (son)
  4. Mi música (son)
  5. Seguir viviendo (son - arr. & piano Manolito Simonet)
  6. Loco pero te amo (son)
  7. La mata (mozambique)
  8. Verdad amarga (bolero - arr. Emilio Vega)
  9. Piénsalo (timba feat. El Yonky)
  10. Yo sí camino La Habana (son)


Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:32:26 -0400
Chicago's Cuban Music Explosion Continues

ENGLISH:   Mezcla performed at the World Music Festival in Millennium Park in Chicago on Friday, September 12 - you can see a photo gallery here.   Their tour of the United States continues for the next few weeks, and their new album, Pure Mezcla, is scheduled for release in November. 
You can hear segments of an extended interview (in Spanish) with Pablo Menéndez on the radio show Domingos Felices during the next few Sundays along with some music from the group. 
On Saturday, September 20, Chuchito Valdés returns to Chicago, and the percussionist for this session, Joaquin Pozo "El Pulpo", will give a percussion clinic on Sunday, September 21.  For full details, see the Report From Chicago Events & Reviews page. 

ESPAÑOL:  Mezcla actuó en el Festival de Música Mundial en el Parque del Milenio en Chicago el viernes 12 de Septiembre - se puede ver una galería de fotos aquí. Su gira por los Estados Unidos continúa durante las próximas semanas, y su nuevo álbum, Pure Mezcla, tiene previsto su lanzamiento en noviembre. 
Se puede escuchar segmentos de una entrevista extendida (en español) con Pablo Menéndez en el programa de radio Domingos Felices durante los próximos domingos junto con un poco de la música del grupo. 
El sábado,  20 de septiembre, Chuchito Valdés vuelve a Chicago de septiembre, y el percusionista para esta sesión, Joaquín Pozo "El Pulpo", dará una clínica de percusión el domingo, 21 de septiembre. Para más detalles, véase el informe en la página  Report From Chicago Events & Reviews.



Sat, 13 Sep 2014 21:57:04 -0400
MEZCLA US TOUR BEGINS THIS WEEK Mezcla, one of Cuba's most important fusion bands, begins a tour of the United States this week beginning with the World Music Festival in Millennium Park in Chicago  on Friday,  September 12.  As this is being written, the finishing touches are being put on a new recording, Pure Mezcla, which will be released November 1, 2014. (Those of you in radio and the press can write yours truly, Bill Tilford, for more details about the recording.)    This is is raw footage from Mezcla's 2013 concert at Yoshi's in Oakland.:

This tour will be using the same personnel as this concert. This edition of the group relies more heavily on Pablo's guitar than most previous versions  of the group, and he delivers.  For the complete tour itinerary and more, visit Mezcla's website.  And stay tuned for Pure Mezcla, coming in November. 

La Timba, along with other new Cuban music,  is frequently an orphan in many radio stations that play other Caribbean music, so I'm pleased to tell you Frank Camacho and I now are playing a fair share of it (along with other music) on a brand new radio show, Domingos Felices, every Sunday afternoon from 2-4pm Chicago time.  In metro Chicago, you can hear it on WCEV 1450am.  The rest of the planet can listen to it via Internet here.  Hablamos español, pero la música es pa' todo el mundo. Tenemos entrevistas y otras cosas buenas también.  Tenemos una nueva página en Facebook:  Domingos Felices Radio1450

Mon, 08 Sep 2014 21:37:10 -0400
Tom Ehrlich's Photos from SJ JAZZ: Day 3 The final day of SJ Jazz was historic. Here's Part 1 of Tom Ehrlich's mega-gallery.

                      At the Main Stage: Jhair Sala, guest star Calixto Oviedo, Pedrito Martínez

Tito Matos, Kianí Medina and Juan Martínez of Viento de Agua

Mon, 08 Sep 2014 00:08:19 -0400
Alain Pérez's New Album Getting the old Issac 97 band back together!

Fri, 05 Sep 2014 21:57:45 -0400
PMO in LA • SJ JAZZ Day 2 Peter Maiden has a full review of Pacific Mambo Orchestra in Marina del Rey - more on this from Mike coming soon - and Tom Ehrlich's SJ JAZZ Day 2 gallery is up. Click on each photo for the gallery.

Wed, 03 Sep 2014 02:04:07 -0400
Aruán Ortiz, Orlando Sanchez & Miguel Zenon in Chicago

Three interesting Jazz events took place in Chicago over the weekend; you can read about them and see photos here

Durante los meses recientes, Bill Tilford había estado trayendo grabaciones actuales y recientes hechas en Cuba y las hechas por cubano-americanos al show de Frank Camacho, Sábados de Fiesta.  Ellos tambien habían entrevistando a músicos cubanos y cubano-americanos. A partir del Domingo, 7 de septiembre de las 2 a las 4 pm hora de Chicago (1900-2100 TUC) en WCEV 1450am, un nuevo show, Domingos Felices, seguirá el mismo formato basico con la música cubana actual, entrevistas, chistes etc. Se puede escuchar el programa (en español) via Internet. Ellos también pondrán otra música latina, pero la música cubana actual recibirá un énfasis especial. 

Mon, 01 Sep 2014 17:18:07 -0400
Calixto-Yosmel-Josiel at Yoshi's Oakland Tonight Yoshi's Oakland has finally booked a Cuban act again and it's a great one - AC Jazz Project (can we do something about these generic band names?) - with Josiel and Yosmel, who have been tearing it up with everyone since staying in the US after the Maraca tour, plus Calixto Oviedo and a  highly-touted pianist named Fermín Sinfontes. It's an early show at 7:30 tonight, Aug. 30. See you there.

In other news, what are they putting in water in Sweden?

Sat, 30 Aug 2014 17:10:29 -0400
Tom Ehrlich's SJ Jazz Photos Click here for the full gallery

Bootsy Collins

Jimmy Bosch

Omar Ledezma of PMO

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:04:56 -0400
A Fifth of Festival Cubano

What do these two  have in common?   If your answer was "Some men can't tell them apart after 8 drinks", that's not a bad guess, but there's actually more:  Read all about it here...

Fri, 22 Aug 2014 20:54:34 -0400
Jorge Luis Pacheco Returns Look for the return of this phenomenal pianist this fall. He'll be at the Apollo in NY on Oct. 24th in a tribute to Herbie Hancock at the invitation of Quincy Jones. Check for more tour dates at Direct from Cuba.

Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:57:41 -0400
JAZZ TOUR EXPLOSION This is going to be a little Chicago-centric, but multiple cities are sometimes involved, and Aruan Ortíz, Mezcla, Harold López-Nussa and Alfredo Rodríguez are all going on tours in the United States very soon, and all of them have stops in Chicago:

1.   Aruan Ortíz Orbiting Quartet.  In Chicago on August 29 at the Beverly Arts Center and Detroit on August 30 at the Detroit Jazz Festival.   This Santiago-born piano virtuoso is now an internationally-famous Jazz artist.   READ MORE HERE 

Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:31:59 -0400
Two New Tom Ehrlich Galleries There's still an avalanche of photos from SJ Jazz to come, but for today, we have Roberto Roena and Joe Bataan at Stern Grove (with opening act Vieux Farka Toure) and Conjunto Chappottín at Santa Cruz's Kuumbwa Jazz Center.

Joe Bataan with Roberto Roena

Roberto Borrell (playing clave) with Conjunto Chappottín

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 01:35:46 -0400
Peter Maiden Reviews Hermán Olivera

Club Fox in Redwood City, located next to the Fox Theater, was on fire Friday night August 15 when Hermán Olivera took the stage with Orquesta Taíno. Olivera has a new album out, “La Voz del Caribe,” which was recorded with Venezuelan musicians. Taíno played Olivera’s difficult charts with a solid groove. Percussion was tight and the three-trombone horn section did very well, with some solos reminiscent of Barry Rogers or Juan Pablo Torres. [click to continue reading ...]

Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:18:04 -0400
Buena Fe & the 7th Art in Miami Buena Fe @Miami Dade County Auditorium September 18 2014

In exactly one month on September 18 Buena Fe will return to Miami Dade County Auditorium, the site of their remarkable 2013 sold-out release concert for the CD "Dial" . This year Cuba's favorite pop-rock duo will bring the complete Havana experience including their horn section and a trio of strings. The concert will be an unprecedented audiovisual event combining the music of Buena Fe with clips that have marked Cuban cinema over the years, including "Memorias del Subdesarrollo" (ICAIC 1968), "Casa Vieja" (ICAIC 2010), "Habanastation" (ICAIC 2011), "Animados de Juan Padrón" (1981-2010), "Jose Martí, El ojo del canario" (ICAIC 2010) and "Cuba Va!" (ICAIC 1971) among others. Buena Fe sold out all 2500 seats last year so don't wait to get your tickets on sale now at Ticketmaster

If you're not familiar with Buena Fe I can summarize by saying that while they are generally classified as pop-rock, their arrangements also include fusions with son, conga, changüí, rumba and even with classical pieces such as Lecuona's "La comparsa" and Leo Brouwer's "Un día de noviembre".  But me the most outstanding aspect of the band is the lyrics. To learn more you can start by checking out their section here at Timba.com. They also have their own homepage and a very active and interactive Facebook page

Or maybe I should just let the music speak for itself. Here is the video for "La culpa" from the 2013 CD "Dial".

Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:27:57 -0400
Chicago's Festival Cubano: Now For The Entire World When Timberos attack: DJ Fernando Cuban Mix (L) and Master of Ceremonies Frank Camacho (R)

ENGLISH: The party seriously came alive Saturday afternoon at Festival Cubano.   Our friends in Cuba will enjoy learning that Dj Fernando Cuban Mix played Havana d'Primera's Me dicen cuba (and the audience loved it), and Sureya included Juan Formell's Aquí se enciende la candela in her segment   I'll have a story and photos next week, the news du jour is that Festival Cubano goes out to the whole world today.  If you want to watch in Beijing or Vladivostok, there should be a video link on the Festival Cubano website starting at 1600 Coordinated Universal Time (11am in the US) and going until close of festival. Another video link is www.frecuenciaoye.com  AND, from 1600-1700 UTC (11am-Noon Central US), there will be a special edition of Sábados de Fiesta (WCGO AM 1590)  live from the festival.  Must- see TV: Palo! at 23:30 UTC (6:30pm central US).  Must-hear radio:  Sabados de Fiesta at 4pm UTC (11am Central US).

Sureya starts a fire. 

ESPAÑOL:  La fiesta cobró vida en serio la tarde del sábado en el Festival Cubano. Nuestros amigos en Cuba disfrutarán aprendiendo que Dj Fernando Mix cubano pusó Me dicen Cuba por Havana d'Primera (y el público se lo encantó), y Sureya incluyó  "Aquí se Enciende la candela" por Juan Formell en su segmento.  Yo tendré una historia y fotos la próxima semana, lo nuevo es que hoy, Festival Cubano  se transmite para el mundo entero.  Si usted quiere mirar en Beijing o Vladivostok, debe haber un enlace de vídeo en el sitio  web del Festival Cubano a partir de las 16:00 Tiempo Universal Coordinado (11am Centro en los EE.UU.) y se va hasta el cierre del festival. Otro enlace de video es www.frecuenciaoye.com , Y,  4-5 UTC (11am-Mediodía Centro de Estados Unidos), habrá una edición especial de Sábados de Fiesta (WCGO AM 1590) en directo desde el festival.  "Hay que ver" TV:  Palo! a las 11:30 pm UTC (6:30 pm Centro) "Hay que escuchar" radio: Sábados de Fiesta.

Sun, 17 Aug 2014 09:03:59 -0400
Chicago's Festival Cubano Begins

ENGLISH: Whatever else happens this weekend, it was a pleasure to see Juan Formell's contributions to the music acknowledged at a public festival in Chicago.  We'll be sharing a lot more about this event during the next few days.  For more information about the festival, see thecubanfestival.com

ESPAÑOL:  Pase lo que pase este fin de semana, fue un placer ver el reconocimiento de las contribuciones de Juan Formell a la música en un festival público en Chicago.  Compartiremos mucho más acerca de este evento durante los próximos días.  Para obtener más información sobre el festival ver thecubanfestival.com

Sat, 16 Aug 2014 02:03:01 -0400
Cuban Recordings and the Latin GRAMMY® Awards ENGLISH:  Every year, more of the best recordings from Cuba are being submitted to LARAS for consideration in the Latin GRAMMY© Awards.  Cuba also has its own superb awards program, Cubadisco, and many recordings are now submitted to both programs.

Although these recordings are of excellent quality and well-known in many countries, in some cases, TIMBA.com may be the resource in the United States that contains a review of them.   Bill Tilford monitors this situation closely, and based on what he has learned, we want to bring to your attention the following reviews and other documentation about several of the recordings from Cuba that are likely to appear in the Latin GRAMMY® process.  This is almost certainly a partial list, but we hope that this will serve as a valuable resource for learning more about these recordings.  Read more here...

ESPAÑOL: Cada año, más de las mejores grabaciones de Cuba  se entregan a LARAS para consideración en los premios Latin GRAMMY®. Cuba también tiene su propio programa de premios magníficos, Cubadisco, y muchas grabaciones se entregan ahora a ambos programas.  

Aunque estas grabaciones son de excelente calidad y muy conocidas en muchos países, en algunos casos, TIMBA.com puede ser el único recurso en los Estados Unidos que contiene una reseña de ellas. Bill Tilford monitoriza de cerca esta situación, y en base a lo que él ha aprendido, queremos traer a su atención  los siguientes reseñas y otra documentación  sobre varias de las grabaciones de Cuba que puedan aparecer en el proceso del Latin GRAMMY®. Esta es casi seguramente una lista parcial, pero esperamos que esto sirva como un recurso valioso para aprender más acerca de estas grabaciones. Lea más aquí...

Tue, 12 Aug 2014 09:33:20 -0400
Peter Maiden's SJ Jazz Photos Three great new galleries from Peter Maiden - click on each photo to see the full gallery for that group.

Pedrito Martínez Group


Orquesta Borinquen

Tue, 12 Aug 2014 03:47:02 -0400
SJ Jazz - One for the Ages Pedrito Martínez Group - Álvaro Benavides on bass - photo by Peter Maiden

Pedrito Martínez Group - San Jose Jazz Festival - photo by Peter Maiden

The 25th San Jose Jazz Festival was absolutely tremendous, capped by the Pedrito Martínez Group playing three stunning shows - one with special guest Calixto Oviedo and another with Jerry González sitting in on trumpet. Among dozens of other amazing acts was the California debut of the classic plena band Viento de Agua, led by Tito Matos, who will be conducting a plena clinic with John Santos at the Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco.

Tito Matos Clinic Tonight
6:30 to 8:30
2868 Mission St.

Mon, 11 Aug 2014 04:00:14 -0400
SJ JAZZ: CLIMACTIC LAST DAY Sunday at SJ Jazz is truly a day for the ages. 

Three Pedrito Martínez Group concerts within a 12-hour period provide the incredible opportunity to experience just how differently this historically great band plays each time they pick up their instruments.

Here's my plan to get he most out of this tremendous lineup. Start by waking up a bit early to catch every note of PMG's 12:00 noon show on the main stage. While you wait for their 5:30 set at Café Strich you can hear the tremendous plena group Viento de Agua (with monster plenero Tito Matos) at 2:00 at the Blackbird stage, then slide back over to the main stage for John Santos' and Poncho Sánchez's musical tribute to the late great Armando Pereza, a wonderful man who did as much as anyone to put Northern California on the Latin music map. Next, there should be time to catch part of QBA's set on the salsa stage before the second PMG set at Café Stritch at 5:30. Next you can the tail end of either David Sanborn or the second Viento de Agua show before relaxin' at the Big Easy with Donald Harrison as you build up strength for Pedrito Martinez' climactic 9:00 closer at the Blackbird. [Kevin Moore]

Sun, 10 Aug 2014 04:39:56 -0400
Alex in Wonderland
 What should have been Havana d'Primera's triumphant debut in Chicago instead became a surreal competition between a band that wanted to play excellent music and a sound system that attempted to make it sound like something not suitable for human ears.  Who won? Click here to find out. 
Español: Lo que debería haber sido el debut triunfal de  Havana d'Primera en Chicago en vez se convirtió en una competición surrealista entre una banda que quería tocar excelente música y un sistema de sonido que trató de hacer que suene como algo no adecuado para el oído humano. ¿Quién ganó? Haz clic aquí para averiguarlo.

 The 5th Annual Festival Cubano in Chicago (August 15-17) will include a tribute to Juan Formell during its first night.   On the final night, the lineup includes one of Bill Tilford's favorite bands, Palo!  What else is happening?  Click here to find out. 
Español: El quinto anual Festival Cubano en Chicago (15-17 de agosto) incluirá un homenaje a Juan Formell durante su primera noche. Para la noche final, la lista de los grupos incluye uno de los grupos favoritos de Bill Tilford, Palo!  ¿Qué más pasará?  Haz clic aquí para averiguarlo. 

Sun, 10 Aug 2014 01:53:27 -0400
SJ JAZZ: DAY 2 Last night was the Bootsy & Bosch show. While you won't find his records in the Latin section, the most natural way to describe a lot of what Bootsy Collins does is with timba terminology: tumbaos, efectos and gear changes. This was no descarga however - the show was as tight and choreographed as Charanga Habanera and had as much of the same type of rhythmic fireworks as ... well ... the old Charanga Habanera. They hit several epic funk groove peaks over the course of a long show on the main stage that was so good that it forced me to miss Pacific Mambo. Jimmy Bosch was a study in contrasts. Where Bootsy had two bassists and a whole troupe of dancers, Jimmy used precisely one person (himself) to cover the entire coro and horn sections as his sextet cycled through a master class on salsa dura. The one-man coro section was a bit odd, but it resulted in some very interesting moments where Jimmy kept changing the coro, forcing his quick-witted young sonero to pull out his best improvising chops.

All in all, a perfect start to a perfect festival that will climax tomorrow with no less that THREE separate performances by The Pedrito Martínez Group. Today, Saturday, We have Calixto Oviedo, Chappottín twice, Fort Apache twice, Wayne Wallace, and all of the Bay Area's best bands: QBA, Avance, Pasión Habanera (aka Pellejo Seco) etc. [Kevin Moore]

Sat, 09 Aug 2014 17:08:08 -0400
SJ JAZZ BEGINS TONIGHT SJ Jazz Festival's truly historic lineup begins tonight with trombone legend Jimmy Bosch and James Brown legend Bootsy Collins.

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 17:16:08 -0400
Unity at Zinc

Unity is a musical project and collaborative ideal conceived in the summer of 2006 by Cuban-American drummer Amaury Acosta and Cuban pianist Axel Tosca Laugart. Their musical influences run the gamut and include the likes of J Dilla, Tower of Power, Chucho Valdez, McCoy Tyner, Robert Glasper, Bon Iver, Arnold Schoenberg, Allan Holdsworth, Jimi Hendrix, Derek Trucks, Tyler the Creator, Irakere, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, Brian Blade, Jay-Z, Buena Vista Social Club, Busta Rhymes, Freddie Hubbard and many more. Unity’s strong heritage and eclectic modernism come together to form a refreshing and unstoppable sound.

Their debut album Peace, Love &Music was released in April of 2013 “as Unity’s manifesto, mission statement and first step to reaching all those who dream of being enlightened, refreshed and inspired by music again. In their mission of fusing Afro-Cuban culture with modern jazz, soul, hip-hop and gospel they’ve sacrificed neither virtuosity nor groove”.

For their residency at the legendary Zinc bar, located in historic Greenwhich Village, New York City, the group will be performing songs from their album along with new, unreleased compositions The groups lineup will include guitarist Michael Valeanu, pianist Axel Tosca Laugart, bassist Alex Da Silva, saxophonist Max Cudworth, and musical director Amaury Acosta on drums.

Zinc Bar - 82 w 3rd st (Bet. Thompson and Sullivan Sts)

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 17:14:28 -0400
Los Conquistadores de la Salsa Robert Armas & Los Conquistadores de la Salsa, Peru's pioneering Timba band, are finishing up their month long tour of Europe. They have played in Spain, France, Italy and Germany and this weekend August 9th they  will be coming to my hometown Stockholm, Sweden, for the first time! During their tour this award-winning band has played important festivals such as Festival Cubain Bayamo in Seyne-Sur-Mer, France. They have delighted audiences with their energetic show and popular timba hits as well as performing estrenos from their upcoming fifth album, "Yo traigo mi tumbao". Last night I was able to reach Robert Armas by phone and ask him a few questions about the band, Lima audiences versus European audiences and what we should expect from them in concert. You can listen to the interview below (in Spanish).

Check out their updated section at Timba.com and one of their newest hits at Soundcloud: "A quien no le gusta Cuba".

The concert will take place this Saturday and is the penultimate concert of the tour which ends in Barcelona on Sunday. The evening will also feature Peruvian cuisine, four DJs and a performance and animation by Fredy Clan before Los Conquistadores take the stage. Check out Fredy's fantastic blending of dance and music in the video below. Stay tuned for a concert report.

Wed, 06 Aug 2014 16:19:28 -0400

Today's incarnation of Conjunto Chappottín is probably as close as we'll ever get to experiencing what the legendary Arsenio Rodríguez Conjunto sounded like live. When Arsenio left for New York in the early 1950s, his trumpeter, Félix Chappottín, took over as leader and the band has been inherited by Félix's grandson, Angél Jesús Chappottín, and Miguel Cuní, Jr., the son of the group's original star singer. As they explain in this excellent mini-documentary they've really taken to heart the idea of recreating the sound and flavor of a real conjunto.

They'll be at Kuumbwa Jazz Center Thursday - one admission covers the whole night and the dance floor will be open. They'll also play twice on Saturday at the San José Jazz Festival. Tomorrow I'll have much more on the rest of the fest - the best lineup I've ever seen for a Latin festival, included three separate appearances by The Pedrito Martínez Group, Calixto Oviedo, Viento de Agua, Jimmy Bosch, Jerry González and Fort Apache, a tribute to Armando Peraza by Pancho Sánchez and John Santos, Bootsy Collins, David Sanborn, Donald Harrison, Snarky Puppy and virtually every top Bay Area group. SJ Jazz starts Friday evening and runs all weekend.

Wed, 06 Aug 2014 01:54:08 -0400
New reviews of Cuban CDs and Photo Galleries From La Habana
ENGLISH:  This week, we have published three new photo galleries from La Habana:
ESPAÑOL:  Esta semana, publicamos  tres nuevas galerías de fotos de La Habana:
Michel Herrera  César López & Habana Ensemble    Julio Valdés Fuentes & Pentajazz

Also, there are several new reviews of recordings made in Cuba in our Reviews section. 
ESPAÑOL: Además, hay varias nuevas reseñas de grabaciones hechas en Cuba en nuestra sección de Reseñas

Tue, 05 Aug 2014 17:51:41 -0400
Remembering Juan Formell Juan Formell in 2008 with the Grammy for Llegó Van VanJuan Formell 2008 at home with the Grammy from Llegó...Van Van

Today marks what would have been the 72nd birthday of one of the most iconic and widely loved figures of Cuban contemporary dance music. A musical pioneer and innovator, Juan Formell enjoyed the challenge of experimentation and creation and the interplay between the dancer and the musician. This is well summed up in "A ver que sale" from the 1974 Areito release known today as Volume III: 
Eh, te voy a cantar y tú vas a bailar a ver qué sale / Eh, tú muévete que yo cantaré a ver qué sale / Pontele atención al de violín, te cantaremos hasta el fin / Y tú serás el bailarin a ver qué sale / Que si sale o si no sale la cosa de aprendizaje.

Over time Juan Formell and Los Van Van became the international symbol of the excellence of contemporary Cuban dance music. It remains to be seen how the younger generation will step up to meet the challenges that Cuban dance music faces today.

Below is the beautiful musical tribute that the Cuban musicians put together for Formell. I invite you all to post your own tribute to Formell in the comments. Felicidades Maestro y que pases tu cumpleaños de fiesta con Arsenio, El Beny y todos los grandes.

Sat, 02 Aug 2014 07:42:44 -0400

It's been a historically disappointing summer, full of last minute cancellations and crushed expectations, but we can now confirm that (although the opening Miami and LA shows were canceled due to system-wide visa bugs that, for once, have nothing to do with Cuba) Havana d'Primera is now in the Yuma and ready to roll for Yoshi's SF TONIGHT and Saturday, Minneapolis on Aug. 7th, Chicago on Aug. 8th and at B.B. King's in NYC on August 12th. More details as they come in, but tonight is definitely on - see you there!

Meanwhile, The 2014 San José Jazz Festival (Aug. 8, 9, 10) will be one for the ages and there are no visas involved (phew...) , except for Conjunto Chappottín, who are (I'm 99% sure) already in the country and will also be playing a dance show at Kuumbwa Jazz Center on Aug. 7th. Chappottín has gotten rave reviews on the East Coast. And the REST of the SJ Jazz lineup is just unbelievable - Pedrito Martínez Group, Calixto Oviedo, Fort Apache, Jimmy Bosch, Viento de Agua (hot plena), Donald Harrison, QBA, Pacific Mambo, Pasión Habanera, Orquesta Borinquen, Avance, Wayne Wallace - on and on - and many, including Pedrito Martínez, play more than once. [Kevin Moore, all photos by Tom Ehrlich]

Fri, 01 Aug 2014 16:25:05 -0400
Maykel Blanco & Maykel Fonts @Latinoamericando Maykel Blanco has just uploaded a beautiful video from the concert at the Latinoamericando Expo in Milan. It is "Bembé" from the CD "A toda máquina", with Yordys Larrazabal on lead and Maykel Fonts dancing. The song ends at 5 minutes during a drum solo by Alain Miguel Reboredo, but you get a feel for the quality of the performance and the professionalism of the festival, which is now in its 24th year. Enjoy!


Thu, 31 Jul 2014 08:15:54 -0400
SILENCE PLEASE! So I was having a conversation at Facebook with timba DJs Melao and Jack El Calvo about the exciting Lima-based band Bun Bun Mezcla'o when they pointed out that we don't have anything about the band here at Timba.com...yet. I currently have three other groups to finish before I can get started on their section, but we can always begin with a little introduction to the band here in Primera Plana.

Bun Bun Mezcla'oPhoto courtesy of Bun Bun Mezcla'o Facebook page

Bun Bun Mezcla'o is one of Lima's youngest orchestras having been formed in 2013 under the direction of Leo Herrera Lugo. Leo studied percussion at Alejandro García Caturla and worked with a number of bands in Lima before ending up as keyboardist and musical director in the group of the late Rafael Labarrera.

Bun Bun Mezcla'o began recording their debut CD "Así soy yo" within months of their formation. The album has not yet been released, but you can find singles at YouTube. Compositions are by Leo and singer Caridad Plaza, while the arrangements are by Leo and pianist Susana Alberte. Both Caridad and Susana came to Lima with the group Son Ladies. We will be updating Timba.com with a section for Bun Bun Mezcla'o as soon as time permits.

Without more ado I will let the music speak for itself: "Silence Please!" originally performed by Rafael Labarrera and now recorded for the album "Así soy yo" by Bun Bun Mezcla'o. 

Wed, 30 Jul 2014 09:37:23 -0400
The Commercial Fair and International Symposium at Cubadisco 2014
: Bill Tilford attended the Cubadisco 2014 International Symposium in Havana and also briefly visited the Commercial  Fair. He is still digesting a lot of what he learned during that trip, but in the meantime,
The Cubadisco 2014 Commercial Fair is available here
The Cubadisco 2014 International Symposium is available here 
A piece about Facebook and web pages in Cuba is available here
A lot more about Cubadisco 2014 is available here.  

: Bill Tilford acudió al Simposio Internacional Cubadisco 2014 y también visitó brevemente la Feria Comercial. Él todavía está digeriendo una gran cantidad de lo que aprendió durante ese viaje, pero mientras tanto, 
La Feria Comercial  Cubadisco 2014 está disponible aquí
El Simposio Internacional Cubadisco 2014 está disponible aquí 
Un articulo acerca de las páginas de Facebook y páginas web en Cuba está disponible aquí
Mucho más acerca de Cubadisco 2014 está disponible aquí


Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:52:47 -0400
Gente D'Zona in Europe Gente D'Zona @Fiesta in Rome

The summer reggaeton invasion of Europe begins tonight with Gente D'Zona's presentation at Fiesta in Rome. Alexander and Randy are riding a wave of unprecedented international recognition as a result of their collaboration with Descemer Bueno and Enrique Iglesias on the hit "Bailando". The first version was all-Cuban with Descemer and Gente D'Zona, and the song was an instant hit in Cuba supported by a breathtakingly beautiful video. When I was there in January they were just going to the Dominican Republic to shoot the video for a new version with Enrique. This second version became an overnight worldwide sensation and has been recorded with Sean Paul in Spanglish and with Luan Santana in Spantugese (Portuspan?).

The success of "Bailando" has given Gente D'Zona major publicity in the US where they have been on CBS, UniVision, Telemundo and where they have performed at the Billboard Awards and the Premios Juventud and given countless interviews and many performances. Just before leaving for Europe, they filmed the official video for the #1 hit "Tú Me Quemas" with Chino y Nacho and Los Cadillacs.

As a fan of Cuban music it is a joy to see Cuban artists getting exposure to international audiences. The tour is only two weeks long and with their busy schedule in the US we may be seeing less of them in Europe so click here to find a concert near you!

Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:31:54 -0400
Osmani Garcia "La Voz" Osmani Garcia Frankfurt 9 August 2014Osmani Garcia "La Voz" will be in Frankfurt on August 8

Composer/singer Osmani Garcia "La Voz" will be back in Europe next weekend starting August 1st with shows in Italy, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. He began his career at the age of 19 and has interpreted many different types of Cuban and Caribbean muisc as well as pop. For a time he was part of Paulo F.G.'s group. In 2008 Osmani decide to do his own thing and has become one of the biggest names in the Cuban urban and reggaeton scene.

Osmani is nothing if not controversial. His lyrics are heavy with not-so-subtle sexual innuendo with titles such as "Chupi night", "Emperifollarse" and "Se me va la musa (condón)". His song "Chupi Chupi" caused great debate in Cuba concerning acceptable lyrics and was largely the catalyst for the goverment deciding to tighten restrictions concerning lyrics allowed to played on the radio.

But as Brendan Behan said "There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary," and there is nothing more enticing than something that is censored. Certainly Osmani has gone from success to success and his popularity is undisputable. He has collaborated with artists such as Gente D'Zona and El Chacal and recently with Pitbull. His show is adrenaline-packed, sweaty and sexual. See below for Osmani's announcement of the upcoming tour. Click here to see the complete list of concert dates.

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:38:57 -0400

Grupo Danson, under the direction of trombonist Carlos Pérez, exploded on the international Timba scene in 2005 with their debut album "Mi Música". The title track won them the Djembe Award for "Best World Music Track 2005". It has taken nine years, but Danson are back in 2014 with their second CD titled "Mezclando Culturas". Continuing their tradition of collaboration with other Cuban musicians, Alaín Pérez worked with Carlos on the production of the new album and even sings lead on a new arrangement of "Sabor de mi rumba". Mandy Cantero also guests on "Va y ven de hamaca", which is already on DJ turntables in Peru.

Carlos Pérez took a few minutes to tell us about the new CD and the band's imminent plans.

"We now have two singers, Ernesto Manuitt (ex-Klímax) and a Cuban singer who came to Denmark about eight months ago named Henri Benitez (ex-Pupy y Los Que Son Son). This guy is very young and a very good singer and we invited him to record a song that will be on the new album. We also have a new member in the group on coro and trombone. Her name is Teresa Villanueva and she is also Cuban. Our new pianist lives in Stockholm, so maybe you know him. His name is Oldrich Gonzalez and he worked in Cuba with Charanga Forever, among others.

"We were fortunate to be able to invite Mandy Van Van (Armando Cantero) to sing one of our songs, and that track is already playing in Peru. The overall production of this album was done by Alaín Pérez and myself. It was great for the group to work with Alaín, and his arrangements are formidable and have given a new flavor to the sound of the orchestra. So on the new album - Mezclando Culturas  - we will have four singers, and I also sing one song. (Alaín, Henri, Ernest and Mandy!)

"We have 9 songs for the album. The songwriters are Alaín Pérez, Alexander Abreu (one song) and myself. We have five arrangements by Alaín, one arrangement by Alexander and me together, and three of my own arrangements.

"Our plans are now focused on releasing the CD and promoting our music here in Europe and in the United States and South America. We will first release the CD here in Denmark independently, with a label of the musician's union (Gatway). Also we will release it at iTunes and other internet sales sites. We have a couple of gigs here in Denmark and Norway and we are trying to set up a CD release in Stockholm."

Grupo Danson is just putting the finishing touches on the master and expects "Mezclando Culturas" to hit the streets in August or September. While we wait, check out the title track!

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:22:29 -0400

ENGLISH: During his trip to Cuba in May, Bill Tilford received a wonderful collection of documents from EGREM and Colibrí related to their recordings that are part of Cubadisco 2014.  These documents are in Spanish, but Bill is also gradually publishing bilingual reviews of many of these recordings.  These documents and links to reviews that have already been published can be found in the From The Studios section.  Colibrí's documents are available here.  EGREM's documents are available here.  
These documents are worth reading, and the recordings that Bill has heard thus far are also all worth having. 
ESPAÑOL: Durante su viaje a Cuba en mayo, Bill Tilford recibió una maravillosa colección de documentos de la EGREM y de Colibrí relacionados con sus grabaciones que forman parte de Cubadisco 2014.  Los documentos están en español, pero Bill también está publicando paulatinamente reseñas bilingües de muchas de estas grabaciones.  Los documentos y enlaces a las reseñas publicadas se puede encontrar en la sección From The Studios  Los documentos de Colibrí están disponibles aquí.  Los documentos de EGREM están disponibles aquí
Vale la pena leer estos documentos, y de las grabaciones que Bill ha escuchado hasta hora, vale la pena tener todas también.  

ALSO:  Dayramir González Vicet's new project with Edrey aka Ogguere, the Afro Cuban Soul Rebels, recently premiered in New York.  You can read Ian Stewart's review (in English) here. 

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 01:21:54 -0400
Vancouver Cuban Music Festival Vancouver Cuban Music Festival

Vancouver will host their first-ever Cuban Music Festival October 16-19 at the Performance Works on Granville Island! The festival is a celebration of Cuban culture incuding dance classes, screenings of the movie "They Are We", children's events and concerts. If you're on the west coast of Canada or the US this is worth the trip! For the full progam and ticket information click here.

Concert line-up:
16th - Waldo Mendoza, Pedrito Calvo
17th - Tanja Pantoja & Azúcar Negra
18th - Afro-Latin Groove & Friends, Sixto Llorente "El Indio" & Gardi
19th - Azúcar Negra CD release concert

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:03:30 -0400
Vengo de Cuba Soneros All Stars in the studioSinsonte, El Niño & Yanesito @EGREM MIramar

On March 26, 2014 Soneros All Stars released their third album "Lolo", but before it even hit the streets Jan Miklas Bogdan "Yanesito", was already back in Havana working on his next project. It is a collaboration with Havana's hottest new act El Niño y la Verdad, who just celebrated their first anniversary on June 27th. The new album is titled "El Que Corta El Bacalao" and is slated for released in January 2015. Recorded in EGREM Studios in Miramar, the compositions are by Yanesito and Emilio Frias "El Niño" with arrangments and musical production by Yanesito, Wilfredo Naranjo "Pachy Jr." and Dairon Ortega. Yanesito has uploaded a teaser with behind-the-scenes clips from the studio of one of the songs. "Vengo de Cuba", with Pascual Matos "Sinsonte" on lead vocals. Check it out!

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 15:48:51 -0400
Chuchito Valdés and Conjunto Chappottin in Chicago

ENGLISH:  Chuchito Valdés and Conjunto Chappottin y Sus Estrellas  both visited Chicago this week during multi-city tours. 
A photo gallery and mini-review of Chuchito's performances are available here
A photo gallery and mini-review of Chappottin's performances are available here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Chuchito Valdés y Conjunto Chappottin y Sus Estrellas  ambos visitaron Chicago esta semana durante sus giras en varias ciudades.
Una galería de fotos y mini-reseña de los shows de Chuchito Valdés están disponibles aquí 
Una galería de fotos y mini-reseña de los shows de Conjunto Chappottin y Sus Estrellas están disponibles aquí 


Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:48:22 -0400
Festival Cubain Bayamo Festival Bayamo de La Seyne-Sur-Mer

The 14th annual Festival Bayamo is in full swing. To my knowledge it is Europe's longest and certainly the most beautiful Cuban festival of the year, located at Fort Napoleon on the French Riviera. While it's easy to get caught up in the line-up of outstanding bands performing each year, there is much more to the Festival Cubain Bayamo. The festival also offers dance classes, conferences, art exhibitions and Cuban cuisine. Click here for all the information (in French).

But getting back to the bands...each year features four nights of dancing under the stars to the most exciting orchestras on tour. This year the first concert was Contrabando from Belgium. Esto sí es pa' gozar!

Tomorrow Los Conquistadores de La Salsa from Peru take the stage, Friday it will be Elito Revé y Su Charangón and closing the festival is Oderquis Revé y Su Changüí. I was lucky enough to attend in 2008 and what more can you ask than lounging on the Riviera, shopping and soaking up Cuban culture by day, and sweating to timba by night? This festival is really a must for all serious timberos. If you can't make it this year, start planning for July 2015!

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 09:03:56 -0400
Ya Llegó La Aplanadora de Cuba La Aplanadora de Cuba

The long wait is finally over! It has been four years since Elito Revé y Su Charangón released their last album, and now in the middle of their European Tour, "La Aplanadora de Cuba" has arrived at digital stores worldwide! You get it now at iTunes and Cubamusic

The album was originally reported to be a two-CD set including one CD of new songs and one with remakes of classic Revé hits featuring guest artist such as Gilberto Santa Rosa, José Alberto El Canario and Mayito Rivera. Today's release is the first of the CDs and contains eleven original songs. See the track list below. The second CD with the anthology of hits will be released in November, just in time to make your Christmas list! So get on over to your favorite digital retailer and get the first CD now! And as a treat, we give you the official video of Susel singing "Esa soy yo".

The tracks are:
Intro: La aplanadora de Cuba
No me da la gana
Esa soy yo
El jala jala 
El negocio personal 
La pastillita 
El nombrecito
No debo explicarte nada
Piso 6: Lo más pegao
Tony sin money

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:14:37 -0400
Conjunto Chappottin y Sus Estrellas Is On the Move
Conjunto Chappottin y Sus Estrellas is in the middle of a first-time-ever US tour.  This legendary band dates to the Arsenio Rodriguez era and continues to defend that music with a powerful conjunto that includes 4 trumpets.  Chicagoans can (and should, we might add) catch them tonight, July 14 at Martyrs'  (the photos are from yesterday's excellent performance at the Square Roots Festival). The rest of the tour dates can be found here: 

Conjunto Chappottín y Sus Estrellas Summer Tour

We'll have a lot more pictures and a full review later this week. 

Mon, 14 Jul 2014 06:41:51 -0400
Hennes Latin Stage 2014 Hennes Latin Stage Nijmegen, Netherlands

Cuban Summer 2014 is in full swing, and in just three hours Oderquis Revé y Su Changüí will kick off the the Cuba in Nijmegen Festival at Hennes Latin Stage in Nijmegen, Netherlands during the annual "international 4 day marches Nijmegen".

If you missed our report last year, here's a link where you can learn more about how the Cuba in Nijmegen festival got started. But what I can tell you about it right now is that it is the most intensive week-long Cuban festival in Europe. Unlike other festivals that feature a new band each night, sometimes several bands in one night, Cuba in Nijmegen lets you really immerse yourself in the bands. Just like in Havana, you can see you favorite bands over and over again! 

This year the focus is on Changüí with Oderquis performing tonight and tomorrow night at 20:00. Elito Revé y Su Charangón will perform three days July 15, 16 and 17 at 21:30. And it should be noted that the new CD, "La Aplanadora de Cuba", will finally be released internationally on Monday, July 14 at iTunes and mallcubano.com. If you can make one of the concert nights take som extra cash just in case they are selling the hardcopy. It is still hard to come by outside of Cuba.

Other bands performing this year are Orquesta Salsabor on Monday the 14th and Tomi y Su Timbalight on Friday the 18th. Now if all of this isn't enough for you, let me throw in one more detail: It's free! So seriously, take a trip to Nijmegen and spend this week immersing yourself in changüí timba! It's the closest thing to Havana that you will find. Click here for the full program.

Here is your personal invitation!

Do you know that feeling too? After a great gig you want more. "Otra Otra Otra!" 

But ... where to find a place to see your favorite band 2 to 3 days in a row. In Nijmegen, a medium-sized university town in the Netherlands. 

This spring they already enjoyed a concert by Los Van Van and Havana D'Primera at the local International Music Festival 'Music Meeting'. 

Totally awesome, but for only one performance. Fortunately local entrepreneur 'Hennes' brings a godsend, again.  For his annual party, everyone's invited by the way, he again booked a few Top Cuban bands. 

With an emphasis on Changui this year:
Oderquis Revé y su Changüí making a start on July 12 and 13
Orquesta Salsabor July 14 
Elito Revé y su Charangón July 15, 16 and 17
Tomi & su Timbalight July 18 

 In the mood...come and party with Hennes, Marloes and the now solid fan base of this unique festival. 

                  "Hennes celebrates his annual party and everyone's invited." 

- Free entrance -

Hennes Latin Stage @ Facebook

Sat, 12 Jul 2014 11:39:50 -0400
The ULTIMATE LATIN BASS BOOK IT'S ALIVE!!! Beyond Salsa Bass Volume 3 is a historical behemoth of a Latin Bass Book! Doubling as a history and music appreciation course, at 442 pages, Beyond Salsa Bass Vol.3 is by far the longest of the 26 Beyond Salsa books and the first to extensively cover New York and Puerto Rican salsa and pre-salsa as well as Latin jazz. Its audio product (separate purchase) has 616 tracks (a generous selection of 60 free audio tracks is also available by download). The book includes a bass tumbao for every piano tumbao in each of Volumes 3 and 4 of the Beyond Salsa Piano series, but it also includes hundreds of bass tumbaos from and historical analyses of areas of Latin music not covered in the piano series: Puerto Rico, New York, Latin Jazz, the Cuban descargas and additional aspects of the Cuban music of 1959-1989, i.e., from the Cuban Revolution to the Fall of the Berlin Wall. 

CLICK HERE for a FREE pdf sample of Beyond Salsa Bass Volume 3

Beyond Salsa Bass Vol.3 - Salsa, Songo & The Roots of Latin Jazz - Afro-Cuban & Latin Bass Instruction

CLICK HERE to download 60 FREE Tracks from Beyond Salsa Bass Volume 3

In other news about the Beyond Salsa Series, in addition to Bass V3, the next book is almost done as well - Beyond Salsa Piano, Vol. 12 - Pupy Pedroso, Pt. 3 - Los Van Van in the 1990s. The book is equal parts history and piano - covers Van Van's amazing transition into the timba era, arguably van van's greatest period, which includes the top two songs in the timba.com readers poll - Soy todo and Te pone la cabeza mala, and the top album, Llegó Van Van

It was during this period that Samuel Formell replaced Changuito and that Ángel Bonne, Mayito Rivera and Robertón Hernández all joined. The seven (7) albums covered are Crónicas, Aquí el que baila gana, Azúcar, Lo último en vivo, Ay Dios ampárame, Te pone la cabeza mala and Llegó Van Van. The book includes some of pupy's most famous tumbaos, including Qué tiene Van Van, El negro está cocinando, Disco Azúcar, Que le den candela, Tranquilo Mota etc. It also includes piano and bass parts for each tumbao PLUS awesome photos by Tom Ehrlich, Patrick Bonnard and others. [Mike Lazarus]

Beyond Salsa Piano, Vol. 12 -- Pupy Pedroso, Pt. 3 - Los Van Van

Fri, 11 Jul 2014 06:13:23 -0400
Get Ready for San José Jazz The San José Jazz Festival has by far its best lineup ever this year, with Pedrito Martínez, Conjunto Chappottín, Calixto Oviedo, Jerry González and the Fort Apache Band, Jimmy Bosch, Wayne Wallace, Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Pasión Habanera, Jesús Díaz y su QBA ... it goes on and on.

Meanwhile, trumpeter/musical director Josiel Pérez and promoter Peggy Jo Oliva have created a new group called AC Jazz Project that - its name notwithstanding - sounds like very hot timba to me. Josiel and bassist Yosmel Montejo played the US several times with Maraca y Otra Visión, and the drummer is none other than the great Calixto Oviedo, of NG La Banda and Beyond Salsa fame (all right - mostly of NG La Banda fame ...).They're already booked for Yoshi's on August 30. The band also features Fermin Sifontes, Joel Núñez, Santiago Santiuste, lead vocalist Julio César Bouza Hernández and Christian Arturo Gutiérrez .

Also, Havana d'Primera is confirmed for Yoshi's SF on Aug 1 and 2. We'll have much more on this soon. Also, Roberto Roena has put together a group to replace Pupy y Los Que Son Son at Stern Grove on July 20. [Kevin Moore]

Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:53:25 -0400
Afro Cuban Soul Rebels World Premiere
Several months ago, we did a few pieces about Dayramir González, the leader of the phenomenal Afro Cuban Jazz project Habana enTRANCE, which won a Cubadisco for their album of the same name..  Dayramir went on to study at Berklee College of Music and won their Wayne Shorter award for most outstanding Jazz composer in 2013. (You can see more of his resume as of 2013 here.)   He is now resuming his performing career in earnest and has teamed up with Edrey aka Ogguere, also a Cubadisco winner, Jazz poet and a key member of Gilles Peterson's Havana Cultura, to lead The Afro Cuban Soul Rebels, a 9-piece ensemble that is about to release its first single (also called Afro Cuban Soul Rebels)

This writer has had his ears peeled for new things by Dayramir since first hearing Habana enTRANCE (which came out before he started writing reviews here.)   Havana Cultura, Edrey aka Ogguere's associates, is also very impressive.  The style of this new project will be different, but we think you'll want to check this out:

Key Links:
Concert info: SOBs, Thursday, July 10   The Afro Cuban Soul Rebels Facebook Page
Ogguere's website

Sat, 05 Jul 2014 23:08:05 -0400
¡ Aquí viene el SALSANIMAL ! CD Review: Salsanimal by Marlow Rosado & La Riqueña (Big Label Records July 2014)
Review by Bill Tilford, All rights reserved

Download the SALSANIMAL Intro (Track #1) here
Descarga gratis del primer tema Intro SALSANIMAL aquí

This newest release by Marlow Rosado & La Riqueña, whose last album Retro won the GRAMMY for Best Tropical Latin Album in 2012, is a Salsa Dura album with an interesting blend of Cuban, New York and Puerto Rican Styles. As was the case with Retro, there is an impressive supporting cast of guest artists, and this album branches out a little more stylistically.  There are a few touches of Timba piano phrasing and Cuban Descarga in the opening track, Intro SalsanimalAsi Son brings in Cuban Sonero and Timba legend Mayito Rivera for a turn at Salsa Dura.  Quiero Que Me Quieras has a very Puerto Rican (but uptempo) vibe. No Me Interesas has a New York Salsa Dura feel with an unusual (and pretty cool) brass section arrangement.  Cataño opens with some street sounds and is an homage to the municipality that is known as "La Antesala de la Capital", San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Como Te Extraño Nena is also a hard-driving Salsa Dura piece.  Yo Se Que Un Día is a soulful, richly orchestrated bolero/guajira.  Puertas Del Jardin, which give a shout-out to Cartagena and Medellin, incorporates some Cumbia passages in one of the more laid-back songs in the album. Todo Se Lo Llevo is one of two Salsa Romantica tracks in the album. 88 Mil Teclas brings in Larry Harlow and Richie Ray for a piano duel.  It would be a lot of fun to see this live. The album cools down at the end with the tasty Todo A Tus Pies. The one English-language song in the albumn is Ok, Here Is The Truth, which features Pop / R & B star Jon Secada in a very heartfelt Salsa Romantica number (the lyrics are heavier than you typically hear in this style, but I won't include any spoilers here). 

Salsanimal is aimed squarely at dancers - the songs are all dance-floor length, and outside of 88 Mil Teclas, the focus is on section work and vocals rather than instrumental solos.  BUT, the arrangements and section work are excellent and at times innovative - Marlow's extensive musical resume is put to very good use here, and this won't bore musicians either.  Highly recommended for Salsa fans.  


Intro Salsanimal
Quiero Que Me Quieras (vocal: Javier Merino)
No Me Interesas (Vocal: Jose Arroyo)
Asi Son (Featuring Mayito Rivera)
Cataño (Featuring herman Olivera)
Yo Se Que Un Dia (Vocal: Jose Arroyo)
Como Te Extraño Nena (Featuring Alex Matos)
Puertas Del Jardin (Featuring El Checo Acosta)
Todo Se Lo Llevo (Featuring Domingo Quiñones)
OK Here Is The Truth (Featuring John Secada)
88mil Teclas (Ffeaturing Larry Harlow & Richie Ray)
(Bonus Track) Todo A Tus Pies (Featuring De La Torre)

Personnel in Salsanimal

Role - InstrumentName
Piano, Keyboards, Director Marlow Rosado
Lead Vocals & Coros Jose Arroyo, Javier Merino
Trumpets Julián Cifuentes, ivan Odio, Todrigo "Moña" Escobar, Mario Ortiz
Trombones Somar Poveda, Guillermo Cobiellas
Bass Luis Rodriguez, Jose Velazquez, Michael Lazarus, Ricardo Martinez
Timbales/Bongo/Campana, Percussion Director Gamalier Reyes
Bongo/Campana Luis Reyes
Conga Daniel Peña
Additional vocals in Cataño Arianna Rosado, Bivianna Rosado, Adriana Rivera, Edgar Rivera, Michael Rodrigues, Rayme Marrero, Chris Marrero
Guest Artists Alex Matos, Mayito Rivera, Jon Secada, Larry Harlow, Richie Ray, Herman Olivera, El Checo Acosta, Domingo Quiñones,  De La Torre
Musical Producer, Recording Engineer Marlow Rosado
Executive Producers Marlow Rosado, Eddie Mandel
Mixing Engineers Gamalier Reyes, Michael Lazarus
Assistant Engineer Immanuel Ramirez
Mastering Engineer Michael Lázarus
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 04:42:51 -0400
Interview with Maykel Blanco Maykel Blanco / Su Salsa Mayor @Electric BrixtonMaykel Blanco @Electric Brixton
Photo courtesy of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor

Maykel Blanco & Su Salsa Mayor are winding down what has been an outstanding tour here in Europe. They are performing tonight in Bayonne, France and still have concerts in Italy, Switzerland and Belgium. They are closing out the tour in style with special guest Maykel Fonts at the Latinoamericando concert in Milan on June 30th and at the Geneva concert on July 5th. If you have any vacation time coming, make sure you don't miss these rare opportunities to see the Maykel x 2 live performance of their hit "Dale lo que lleva". Click here to see the tour dates.

Maykel took time out of his busy tour schedule to answer a few questions about the tour and the future as well as to comment on the passing of Juan Formell. Click here to read the interview in English.

Sat, 28 Jun 2014 14:51:45 -0400
Muévete pa'quí Elito Revé y su Charangón, La Aplanadora de Cuba, have released the final master of the brilliant hit song "Muévete pa'quí". The original version with lead vocals by Hector Valentín was released in 1999 on Elito's first CD as director of the orchestra following the death of his father: "Changüí en Casa de Nora". The remake features Puerto Rican superstar Gilberto Santa Rosa on vocals. Wow! I will admit that I have always thought of his vocal stylings as more suited to salsa romantica, but that smooth voice of his works fine with the hardcore charangón changüí-timba. He is known for his talent as a sonero and his güías with La Revé are a credit to his talent. This song is destined to be an international hit, that will hopefully make more "regular salsa" fans open up a bit more to Cuban music. The version that leaked out four months ago has already become a dance-floor favorite.

Elito Revé & La Aplanadora de Cuba"Muévete pa'quí" is part of the 2-CD set "La Aplanadora de Cuba", that was released in Cuba at a gala concert in La Tropical on June 22nd. Hopefully it will soon be available outside Cuba via the usual on-line vendors. In case you've been under a rock for the past year, the album contains 24 songs: twelve new songs and twelve remakes featuring collabration with well-known artists, such as Santa Rosa and José Alberto "El Canario", who sings lead on the Revé classic "No seas celosa". Other guest artists include Mayito Rivera, Paulo FG & Muñequitos de Matanzas, Haila, Buena Fe, Gente D'Zona, El Indio (ex-Revé) & Mandy Cantero, El Gallo & El Indio (Sixto Llorente), Issac Delgado and Haila. Well, you get the idea, and that's just the first CD! So until "La Aplanadora de Cuba" becomes available worldwide, here is a taste of the new "Muévte pa´ quí" from a post at Elito's Facebook page to whet your appetite!

Fri, 27 Jun 2014 16:32:11 -0400
Cuban Music News in Review - June 23, 2014 Pupy y los Que Son Son canceled in Seattle (Jazz Alley) & San Francisco (Stern Grove Festival) - sad news indeed that Pupy will not be playing at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle, Washington, Tuesday and Wednesday July 15 & 16. His July 20 concert at the iconic and free Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco is also canceled. Que pasó Pupy?

Pupy y los Que Son Son canceled in Seattle & San Francisco - Cuban Music News (TIMBA.com)

Adalberto and Paulito FG Call Out Troubled Promoter - we've already reported Adalberto Álvarez's dissatisfaction with Miami based promoter Alexis Somoza Erice (a Cuban national working under the names Zarabanda Producciones and/or 2-22 Productions) here = http://www.timba.com/blog_posts/all-west-coast-shows-for-Alberto-canceled = and now adding insult to injury is the latest blast from Paulito FG on his FB page, 

"En el mes de mayo fuimos contactados por el Sr Alexis Somoza reportándose como representante de la Empresa 2-22 Productions, el cual alegó incluso estar llevando a cabo en ese momento una gira artística al maestro Adalberto Álvarez y solicitó nuestra disponibilidad para hacer lo mismo con nuestra agrupación a finales del mes de junio...  

Adalberto and Paulito FG Call Out Troubled Promoter - Cuban Music News (TIMBA.com)

...Llamo la atención de hechos como estos a todos lo que de una forma u otra se dedican con todo respeto a esta labor de llevar el arte y la cultura de nuestro país y si valoran y consideran con honestidad la valía de nuestros artistas por todo el mundo a fin de que no sean engañados ni manipulados por tales elementos que amparados en supuestas empresas artísticas y proclamándose representantes y promotores musicales, no son más que desfachatados buscavidas, estafadores , timadores y oportunistas de ciertas y determinadas circunstancias que enmascaran su verdaderas intenciones de aprovecharse de la demanda y el prestigio ganado con el sacrificio, talento, empeño y dedicación de los buenos artistas."

Read Paulito's full post here = https://www.facebook.com/paulito.fg

Bamboleo's USA tour for this June with Mr. Somoza was also canceled after shows were booked and advertised (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pg16f1GHO4). 

Miami prepares for upcoming Salsa Dura Album SALSANIMAL by Marlow Rosado (TIMBA.com)Miami prepares for upcoming Salsa Dura Album SALSANIMAL - After his Grammy winning homage to the salsa legends of the 1970's (RETRO - read Bill Tilford's review here), Marlow Rosado y la Riqueña will release their third album entitled SALSANIMAL on July 29. 

La Riqueña counts with Cuban musicians Guillermo Cobiellas (trombone) and Ivan Odio (trumpet). Miami prepares for upcoming Salsa Dura Album SALSANIMAL by Marlow Rosado (TIMBA.com)

The original compositions feature Marlow's hard-hitting, salsa dura style -- including one dedicated to his home town and late father called "Cataño" -- with guest appearances from Premio Lo Nuestro Winner and Dominican singer Alex Matos, singer Domingo Quiñones, "el poeta de la rumba" Mayito Rivera, of Los Van Van fame, singer Hermán Olivera, singer El Checo Acosta from Colombia, pianists Larry Harlow & Richie Ray, Jon Secada and new rising star vocalist De La Torre.

Here are a few videos covering the "making of" SALSANIMAL.

Tue, 24 Jun 2014 04:58:12 -0400
Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera Booked For Midwestern US

Alexander Abreu and Havana D'Primera, one of the most important Timba groiups performing today and winner of the Música Popular Bailable category in Cubadisco 2013 for their recording Pasaporte, has been booked for two performances in the Midwestern United States. The first performance is at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota on August 7, 2014; the second is at the Logan Square Auditorium,  2539 N. Kedzie in Chicago Illinois on Friday, August 8, 2014. Tickets for the Minneapolis performance are being sold via Eventbrite; Tickets for the Chicago performance may be purchased at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/742435
This group is a must-see if you are able.

Sun, 22 Jun 2014 22:34:40 -0400
La Maquina de Cuba Tonight in London Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor

Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor will play their UK debut concert tonight in London at Electric Brixton! They just began a month-long tour of Europe coming off of a fantastic trip to Argentina where La Máquina de Cuba thrilled audiences in Buenos Aires and Rosario. The summer tour includes France, England, Germany, Italy, Belguim and Spain. You will be able to catch the combination of Maykel (Blanco) & Maykel (Fonts) singing their hit "Dale Lo Que Lleva" on June 30th at Latinoamericando in Milan and July 5th in Geneva at a concert including Lázaro Valdés and Bamboleo. If you can't make either of these concerts, check out the video below from the concert one week ago in Rosario. Click here for the full list of concerts on the European Summer Tour 2014.

Sat, 21 Jun 2014 12:28:30 -0400
CHICAGO'S FESTIVAL CUBANO HEADLINERS ANNOUNCED At a press conference on June 18, the organizers of Chicago's Festival Cubano, a privately-organized event that has grown massive since its beginnings,  announced the acts that will be headlining the 5th edition of the event, which will take place from August 15-17 in Riis Park in Chicago.   Some of the key acts will be Palo!, El Gran Combo, Rey Ruiz and Alex Bia among many others.
The organizers announced that the event will also include a tribute to the late Juan Formell
For more details, click here

Thu, 19 Jun 2014 07:37:02 -0400
Three New CD Reviews by NY Artists New NYC CD Reviews 

Los Hermanos Colón, Rolando Morales-Matos, Gerardo Contino 


NYC has been a hotbed for virtually all forms of music from Latin America as well as Afro-Latin music indigenous to the US as well. These three new recordings represent just that, different yet equally significant perspectives of Latin influenced music right here in New York City.

Sabor Colón (Los Hermanos Colón): This 2014 release employs all the tried and true formulas that have made New York salsa great since the beginning, proving once again that one can’t go wrong with concise arrangements and A-list musicians. Each part fits together like a well-designed piece of architecture with every detail accounted for and nothing left out of place. You can read the review here.

Forward (Rolando Morales-Matos): Vibraphonist/multi-instrumentalist Rolando Morales-Matos is the embodiment of what people would picture of a consummate professional musician. His eponymous solo effort, featuring his own ensemble Forward, is a top notch Latin jazz album with intriguing compositions/arrangements and fiery improvisations by Matos and his superb roster of musicians.  You can read the review here.

Somos Latinos (Gerardo Contino): Former NG La Banda vocalist Gerardo Contino brings his band of A-list musicians into the studio to create his first solo album. The result is an explosive Timba paragon with state of the art instrumental work throughout. You can read the review here.
Mon, 16 Jun 2014 22:13:41 -0400
CUBADISCO 2014 PUBLICATIONS / PUBLICACIONES DE CUBADISCO 2014 ENGLISH: The Publications Department of Cubadisco publishes an excellent series of short magazines during the event. We are pleased to be able to help share these with the rest of the planet. You may find the links in the June 15 entry of the Cubadisco 2014 section of the From The Studios report. 
ESPAÑOL:  El Departamento de Publicaciones de Cubadisco publica cada año una excelente serie de cortas revistas durante el evento. Estamos muy contentos de ser capaces de ayudar a compartir estas revistas con el resto del planeta.   Se puede encontar los enlaces en la entrada del 15 de junio en la sección Cubadisco 2014 del reporte From The Studios

ENGLISH: After his appearances at the Toronto Jazz Festival on June 20-21, Manuel Valera will be doing a short solo piano tour to help promote his new CD Self Portrait (you can read Bill Tilford's review here.) After a solo concert in Toronto on June 22, he will be in Chicago, Illinois; South Bend, Indiana; Ann Arbor, Michigan and Rochester, NY.  You can find more details on manuelvalera.com
ESPAÑOL:  Después de sus conciertos en el  Toronto Jazz Festival (20-21 de junio), Manuel Valera va a hacer una breve gira como solista para promover su nuevo CD Self Portrait (se puede leer la reseña por Bill TIlford aquí). Después de un concierto como solista en Toronto el 22 de junio, estará en Chicago, Illinois; South Bend, Indiana; Ann Arbor, Michigan y Rochester, Nueva York.  Puede encontrar más detalles en manuelvalera.com

Mon, 16 Jun 2014 19:52:50 -0400
ACAS Blow Away the Hardened Timbaphile photos by Tom Ehrlich

UPDATED: click continue reading below for more Tom Ehrlich photos

The Afro-Cuban All Stars began life as the Rolls Royce of heritage acts, showcasing Cuban legends like Omara Portuondo, Félix Baloy, Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González, Compay Segundo, et al. Today's ACAS is quite a different beast. The repertoire is largely the same - Chan Chan, El cuarto de tulo, Kila Quique y Chocolate (and now a fresh Arsenio classic, Cangrejo fue a estudiar)  - but the arrangements and execution have become much more modern, exciting and innovative. 

The new rhythm section is tremendous. The break-dancing youngster from the last tour, Tony Moreaux (of royal Grupo Changüí de Guantánamo lineage) is now the old man of the group, joined by two twenty-year old phenoms: conguero Tany Allende (who's already paid his dues with the like of Alain Pérez and Yoel Páez in Spain) and timbalero Caleb Michel (a native English speaker from Phoenix who plays like an ENA graduate). Hearing these three lace the traditional songs with cutting edge timba percussion fireworks is like a shot of pure adrenaline when combined with bassist Giovanni Cofiño, the ex-Revé musical director whose praises I've sung many times, and Marco Crego, who played piano on Klímax's epic third album and was heavily involved in the early formation of Grupo Dansón, which of course became Havana d'Primera. All told it's one of the most exciting new rhythm sections I've heard in recent years. 

The lead vocals are pared down to the consummate pro, Emilio Suárez, and De Marcos himself, who turns out to be quite a singer. He and Suárez spent half of their time with cordless microphones, mingling and dancing with audience members while they sang - never missing a note. By the end, the normally staid SFJAZZ crowd was dancing from the rafters.

Among the most innovative features of this band is the horn configuration. To explain, there's a reason why Van Van and Revé use three trombones: trumpets, while higher, more agile and generally more exciting,  are notoriously hard to play in tune. They're thrilling live when you've had a few beers, but their physical construction, combining valves with the natural overtone series, is a nightmare. De Marcos starts with three exceptionally well-trained trumpeters, but his master stroke is the addition of a bass clarinet. The idea no doubt stemmed from the fact that he wanted to bring his daughter on tour, but the result is a revelation. The perfectly intoned orchestral instrument creates a rich, fat base that holds the trumpets together like glue. Combined with the crystal clear and exquisitely revealing acoustics of the SF JAZZ venue, it's the best trumpet section sound I've ever heard live - and I didn't have a few beers to help me arrive that conclusion - only coffee. Another new sonic feature is JdM's other daughter, who normally plays keyboards, now doubling on a vibe-synth, played with mallets.

Finally, props have to be given to SF JAZZ itself. That room is a work of art. It's never too loud (a miracle if you're a veteran of Cuban music concerts). You hear the rhythm section coming live off of the stage and the vocals and horns from vast arrays of small speakers hanging down from the rafters above. It may not be any better than Yoshi's Oakland on their best night, but SF JAZZ is set up so that there are no bad nights and although it has a huge capacity, the sound is perfect everywhere and every seat "feels" close to the stage.

Get down there tonight through Saturday if you can. Los Angeleans game to brave the Playboy Jazz Fest can hear them on Sunday.

Thu, 12 Jun 2014 20:03:40 -0400
Afro-Cuban All Stars on Tour

Juan de Marcos is back with another amazing lineup of talent. New members including Giovanni Cofino, ex-bassist and arranger of Revé and Marcos Crego, the ex-pianist of Klimax - also the son of El Greco, the legendary NG La Banda / Irakere trumpeter. Click here for tickets and more info, and here for the rest of the tour, including Los Angeles on the 15th.

Wed, 11 Jun 2014 17:13:57 -0400
New CD Reviews + Interactivo Concert Gallery ENGLISH: Que Líndo Es El Amor, the newest release by Interactivo, won the Fusion category in Cubadisco 2014.  It is a truly exceptional recording, and you can purchase it online in the United States, something that doesn't always happen with these new releases.  You can read the review here
ESPAÑOL:  Que líndo es el amor, el último lanzamiento de Interactivo, gamó la categoría Fusión en Cubadisco 2014.  Es una grabación verdaderament excepcional, y se puede comprar en Internet en Estados Unidos, algo que no siempre ocurre con estos nuevos lanzamientos.  Se puede leer la reseña aquí.  

ENGLISH: Bueno, by Descemer Bueno, won three Cubadisco awards in 2013.  It's an album of contemporary song that features some of Cuba's best Jazz musicians and singers in the recording. You can read the review here
ESPAÑOL: Bueno, por Descemer Bueno, ganó tres premios Cubadisco en 2013.  Es un disco de canción contemporánea que cuenta con algunos de los mejores Jazzistas y trovadores en Cuba en la grabación.  Se puede leer la reseña aquí.  

ENGLISH:  Reflections, by Chuchito Valdés, is very new and musically speaking, it is the album for which this writer has been waiting for from him a long time.   Chuchito's best work to date as a composer and one of the best new Jazz recordings to be released so far this year.  You can read the review here
ESPAÑOL: Reflections, por Chuchito Valdés, es muy nuevo, y, hablando musicalmente, es el disco para lo cuál este escritor ha estado esperando de él por mucho tiempo.  Su mejor trabajo como compositor hasta la fecha, y una de las mejores nuevas grabaciones de Jazz que se ha lanzado este año hasta aquí.  Se puede leer la reseña aquí.  

  Finally:  Bill Tilford saw Interactivo live in Habana during Cubadisco 2014.  You can see a gallery here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Por último, Bill Tilford vio Interactivo en directo en La Habana durante Cubadisco 2014. Se puede ver una galería aquí. 

Sun, 08 Jun 2014 19:37:51 -0400
Mayito Foto Extravanza

The bad news is that the Bamboleo US Tour is canceled. The good news is that Tom Ehrlich has finished his mega-gallery on all three Mayito Rivera appearances. And of course don't forget to check out Mayito's Tribute to Juan Formell.

BOOK NEWS: my long-awaited (by me, anyway) 440-page history of Puerto Rico, NY and pre-timba Cuba is finally out in hard-copy. The audio and eBook are coming soon. Also, Rebecca Cline's Latin Jazz piano method book is out and it's excellent. [Kevin Moore]

Sat, 07 Jun 2014 03:05:44 -0400
From Havana, Part I: Cubadisco and More ENGLISH:  During the next several weeks, I'll be sharing several things about Cubadisco, the Symposium associated with it, reviews of important new CD releases from Cuba and many other items. We'll begin with reviews of two of the most important CDs that were Cubadisco winners. 
ESPAÑOL:  Durante las próximas semanas, voy a compartir varias cosas acerca de Cubadisco, el Simposio asociado a esto, reseñas de los nuevos lanzamientos más importantes de Cuba y muchos otros artículos.  Comenzaremos con reseñas de dos de los más importantes CDs que ganaron premios Cubadisco:

ENGLISH: You can read a review of Sacrilegio by Ernán López-Nussa here.  This justifiably won 5 Cubadisco awards including the Grand Prize and should be on the wish list of any serious Jazz fan.  
ESPAÑOL: Se puede leer una reseña de Sacrilegio por Ernán López-Nussa aquí.  Este fonograma ganó justificadamente 5 premios Cubadisco, incluyendo el Gran Premio y debería estar en la lista de deseos de cualquier serio fan del Jazz.

ENGLISH: You can read a review of Me Dicen Cuba, one of EGREM's most important new recordings and a winner of a Special Prize at Cubadisco here.   You can also see a review and photo gallery of a live show associated with the recording here
ESPAÑOL: Se puede leer una reseña de Me dicen Cuba,  una de las más importantes nuevas grabaciones de la EGREM y ganador de un Premio Especial Cubadisco aquí.   También se puede ver una reseña y galería del espectáculo asociado con la grabación aquí

ENGLISH: Also, Manuel Valera is releasing a wonderful new piano solo album, Self  Portrait.  You can read a review here.  His website contains a schedule of several upcoming ensemble and solo performances.
ESPAÑOL: También, Manuel Valera está lanzado un maravilloso nuevo album de piano como solista, Self Portrait.  Se puede leer una reseña aquíSu sitio web contiene un calendario de varias presentaciones como solista y con grupos. 

Tue, 03 Jun 2014 15:30:04 -0400
Juan Formell y Su Legado Dedicatio to Juan Formell by Mayito Rivera"Para Juan Formell con respeto aquí tienes mi Alma de sonero"  - Mayito Rivera

Sin duda alguna, la triste desaparición física de Juan Formell ha sido un duro impacto que recibe el círculo de la música popular en Cuba y en resto del mundo. Su ausencia no solamente nos provoca un gran dolor sentimental para aquellos que tanto lo queríamos y admirábamos, sino que además, su desaparición física, a mi juicio, pudiera traer consigo cambios y posibles consecuencias negativas en cuanto a la estructura y futuro desarrollo del discurso musical y creativo del género bailable en Cuba. La ausencia física de un gran músico como lo ha sido Juan Formell será lamentable, triste, pero será un factor determinante que marcará diferencias sustanciales, dada la autoridad misma que su figura ejercía como cabeza pensante y audaz dirección, su inigualable talento creativo, la guía, el genio y la inteligencia, su experiencia, el arte y el oficio que poseía y en fin, toda su maestría - no sólo al servicio de sus Van Van - sino que también su influencia traspasa los límites e incide en todas las orquestas de Cuba, tanto para los músicos instrumentistas como para los compositores. 

Dale clic aquí para leer el articulo entero.

Without any doubt, the sad passing of Juan Formell has been a hard blow to the circle of popular music in Cuba and the rest of the world. His absence not only causes great pain to those of us who both loved and admired him, but also in my opinion his passing away could bring changes and possible negative consequences for the structure and future development of the musical and creative discourse of the dance genre in Cuba. The passing of a great musician, as was Juan Formell, will be lamentable, sad, but it will also be a determining factor that will mark substantial differences, given the very authority that his presence commanded as the thinking mind and bold leadership, the unmatched creative talent, the guide, the genius and intelligence, his experience, the art and craft that he possessed, and finally, all his expertise - not only at the service of his Van Van - rather also his influence transcended boundaries and influenced all the orchestras of Cuba, both instrumentalists and composers.

Click here to read the full article in English.

Sat, 31 May 2014 20:30:38 -0400
Van Van in Europe Los Van Van

On Wednesday, May 28th Los Van Van begin their first European tour of the post-Juan Formell era. In recent years Juan did not accompany the band on their European tours, leaving things in the hands of his son Samuel Formell. Despite the recent loss, Van Van is following their tour schedule and performed recently in Mexico, where the concert was roundly praised. We have published the list of concert dates in their tours page, so find a concert near you.

Other bands on tour in Europe this summer include Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor, Havana D'Primera, Elito Revé y su Charangón, Oderquis Revé y su Changüí, Bamboleo, Mayito Rivera and Issac Delgado. In the US Cubadisco winner Adalberto Álvarez is nearing the end of his tour while Pupy y Los Que Son Son now have four dates listed and Paulo F.G. will be performing later this summer. We will keep updating the tours as more concerts are confirmed. If you know of any concert dates we're missing, send me an e-mail

Mon, 26 May 2014 16:19:55 -0400

Cuba's heralded vocalist and chékere player Eladio "Don Pancho" Terry, will join his sons Yosvany and Yunior Terry in a one-time NYC performance at Minton's in Harlem on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. The night's kaleidoscopic program is said to run the gamut "from AfroCuban Folklore, to Charanga, to Contemporary Latin Jazz". 

The lineup of the evening will consist of the patriarchal Eladio on vocals and percussion, Yosvany Terry on saxophone and Yunior Terry on bass along with pianist Osmany Paredes, percussionist Yusnier Sánchez and flutist Javier Porta. 

Sun, 25 May 2014 01:59:12 -0400
All West Coast Shows for Adalberto Cancelled ** Updated with Adalberto's official statement on Facebook
If you have more details please add them to the COMMENTS section. Here's Roccapulco's site, saying tonight's show is cancelled.

All West Coast Shows for Adalberto Cancelled

Fri, 23 May 2014 16:08:41 -0400
Sacrilegio (Ernán López-Nussa) Winner of Grand Prize at Cubadisco 2014 English:  The winners of Cubadisco 2014 were announced during a gala at the Hotel Nacional  de Cuba in Havana Cuba on May 14th. . You can read more and download the official booklet of winners here. 

Español:  Los ganadores de Cubadisco 2014 fueron anunciados durante una gala en el Hotel Nacional de Cuba  en La Habana, Cuba el 14 de mayo  Puede leer más y descargar el folleto oficial aquí. 

Thu, 15 May 2014 10:53:57 -0400
Calixto Oviedo & Salsa Con Timba Band

Master drummer Calixto Oviedo will be performing May 23rd, at The Granada in L.A. with Salsa, Timba y Sabor Band. Vocalists are Grammy nominated singer Lily D Oviedo and Cuban sonero George Balmaseda. Musicians include Serafin Aguilar on trumpet, Yosmel Montejo on bass, as well as Ramon Flores,  Natanael Molina,  and others. This will be their only L.A. show so don't miss it!

Thu, 08 May 2014 18:37:42 -0400
Juan Formell photo by Tom, Erhlich • 2010 • Yoshi's, San Francisco

Last night we lost the most important Cuban musician since Arsenio Rodríguez. 

A few hours before getting this horrible news Orlando Fiol and I were working out the chord changes to a string of Juan Formell songs and marveling at his endless creativity. The track below, from 1996, is typical of Formell's best work - running the full range of emotions, starting with melancholy and building slowly and relentlessly through a series of higher and higher climaxes.

A handful of the greatest musicians are able to spend a few years in that magical zone where one brilliant idea flows out of the last and each connects directly with the hearts of their public. Juan Formell stepped into that zone with Aquí se enciende la candela in 1970 and stayed there for as long as he stayed on this earth. 

Among countless awards, Formell won the Grammy in 1999 for Llegó Van Van and the Grammy Latino a la Excelencia in 2013. He also composed the top two songs in our "greatest timba song of all-time" poll - Soy todo and Te pone la cabeza mala. I clearly recall counting the votes and it was not remotely close. But for every towering hit that you know by heart there's another - just as great - that you may not have discovered: Barriste con el, No somos de la gran escena, Quién no ha dicho una mentira, Ponte para las cosas, Pero a mi manera, Si tú te vas, Mis dudas, Me basta con pensar, Tú tranquilo ... we've lost the man, but his music will last forever.

Formell's death caps one of the most tragic two-week periods in memory, with the losses of Armando Peraza, Cheo Feliciano, Chuck Silverman, and Gabriel García Márquez.

Fri, 02 May 2014 00:10:24 -0400
The list of  nominees for the Cubadisco 2014 awards was made public Tuesday, April 29, at a press conference in Havana, Cuba. The Publications Department of Cubadisco has helpfully sent us the official Nominees booklet and granted permission to share it with the rest of the world.   You can download this and read some of Bill Tilford's observations about the nominations here

ESPAÑOL: La lista de nominados a los premios Cubadisco 2014 se hizo pública el martes, 29 de abril, en una conferencia de prensa en La Habana, Cuba.  El Departamento de Publicaciones de Cubadisco nos ha enviado amablamente el folleto oficial de Nominados y ha concedido el permiso para compartirlo con el resto del mundo.  Puede descargar este folleto y leer algunas observaciones de Bill TIlford sobre las nominaciones aquí.

Thu, 01 May 2014 22:19:29 -0400
Jorge Luis Pacheco

Pianist Jorge Luis Pacheco will be at Piedmont Piano for two shows Saturday and will be sitting in with Rumbaché and Walt Digz at the Cigar Bar tomorrow night.

Thu, 01 May 2014 18:06:17 -0400
Bay Area on Fire This Weekend Alfredo Rodríguez, Henry Cole and Ricky Rodríguez held court at Kuumbwa tonight. In addition to being world-class virtuosos on an individual level these three have insanely great chemistry at a level seldom heard in jazz. You can hear them in the intimate atmosphere of SF Jazz's front room every night, Thursday through Sunday.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Mayito Rivera returns to the Bay Area (at Cócomo on Saturday night) with a great band including ex-Paulito drummer Mauricio Herrera.

Click "Continue Reading" for more of Tom Ehrlich's photos from Kuumbwa.

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 03:12:49 -0400
Cuban Jazz Pianists in Bay Area Two monster jazz pianists from Cuba will be in the Bay Area in the next two weeks:

Alfredo Rodríguez at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz this Wednesday.

Jorge Luis Pacheco playing the famous Fazioli grand at Piedmont Piano Store in Oakland (where we held the Melón clinic from a few years back) on Saturday May 3rd.

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 03:07:15 -0400
Orquesta Aragón in Chicago

ENGLISH: Orquesta Aragón played two excellent shows in Chicago on Friday, April 18.  You can read a review and see a photo gallery here
Also, Bill Tilford has posted the beginning of a new section about Bis Music, one of the most important recording companies in Cuba (yes, there are a few now).  You can see that here  
Finally, there are more new reviews in the Reviews section. 
ESPAÑOL: Orquesta Aragón actuó dos excelentes espectáculos en Chicago el viernes, 18 de abril. Puede leer una reseña y ver una galería de fotos aquí. 
Además, Bill Tilford ha publicado el principio de una nueva sección acerca de Bis Music, una de las empresas discográficas más importantes en Cuba (sí, hay unas pocas ahora). Puede leer la sección aquí. 
Finalmente, hay más reseñas en la sección Reseñas.

Sun, 20 Apr 2014 14:40:39 -0400
The Return of Ian Stewart

After setting up Timba Bass Corner and NYC Bulletin, bassist/writer Ian Stewart set out on a six-month cruise ship gig. He returns this week and has already submitted a review of Rafael Rosa's new CD, Portrait.

Meanwhile, I'm up to 442 pages, over 600 audio files, and almost done with the longest book of the Beyond Salsa series: Beyond Salsa Bass, Vol. 3 - Salsa, Songo and The Roots of Latin Jazz. While it has several hundred bass tumbaos, this is primarily a history book, covering the 1950-1990 period from three points of view: Puerto Rico, New York, and Cuba. More info coming. [Kevin Moore]

Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:04:29 -0400
Rest in Peace - Armando Peraza (1924-2014) cuban music, musica cubana                                     photo by Tom Ehrlich - Yerba Buena Gardens - 2007

We've lost one of the all-time greats. Master percussionist Armando Peraza played with Machito, Pérez Prado, Cal Tjader, Tito Puente, George Shearing, Carlos Santana and many others during his 89 years. He lived in the Bay Area for the last 40 years and in addition to being a genius, he was a wonderful guy who offered support and inspiration to everyone around him. He'll be sorely missed. 

Tom Ehrlich's 2007 Gallery - LP Percussion Bio Page - Wikipedia Bio

Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:47:04 -0400
Angelito Ramirez & El Tren Bala Release First Single Angel Ramirez y El Tren Bala
Angelito Ramírez y El Tren Bala Live in Lima

Lima continues to make its presence felt on the international timba scene. Ángel Ramírez y El Tren Bala have begun work on their debut CD, which will be titled "Mi historia". They released their first single, "Amigo de qué" this week at YouTube and it is already in rotation on the Timba DJs playlists. The CD is being recorded on the Bambu Records label.

Angelito achieved international fame as the charismatic singer for Barbaro Fines y Su Mayimbe. Last year he left to start his own project together with musical director Amarat Aguila Stuart, who worked in Cuba with such Timba bands as Michel Maza, Bamboleo, Pachito Alonso y Sus Kini Kini, among others. We have uploaded an official biography to Angelito's musician page. Click here to find out more about him.

The single is not available for download yet, but you can check it out at YouTube. Get ready because El Tren Bala is coming! 

Contact & Info:
Renzo Rey Urcia Lucana
+51 997081977
+51 981 539 11

E-mail: angelitoramirez.trenbala@gmail.com
Facebook: Angel Ramírez

Sun, 13 Apr 2014 08:36:01 -0400
Cubadisco: Cuba's Most Important Music Awards and More
Cubadisco 2014 is approaching soon - the nominations will be announced later this month. This year's theme is Percussion, the event will take place May 17-25, 2014, and the guest country is Trinidad and Tobago.  Bill Tilford has published a new section (click here to read it in English) explaining what Cubadisco is and how it works, and he will be following this year's events and awards very closely.   

Cubadisco 2014 se acerca pronto - las nominaciones se darán a conocer a finales de este mes. Este año es dedicado a la percusión, el evento se llevará a cabo del 17 al 25 de mayo 2014, y el país invitado es Trinidad y Tobago. Bill Tilford ha publicado una nueva sección (clic aquí para leerlo en español) explicando lo que Cubadisco es y cómo funciona, y él estará siguiendo muy de cerca los acontecimientos y los premios de este año. 

Also, ten new reviews, many of multiple-CD collections, were published in recent weeks.  See the Reviews section to read these. 

Además, diez nuevas reseñas, muchas de las colecciones de multiple CDs, fueron publicadas en las últimas semanas Vea la sección Reseñas para leerlas. 

Sat, 05 Apr 2014 16:11:58 -0400
Tom's Pacific Mambo Orchestra Photos Here's Tom Ehrlich's photo gallery for Pacific Mambo Orchestra's standing-room-only March 22 celebration and their first San Francisco appearance after their Grammy(R) win for Best Tropical Album. Thanks again to the Greater Bay Area Latin Music community for all their support!

FYI the new bassist for the Pacific mambo -- Julio de la Cruz -- is a Cuban musician who played with Síntesis and toured with the Puerto Rican singer / songwriter José Feliciano. 

Click on any image to see the full gallery -- Pinche una de las fotos para ver la galería

Co-leaders of PMO Christian Tumalan and Steffen Kuehn

View from the stage - Pacific Mambo Orchestra - Café Cócomo - San Francisco

And on the East Coast we are delighted to hear that Adalberto Álvarez is coming to the US this May and also Pupy y los que Son Son will be coming July. The first shows we know of are Adalberto at S.O.B.s Friday May 16 and Pupy at the Howard Theater in Washington D.C Friday July 25. Check out the info and links below....

Adalberto Álvarez y su Son
Friday, May 16, 2014
Showtime @ 12:00 PM -- Doors open @ 11:00 PM
click here for tickets -- para taquillas presione aquí

Adalberto Álvarez - S.O.B.s NYC - Friday April 16 2014 - Cuban Music News

Adalberto Alvárez  y su Son - Friday May 16 2014 - SOBs New York City
Adalberto Alvárez es pianista, compositor, arreglista y director de orquesta. "El Caballero del Son" es el título que se ha ganado por las antológicas innovaciones y aportes realizados a ese género tradicional y contemporáneo, resulta ser en la actualidad, el sonero cubano más versionado en el ámbito latino de los últimos 30 años.

Pupy y Los Que Son Son
feat. César "Pupy" Pedroso of Los Van Van
Friday, July 25, 2014
Showtime @ 9:00 PM -- Doors open @ 8:00 PM
Tickets $20 in advance, $25 day of show
click here for tickets -- para taquillas presione aquí

Pupy y los que Son Son - July 25 2014 - Howard Theater - Washington D.C. - Cuban Music NewsPupy y los que Son Son - Howard Theater - Washington D.C. - July 25, 2014
Su nombre completo es César de las Mercedes Pedroso Fernández, pero todo el mundo lo llama “Pupy”. Es compositor, arreglista, pianista y director de su grupo timbero "Los Que Son Son". 

Tue, 01 Apr 2014 16:23:14 -0400
Cuban Saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera SF Residency PAQUITO D'RIVERA & ROBERTA GAMBARINI w/ Roy Hargrove's Quartet

11x GRAMMY®-winning Cuban saxophonist & premier Italian jazz vocalist


Wednesday - Sunday March 26 - 30
Wednesday, March 26: 8pm $22, 10pm $16
Thursday, March 27: 8pm $24, 10pm $18
Friday, March 28: 8pm $28, 10pm $22
Saturday, March 29: 8pm $30, 10pm $24
Sunday, March 30: 7pm $22, 9pm $16

Paquito D'Rivera with Roy Hargrove's Quartet - Yoshi's SF Wed-Sun Mar 26-30

Paquito D’Rivera
defies categorization. The winner of 11 GRAMMY® Awards, he is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. Born in Havana, Cuba, he performed at age 10 with the National Theater Orchestra, studied at the Havana Conservatory of Music and, at 17, became a featured soloist with the Cuban National Symphony. As a founding member of the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, he directed that group for two years, while at the same time playing both the clarinet and saxophone with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. He eventually went on to premier several works by notable Cuban composers with the same orchestra. Additionally, he was a founding member and co-director of the innovative musical ensemble Irakere. With its explosive mixture of jazz, rock, classical and traditional Cuban music never before heard, Irakere toured extensively throughout America and Europe, won several GRAMMY nominations (1979, 1980) and a GRAMMY (1979). Visit Paquito's website here.

Justin Robinson - Alto Sax & flute 
Sullivan Fortner - Piano 
Ameen Saleem - Bass 
Quincy Phillips - Drums

Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:24:48 -0400
"Lolo" Available Now! Lolo - EP Soneros All Stars

Delayed by nearly two years, Lolo, the long-awaited new release by Soneros All Stars is now available at on-line retailers such as iTunes and Spotify. Lolo contains six songs, and each one is eminently satisfying from the dancer's point of view. Three are new songs written for the album, and three are updated versions from previous Soneros All Stars releases. Yanesito's journey from traditional sonero to modern timbero is reflected in his arrangements. They are firmly rooted in son, but there is nothing traditional about them. Click here for the full review. 

Wed, 26 Mar 2014 12:25:00 -0400
Saturday, March 29: International Rueda De Casino Multi Flash Mob Day Saturday, March 29, 2014 has been designated International Rueda De Casino Multi Flash Mob Day by Rueda enthusiasts - teams of Rueda dancers in at least 168 cities worldwide will be performing simultaneously. To learn more about where and when as well as whom to contact for more information, you can visit tha global coordinating web page

Dos y Mas (Arturo Stable and Elio Villafranca, two Jazz artists originally from Cuba with intriguing discographies) gave an excellent performance in Chicago at the Old Town School of Folk Music on March 19.  You can read a review and view a photo gallery here

Wed, 26 Mar 2014 02:47:38 -0400
Packed Show with the P.M.O. - Peter Maiden Photos Pacific Mambo Orchestra Grammy® Celebration at Café Cócomo - Saturday March 22 2014Check out Peter Maiden's Full Photo Gallery here (or click on the photo above)

Pacific Mambo Orchestra Grammy® Celebration at Café Cócomo - Saturday March 22 2014PMO = (Lo Mejor) Para Mis Oidos.... What a night! Standing room only at Café Cócomo celebrating Pacific Mambo Orchestra's first San Francisco appearance after their Grammy(R) win for Best Tropical Album. A full on smorgasbord of MAMBO and SALSA... free dance lesson by Jake Jacobs, the PMO joined by special guests Karl Perrazo (timbalero of Santana fame) and Armando Cordoba (Avance), special performances by 4 different dance groups, some crazy latina working me for half an hour asking for her money back because she had no room to dance (que pasó con el apoyo latina? - había una pila, pero una pila, de parejas bailando) DJ Hong and just an overall great feeling through the whole night. 

The PMO extended crew was also in full force -- the stamp police Christina Chang helping me make sure no one snuck in through the front exit doors (also thanks for the painting pics Christine) -- as people posed with directors Christian Tumalan (piano) and Steffen Kuehn (lead trumpet) and the band with their special autographed photos. Also a shout out to PMO F.O.H. sound engineer Jimmy Goings for the amazing sound.

Pacific Mambo Orchestra Grammy® Celebration at Café Cócomo - Saturday March 22 2014PMO co-director Christian Tumalan

Pacific Mambo Orchestra Grammy® Celebration at Café Cócomo - Saturday March 22 2014PMO co-director Steffen Kuehn

Also in the house...very cool and incredibly talented artist by the name of Nataliya Tyaglo, who donated a painting she made right there, live during the show. The painting was auctioned for $1200... way to go Nataliya! Check out the painting below...

Pacific Mambo Orchestra Grammy® Celebration at Café Cócomo - Saturday March 22 2014Live art courtesy of Nataliya Tyaglo

Pacific Mambo Orchestra Grammy® Celebration at Café Cócomo - Saturday March 22 2014

Pacific Mambo Orchestra Grammy® Celebration at Café Cócomo - Saturday March 22 2014Some of the PMO horns with Steffen Kuehn (top left) - Tony Peebles, Aaron Lington, Jamie Dubberly, Jeff Cressman 

The next PMO show is Saturday, April 19 at the SF Salsa Festival 2014 (Westin San Francisco Market Street). 

Tue, 25 Mar 2014 01:49:30 -0400
Colabora Mayito Rivera con Marlow Rosado After doing a well received run of concerts in San Francisco, New York, New Jersey and Virginia, one of our favorite Timba singers, "El Poeta de la Rumba" Mayito Rivera of Los Van Van fame has collaborated with 2013 Grammy® winner Marlow Rosado on his new album with La Riqueña (Marlow's salsa orchestra). The singer recorded at Marlow's new Miami recording facility "Pink Chaos Productions". His new record also counts with the participation of puertorican salsa legend Richie Ray, Fania All-Star Larry Harlow and the recent winner of the Premio Lo Nuestro, the dominican singer Alex Matos. Stay tuned for more info on this new record...

Después de ejecutar varios conciertos muy bien recibidos en San Francisco, Nueva York, Nueva Jersey y Virginia, el destacado cantante de timba cubana "El Poeta de la Rumba" Mario "Mayito" Rivera ha participado en un nuevo tema de la próxima producción del pianista y director salsero Marlow Rosado (y la Riqueña), ganador del Grammy® 2013 . La voz del estelar cantante se grabó en Miami, en el nuevo estudio del Sr. Rosado llamado "Pink Chaos Productions".  El disco cuenta con otros artistas invitados como la leyenda boricua Richie Ray, el Fania All-Star Larry Harlow, y además el reciente ganador del Premio Lo Nuestro, el cantante dominicano Alex Matos. Te brindaremos más información sobre este nuevo disco tan pronto sea posible...

Fri, 21 Mar 2014 19:39:26 -0400
Pacific Mambo Orchestra Gala + New York Times Article West Coast in the house! This Saturday March 22 marks the first hometown SF appearance by the Pacific Mambo Orchestra since their Grammy® win. There will be many local musicians and dancers on hand to celebrate with. This is the first time in the history of the awards that a salsa band from San Francisco wins the Best Tropical category. The show will also feature dance performances by Couture Dance Alliance, Salsamania, Rica Salsa and Manny & Mireille & SLDC plus DJ Hong.

Grammy® membership applications will be available at the door. 
Call your local Recording Academy Chapter by clicking here
Atlanta - Chicago - Florida - Los Angeles - Memphis - Nashville - New York
Pacific Northwest - Philadelphia - San Francisco - Texas - Washington D.C.

On the East Coast and nationwide, the PMO was featured in the March 15 print edition of the New York Times (March 14th for the web edition) with the headline....

"Oakland’s Surprise: Grammy-Winning Caribbean Sound" .... check it out.

Oakland’s Surprise: Grammy-Winning Caribbean Sound -- Pacific Mambo Orchestra Is Unknown No More

Oakland’s Surprise: Grammy-Winning Caribbean Sound -- Pacific Mambo Orchestra Is Unknown No More

Wed, 19 Mar 2014 20:59:47 -0400
La Loma del Chivo by Bicitaxi La Loma del Chivo - Guantanamo, Cuba
La Loma del Chivo - Guantanamo, Cuba

I continue my Guantanamo reports with something that isn't exactly music or dance, but is tangentially related to both. If you have been listening to Cuban music for a while, you have undoubtedly heard singers mention "La Loma del Chivo" (goat hill). Speaking for myself, I will tell you that this neighborhood took on legendary proportions in my mind. I imagined some rural community or peripheral neighborhood with lush, green hills where goats grazed lazily in the ever-present Guantanamo sun.

In 2007 I took my first trip to Guantanamo to attend the Third National Changüí Festival. You can imagine my consternation when I found that La Loma del Chivo has neither a hill nor any visible goats. You never know what people may be raising in their houses, however, so I won't rule goats out yet.

Upon my return to Guantanamo seven years later, I took a bicitaxi to various landmarks in the city that I wanted to film. Here is a video of part of my trip around La Loma del Chivo where you will find La casa del Son, La Casa del Changüí and La Casa de la Tumba Francesa all in the same block; where there is an outdoor stage with a life-sized statue of Elio Revé Matos and a wall with the names of famous musicians who have passed away. We even found a nice guy who could tell us the story of why what is apparently a flat, non-agricultural neighborhood bears the name "Goat Hill". I hope those of you who have never been there will enjoy a little look around, and I encourage everyone to attend the Changüí Festival this year May 29 - June 1. For information contact For information contact  José Cuenca or Ernesto Chacón or even me if you want.

Wed, 19 Mar 2014 12:55:03 -0400
PMG 20/20: Timba Fusion Fortified With Its Own Wine...
The Pedrito Martinez Group gave an excellent performance/party at the City Winery in Chicago AND unveiled a self-named wine there on Saturday, March 15.  You can read a review and see a gallery here (but you'll have to order the wine yourself in order to try it).  

Two concerts and a movie premiere of special interest during the next week: 

Chicago:  Dos y Más is coming to the Old Town School of Folk Music on Wednesday, March 19. This is a promising collaboration between drummer/percussionist Arturo Stable and pianist Elio Villafranca. Both are graduates of the Instituto Superior del Arte in Havana, and their original musical encounter was with Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana project.  This will be a Jazz performance that also incorporates a variety of musical influences from around the globe. 

Miami:  The public premiere of an hour-long PBS documentary, Miami Boheme: An American Musical Journey,  will take place at The Stage in Miami on Wednesday, March 19 at 7pm.  This will be followed with a live concert by Palo!, one of several groups documented in the film (some of the others include the Spam Allstars, Locos Por Juana and Sueñalo.)

New York:  Havana Nagila with the KlezmaticsArturo O'Farrill and others at The Town Hall, Sunday, March 23
¡Oy Gocemos!  Havana Nagila is part of a larger Newish Jewish Music Festival that is being presented March 19th and March 23rd in association with the World Music Institute.   This is hardly the first time that a collaboration exploring the confluence of Latin and Jewish music and dance has been performed;  just two of several past recordings include the CDs It's A Scream The Way Levine Does The Rhumba (the liner notes of which include some material by Arturo O'Farrill) and Bagels and Bongos (which sold more than 2 million copies in 1959), and New York's Jewish community was a key participant in the Mambo Craze of the 50s.  (Photo John Abbott)
What makes this project of extra interest is that the Klezmatics and Arturo O'Farrill have the distinction of being in the top rungs of their respective genres AND a lot of experience doing other successful fusion projects.  Additional artists will include Lewis Kahn, who has played with several Salsa bands including the Fania All Stars, Argentine Jazz vocalist Sofia Rei, percussionist Reinaldo de Jesus and others. (Photo Chuck Fishman)

Tickets are available at www.townhall.org and www.ticketmaster.com

Sun, 16 Mar 2014 15:15:13 -0400
Interactivo in Miami and More...
Interactivo's performance in Miami was more than worth the time and expense to travel from Chicago to see it.   You can see a review and a very extensive photo gallery here

While waiting for the concert, this writer went shopping for recordings.  It is worth mentioning that the Museo del Disco (1301 SW 70th Ave in Miami) is not only stocking many of the EGREM, Colibri and Bis recordings that are reviewed on this website, but it may have the most impressive selection of those in the United States now and deserves special mention for its pro-active efforts to bring that music to buyers here. 

Key Concerts This Week:  Kelvis Ochoa is in Miami on March 15th, and the Pedrito Martínez Group is at the City Winery in Chicago, also on March 15th. 

Mon, 10 Mar 2014 10:46:14 -0400
Leonel Limonta & Azúcar Negra in Europe Leonel Limonta & Azúcar Negra Europe 2014

In just six days Leonel Limonta & Azúcar Negra will be back in Europe for a month of serious timba y gozadera. Click here for the March dates and some of April. We will be updating again as soon as the final confirmations for April have come in. After their last release, "Bailar en Tacones", Limonta and the muchachos dulces are keeping with the sartorial theme with their latest single "Maltraando la Tela". I was fortunate enough to see Limonta in the process of creating this song, which came to life last year during the Latinoamericando Festival in Milan. Enjoy, and check back next week for April updates!

Sun, 09 Mar 2014 13:13:04 -0400
For Pastora Yuani Sayú Pastora Yuani SayúsMarch 8 is International Women's Day and while it may not be well-known everywhere, it is very important both here in Sweden and in Cuba. As I sat here contemplating the many talented women who have helped shape Cuban music, it struck me that today I would like to honor one of the most internationally famous women in both salsa and timba: Pastora Yuani Sayú, better known to Latin music fans as Pastorita. Sadly, she passed away in 2013 at the age of 97, but her name has been imortalized and can probably be heard every week in some salsa venue around the world.

I want to thank Niurka Estrada, Mirlania Rodriguez and José Cuenca for the photo pf Pastora and for sharing with me the story about the origins of the song and the subsequent battle over the rights to the song which was resolved in June of 1976. But we'll get to that part of the story later.

Pastora Yuani Sayú

"El Guararey de Pastora" has been a hit many times over. First performed by Changüí Guantánamo, it caught the attention of Juan Formell during a visit to Cuba's easternmost province and was recorded by Van Van in 1974. The song became a hit in Cuba and in 1975 Ray Barretto recorded a salsa version, which also became a huge success in the salsa world outside of Cuba.

So what is the story behind the song that has had seemingly universal appeal? Well let me tell you. Pastora had a daughter who had caught the eye of Roberto Baute Sagarra, tresero of Changüí Guantánamo. He began a romance with her and Pastora was not happy with his attentions towards her daughter because Roberto, also known as Chito, was already married and 20 years older than the object of his affection. This was the source of Pastora's guararey (anger) with her friend Chito and the inspiration for the song.

At the time the song was written, Pedro Speck was the director of Changüí Guantánamo and he registered the rights to the song under his name. It wasn't until the popularity of Van Van's version that the subject of authorship  became an issue. In June 1976 the court ruled in favor of Roberto Baute when Pastorita herself testified on his behalf. Previously attributed to Speck or simply listed as DR, the song is now correctly attributed to Roberto Baute, although it was not officially registered with ACDAM under his name until 21 April 1981. However, I was told in Guantanamo that neither Speck nor Baute ever received any income from the recording or performances of other versions of the song.

Roberto Baute SagarraPhoto of Roberto Baute Sagarra in Casa del Changüí in Guantanamo

Below is a video of the group Suave Caribe performing "El Guararey de Pastora"  on January 9, 2014 at the Thursday night peña in Guantanamo. If you are able I highly recommend attending the National Changüí Festival, which will take place this year from May 29-June 1. It is a unique opportunity to really come face-to-face with the roots of the music and dance we know today as salsa and timba. For more information about the changüí festival contact General Coordinator José Cuenca or Ernesto Chacón.

Sat, 08 Mar 2014 16:41:48 -0500
Calixto Oviedo Quintet Calixto Oviedo Quintet

The summer tour season will be kicking off soon and we are in the process of updating our tours section as the tour dates get finalized. We have already updated Calixto Oviedo's section with concert dates for the spring and early summer. He will be performing jazz with Calixto's Way Band and dance music with Lily d Oviedo Orquesta as well as going Masters Classes and performing with bands such as the Afro-Cuban Jazz Project. Click here for the full list of concerts as of this moment. 

Calixto has also put together a quintet featuring Josiel Pérez on trumpet, Natanael Molina on piano, Yosmel Montejo on bass, Christian Moraga on congas and percussion, and of course Calixto Oviedo on drums. The Calixto Oviedo Quintet plays a mix of Latin Jazz, Timba and Soul. They will be performing at Mambos Café 1701 Victory Blvd. in Glendale, California on April 24th.

Stay tuned for more tour updates for Azúcar Negra, Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor, Los Van Van, Havana D'Primera, Oderquis Revé y su Changüí, Elito Revé y Su Charangón, Mayito Rivera & Sons of Cuba and more...

Sat, 08 Mar 2014 14:49:43 -0500
The Celebration Begins: 50 Years of EGREM
  Graphic courtesy EGREM

ENGLISH:  March 31, 2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of EGREM, the home of the record label that first brought us Timba and many other forms of modern Cuban music. EGREM began the festivities on February 28th with a press conference to announce its plans for the occasion.   A photo gallery from the conference is available here
With the assistance of several individuals at EGREM, Bill Tilford has established a special section for EGREM and its activities, which is availaible here
All who love modern Cuban music have much to celebrate. 

31 de marzo 2014 marca el 50 º aniversario del establecimiento de la EGREM, la casa discográfica que nos traía la TImba y muchas otras formas de la música cubana moderna. EGREM comenzó los festejos del 28 de febrero con una conferencia de prensa para anunciar sus planes para la ocasión.  Una galería de fotos de la conferencia está disponible aquí.
Con la ayuda de varias personas de la EGREM, Bill Tilford ha establecido una sección especial sobre la EGREM y sus actividades, que está disponible aquí. 
Todos que aman la música cubana moderna tienen mucho que celebrar. 

Sun, 02 Mar 2014 14:49:48 -0500
7th National Changüí Festival Changüí dancers in Guantanamo

Announcement of the 7th National Changüí Festival

If Cuba is a global reserve of music, then Guantanamo is one of the reservoirs of Cuban music. In this region you can find almost all genres on the island and some that are unique to Upper Eastern Cuba: changüí, nengón, kiribá ... primal musical forms that are only found in Guantanamo and that remain as alive as the first day.

To know and enjoy Cuban music, Guantanamo is a compulsory stop . If you arrive there you will experience the pleasure of feeling the magic of the authentic. - José Cuenca Sosa

The 7th National Changüí Festival "Elio Revé Matos" will take place in Guantanamo from May 29 - June 1, 2014. The event includes music and dance shows of changüí as well as other music and dance styles unique to the province of Guantanamo such as nengón, kiribá and tumba francesa. In addition there are concerts by timba bands such as Orquesta Revé, although note that at this point I have seen no list of participating timba bands for 2014. The festival features contests between treseros, bongoceros, marimbuleros, dancers and singers as well as a more scholarly segment of conferences. This year the topic is "Origins, Parallels and Projections of Changüí". Events will be held throught the city and in changüí areas such as Casa de Pipi in Yateras. The fee to sign up is 50 CUC for foreigners and 50  CUP for Cubans. To participate or for more information, contact General Coordinator José Cuenca or Ernesto Chacón.

Below is a video I put together where Cuenca tells us about the plans for this year's festival and I threw in a little changüí footage from Guantanamo and from a changüí party at Casa de Pipi in Yateras from the 2007 festival.

Sun, 02 Mar 2014 14:32:27 -0500
Key Events in Miami, Chicago and New York Miami: Interactivo in concert, Miami Dade County Auditorium, 29th and Flagler Street, Miami FL, March 8, 9PM

This should be one of the concerts of the year in the United States. Interactivo is one of the most progressive and interesting bands in Cuba today; it combines everytthing from Jazz to Hip Hop to modern Cuban dance music, and the most recent information released adds several members of Habana Abierta to the roster along with Gema Corredera, Mayito Rivera and David Torrens. Telmary is also on the roster. We'll post some video of Interactivo closer to the date, but with the additional stars in the show, there are bound to be some musical surprises as well. 

Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com
For additional information, see the Fundarte website at

Click continue reading for much more.

Sun, 23 Feb 2014 20:39:17 -0500
Ernesto Oviedo with John Santos

Another amazing Santos/SFJAZZ collaboration, this time with Ernesto Oviedo on vocals. Click here for more great shots.

Fri, 21 Feb 2014 02:05:07 -0500
The 13th Annual Chicago International Salsa Congress - Mostly NOT Unlucky Article by Bill Tilford, all rights reserved

So, we are looking at the 13th anniversary of an event that is also starting on the 13th day of the month (fortunately, not a Friday), and this might have sent many persons scrambling for their rabbit's foot or other special charms, but most of the Chicago International Salsa Congress was superb (we'll get to the exceptions a little later).  Click continue reading for more.

Thu, 20 Feb 2014 15:51:31 -0500
Llegó Mayito Rivera Mayito and Timbalive with Yussef Breffe at the 2014 SF Salsa Rueda Festival • photo by Tom Ehrlich

Look - nobody loves Los Van Van more than I do, and like most, I was both sad to hear that Mayito had left the group and uncertain that Mayito Rivera would be able to sustain the iconic gravitas of Mayito Van Van. The solo careers of Lele el padre, Israel Sardiñas, Mayito el Flaco, Ángel Bonne and even Pedrito Calvo will always be overshadowed by their work with Formell, but on the strength of this one performance, Mayito has emphatically cast that monkey off his back. It's now clear that Mayito simply had to leave - he's just too much singer to be relegated to two or three songs a night. 

Mayito captured and hypnotized a huge crowd of dancers and connoisseurs from the first note and relentlessly pushed them higher and higher for an hour and a half of non-stop tour de force inspiration. He was clearly excited and emotional but he maintained complete control, hitting perfectly intoned, full voice high As and above on every song without faltering.

By the second song, the night's opening coro, Llegó Mayito Rivera had taken on a much deeper meaning. This was not going to be merely a nostalgic look back at Mayito Van Van. It was Mayito Rivera, el Poeta de la Rumba, who had arrived - a new artist - now with the space and freedom to fully express himself with cadenzas, rubato intros, rumba and inspiraciones and to aspire on equal turf to the greatness of his idol Beny Moré.

I had seen flashes of Mayito's improvising in Havana, sitting in with Issac and Bamboleo, but this was 90 minutes of sustained in-the-moment brilliance. When he called for a rumba dancer, SF's own Yussef Breffe was busily taking photos with a large unwieldy camera and before he could put it down, Mayito had invented a coro about the non-sequitur of a rumbero con cámara? As soon as Yussef started to break out his prodigious moves, Mayito changed the coro to suelta la cámara! and the coristas, highlighted by the amazing Yezi González, instantly harmonized it while Mayito tossed off one incredible pregón after then next. The whole night was like this, and the euphoria on Yezi's face was telling. She kept looking over at the trombonistas as if to say "can you freaking believe this?" The whole Timbalive band was grinning from ear to ear and responding spontaneously to each unexpected bit of brilliance from Mayito.

Timbalive plays their own set tonight, Sunday, with more dance performances.

Nick Van Eyck and Serena Wong's Salsa Vale Todo with Yenek and Karelia • photo by Tom Ehrlich

Mayito greeted a crowd that was already high as a kite on the strength of a really tremendous series of dance performances. Festival organizers Nick Van Eyck and Serena Wong got a chance to perform with their famous teachers on an amazingly spliced audio segment that went in and out of Charanga Habanera's epic Tema introducción twice. The choreography of its mind-boggling polyrhythmic bloque was stunning.

Meanwhile, over at the Timbaversity, Roberto Borrell gave a brilliant preview of his upcoming Finding the Clave course and Umi Vaughan was inspiring and thought-provoking as usual as he elaborated on his first two books on batá and timba, and threw out a few teasers about his third - a history of his mother's famous Oakland dance studio. [Kevin Moore]

Click Continue Reading for more great photos. Full galleries coming soon.

Sun, 16 Feb 2014 18:26:04 -0500
Pedrito Calvo Jr. - CUBANEO CUBANEO - Pedrito Calvo Jr.

Pedrito Calvo Jr. is about to releases his second full-length CD, "CUBANEO". It contains ten tracks which range from salsa to timba to timbaton and even one mambo-son, appropriately titled "Mamboson". The album was recorded in Havana and Italy, and mixed and mastered in Italy. We took the opportunity to ask PC about the new project.

Well CUBANEO comes at a necessary for me, after almost 3 years spent between composition, arrangement, recording in Cuba and Italy, and time mixing and mastering. It's CD designed for various audiences where I enjoy moving from salsa to timba, and also what is called timbaton plus as son with mambo where I have in mind a performance dancing.

You collaborated a lot with Juan Kemell on the CD. In addition to arranging five of the songs and singing coro, he was co-musical producer together with you and Azaris Pijuan. How did the working relationship function?

Look, with Kemell there has been a chemistry since the last record, because his arrangements reflect each note or chord in my mind and he always manages to capture it with his expertise. Kemell also followed much of the recording and mixing process with great professionalism. Azeris Pijuan, bassist and musical director of the orchestra, was involved in Italy with all the putting together of arrangements and the other parts of the recording process. It has been a very good combination that has resulted in the album that I dreamed of.

The single that you have released to DJs is called “Ready Pa’ Mí” and is a timbatón that you recorded with Super Joe El Mayoral. What was it like collaborating on a sing with himl?

The song READY PA 'MI was co-written by Joel Gonzales "EL MAYORAL" and myself. Joelito has a million fresh ideas for good songs and one day commenting on how everything moves around an artist, we started writing the chorus and that's how the whole song arose, then the arrangement and midi+demo was made by ​​Oldrich thinking only about reggaeton. Joe and I proposed to do timba version which is what remained.

Do you notice any differences between the musical preferences of the dancers in Cuba and in various cities in Europe?

Surely everyone has various answers, but from what I have seen, the musical preferences do exist but are reduced more each day, and it may be a small thing, but new technologies (if we think 80-90 years) have helped greatly to further promote our music. The European audiences follow more and more the work of all the artists, and as a consequence, the musical patterns of the fans change more easily. I marvel at how people dance in several European countries, they know the Cuban bands, it is really impressive to see how it is promoted and how they have that unbridled passion.

 The official release date may be announced as soon as next week, so stay tuned! 

Track list:
Se Acabó
Con Fe
Cuba Mía
Ready Pa'mí
Chica Mala
Salsa Salsita
Ya Llegué

Arrangment Track
Juan Kemell 1-3-4-6-10
José Ramón Núñez 2-9
Oldrich González 5
Juan Carlos Ávila 7-8




General Direction: Pedro José Calvo

Musical Production: Juan Kemell, Azaris Pijuan, Pedro José Calvo
Executive Production: Christian Madera

Sun, 16 Feb 2014 16:17:39 -0500
Mayito & Timbalive Tonight @ SF Salsa Rueda Festival! Mayito Rivera @ SF Salsa Rueda FestivalMayito Rivera @ SF Salsa Rueda Festival courtesy of Mayito @ Facebook

Mayito Rivera and Timbalive perform tonight at the San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival. They will play two sets: 10:30-11:30 and 12:00-01:00. The concert will be preceeded by dance performances and DJ Walt Digz will be spinning in between. Click here for the full festival schedule.

Mayito will continue to perform in the US with concerts in New York and again in San Francsico.

February 15, 2014 - San Francisco, CA. - San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival
February 22, 2014 - Rego Park, NY. - Rumba night club
February 23, 2014 - New York, NY. - Gonzalez y Gonzalez
March 1, 2014 - San Francisco, CA. - Teatro Brava

Click here for the current list of Mayito's concerts in the US and Europe. More updates will be forthcoming so stay tuned.

Sat, 15 Feb 2014 15:19:50 -0500
It's SF Salsa Rueda Festival Time Masterminds Nick Van Eyck and Serena Wong of Salsa Vale Todo (video below) at the 2012 festival.

Here's this year's full schedule. Thursday night is a welcoming party featuring Bay Area timberos Team Bahía, followed by three fully packed days of workshops and performances. Among the highlights are Mayito Rivera's first California show since leaving Los Van Van on Saturday night, backed by Timbalive, who play their own show Sunday night, Roberto Borrell's Finding the Clave course on Saturday, The Bay Area Timba Salsa All Stars on Friday night, and dance performances by troupes from around the world each night in the main ballroom. For tickets and reservations.

cuban music, musica cubanaMayito Rivera

Thu, 13 Feb 2014 21:24:09 -0500
Mayito Rivera "El Poeta de la Rumba" Upcoming USA Appearances Ok get ready for MAYITO!! "El Poeta de la Rumba" will be in San Francisco SATURDAY February 15 with Timbalive at the 2014 SALSA RUEDA FESTIVAL. This is at the Hotel Whitcomb downtown SF. After that you can catch him with Jhair Sala and Sebastian Natal and their crew LA TEMATI-K in Woodbridge, Virginia at The Palace Nightclub ( 703-490-3814 ) on Friday the 21st and in Elizabeth, New Jersey at Mi Tierra ( 917-459-0014 / 908-422-3088 ) on Saturday the 22nd.

Mayito Rivera "El Poeta de la Rumba" Upcoming USA Appearances

Mayito Rivera "El Poeta de la Rumba" Upcoming USA Appearances Mayito Rivera "El Poeta de la Rumba" Upcoming USA Appearances


While Mayito heads over to the East Coast, the West Coast keeps the party going with the first of a series of GRAMMY® Award Grammy celebrations. The PACIFIC MAMBO ORCHESTRA headlines the Santa Rosa Salsa Festival this Saturday February 15 at the Flamingo Hotel.  After that you can catch them celebrating at Terrapin Crossroads on Saturday, March 1 in San Rafael.

Pacific Mambo Orchestra Grammy Award Celebrations

Pacific Mambo Orchestra Grammy Award Celebrations

Thu, 13 Feb 2014 04:51:31 -0500
Issac's New Band in Cuba

Issac is back in Cuba and has an exciting new band with three members of the original NG La Banda: pianist Rodolfo "Peruchín" Argudín, trumpeter Elpidio Chappottín and saxophonist/arranger Germán Velazco. On synthesizer is Yusef Díaz of Klímax fame. Click continue reading for a larger version of the poster.

Sun, 09 Feb 2014 21:59:13 -0500
Entrevista a Israel Rojas Israel RojasIsrael Rojas - director and lead vocalist of Buena Fe

I believe it is safe to say that Israel Rojas is one of the busiest men in Havana, and I want to thank him for inviting me to the show "Motivos Martianos", which took place at Teatro Mella on January 21, 2014 and for taking time from his schedule to talk to Timba.com. The interview is in video format and in Spanish. I haven't had time to subtitle or to transcribe and translate. Hopefully I will be able to get around to that soon, but for now I have so much video from my recent trip to Cuba, that it is keeping me quite occupied. Meanwhile, for those who don't speak Spanish let me just mention a few key points.

Israel mentioned that in the first quarter of 2014, the band will launch it's new official homepage buenafe.cu. Up to now, the various homepages the band has had have been in domains outside of Cuba. The band has not always had access to the sites, on ocassion they have been hacked and the domains have been stolen, but above all, Cubans have not had access due to the rquirements for broadband. The new page will be a simpler design, but will now be accessible to all their fans, including Cubans with access to an internet connection.

At the beginning of March, probably in conjunction with the band's 15th anniversay, Galician singer/songwriter Andrés Suárez will perform with Buena Fe at Teatro Karl Marx where he will present his CD "Moraima" (highly recommended!). As for tours, the band plans to tour the US in April and Venezuela in May. They are also trying to arramge a major tour of Latin America for the second half of 2014. This is still in the development stage and we'll update you with more information as son as we have it.

For the rest of the interview we talked about the "Motivos Martianos" project and show, about what it was that caused Israel to become such a devoted follower of José Martí (part of which he attributes to the  Cuban special period) and how he views the art of songwriting.

Sun, 09 Feb 2014 13:18:30 -0500
Por Fin! Los Hermanos Arango
from afrocubaweb.com

It's been a long wait, but Feliciano Arango and Los Hermanos Arango have finally returned after their one-stop tour to Berklee several years ago. Arango is well-known to timberos as the founding bassist of NG La Banda and co-author of two books on bass-playing. But Los Hermanos Arango is an amazing project in its own right, combining Latin jazz with folkloric vocals, percussion and dancing. They'll be performing and doing master classes all week in Southern California. This is the real deal - don't miss it. The opening act for some of the shows is the changüí group of timba.com friend and contributor Gabriel García.

Thursday, Feb. 6 - Dizzy's, San Diego: 8pm
4275 Mission Bay drive, San Diego, California

Saturday, Feb. 8 - Noche Cubana at World Beat Center 9pm
2100 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA

Sunday, Feb. 9 - Clinic 12-2pm World Beat Center San Diego

Tuesday, Feb. 11 - Winston's 10 pm
1921 Bacon St, San Diego, CA

Wednesday, Feb.12 SDSU Music Hall 7 pm

Thursday, Feb. 13 - Live concert with Changui Majadero at the Mbar
1846 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA

Here is the facebook RSVP link where we would like people to rsvp:


Wed, 05 Feb 2014 20:05:46 -0500
Maykel x 2 Maykel Blanco & Maykel Fonts @ Don Cangrejo Maykel x 2: Blanco & Fonts @ Don Cangrejo

Maykel Blanco and Maykel Fonts are two of the most internationally recognized names of the younger generation of Cuban artists, both excelling in their genre. Maykel Blanco & Su Salsa Mayor exploded on the international timba scene in 2006 with the release of their first CD “Recoge y vete”. Known to fans as “La Maquina de Cuba”, they have since released three more studio CDs and a live album. Their last release “A toda máquina” has been the band’s most successful CD to date, outselling other albums in a matter of months. With a vibrant live show, including audio-visual accompaniment, Maykel Blanco & Su Salsa Mayor are currently one of Havana’s most popular acts and in great demand on the international tour circuit.

Coming from humble beginnings in a solar in Old Havana, Maykel Fonts has become one of the most sought after Cuban dancers worldwide. At the age of 22 he graduated from the Tropicana dance school and shortly thereafter moved to Milan, Italy. Over the years he has worked as an instructor, choreographer and dancer in commercials and television programs, and he recently choreographed and danced in the award-winning video for Havana D’Primera’s hit “Al final de la vida”. In addition to Cuban dances, Maykel has studied flamenco, hip hop, jazz, classic dance as well as other international salsa dance styles, making him a versatile dancer. But without question the genre closest to his essence is Afro-Cuban rumba.

A few months ago these two young powerhouses of Cuban music and dance united to record “Dale lo que lleva”, available on Planet Records compilation "Latino 56 - Salsa Bachata Merengue Reggaeton". Musically the song is designed to be easily accessible to dancers, the coro Izquierda y derecha (Left and right) falling on the one and the five to match the dancers’ steps. The lyrics refer to the similarities in the development of the two Maykels in their different genres.

On January 18th 2014 Maykel Fonts and Maykel Blanco performed “Dale lo que lleva” for the first time live at Casa de la Música Habana. I was not able to attend the concert, but I did find them both at Don Cangrejo on January 16th, and I took the opportunity to ask them a few questions. The video interview is in Spanish. One of my favourite quotes from the interview came from Maykel Fonts when he talked about how with Cuban music and dance "…there are no barriers. When it comes to Cuba, it’s about enjoying yourself" (…no hay barrera. Cuando se trata de Cuba, se trata de gozadera ). I hope you enjoy the interview and the video for “Dale lo que leva” below.

Entrevista a Maykel x 2

Official Video "Dale lo que lleva"

Tue, 04 Feb 2014 09:48:23 -0500
Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival 2014 Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival 2014

Giraldo Piloto & Klímax have just finished their winter European Tour and in only six weeks Piloto will be busy with the 2014 Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival "Guillermo Barreto in memoriam", which will take place March 11 - 16 at venues throughout Havana. This is really an event to see if you will be or can be in Havana during this period. The festival includes competitions in percussion categories as well as in casino dancing, shows by Cuban and international bands and dance companies, as well as masters classes in percussion and dance.The competitions are open to both Cuban and international participants.

For more information in English, including instructions on how to sign up for the competitions, check out our Fiesta del Tambor 2014 link. The official website has been updated, but it is all in Spanish. In the meantime we share with you a video look back at the 2013 Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival.

Mon, 03 Feb 2014 06:10:20 -0500
Tom's Havana Reunión Photos Click here for Tom Ehrlich's latest gallery, from the amazing December reunion concert of Melón Lewis, Jimmy Branly and Carlitos del Puerto.

Mon, 03 Feb 2014 02:07:44 -0500
El Niño y La Verdad Emilio Frias El Niño y La VerdadEl Niño y La Verdad pack the house with their matinee at Casa de La Música Miramar

In March 2013 Emilio Frias "El Niño" and Wilfredo Naranjo "Pachy" decided it was time to leave Orquesta Revé, Cuba's greatest music school, and create their own orchestra. Joining them was Roberto "Chino" Vázquez, formerly bassist for El Trabuco, and shortly thereafter Pascual Matos "Sinsonte" of La Revé. We all know what a tough crowd the timberos of Havana are, but Emilio's popularity as a singer and the strength of the band's repertoire have made them an overnight success. Their Friday matinee at Casa de la Música Miramar is always well-attended and the atmosphere is great! Advice: If you are going to Havana, make sure to catch them at the Friday matinee!

I went to see them on January 17th and the show surpassed expectations. To keep the tourists happy Miramar has become nothing more than a sea of tables with no space left for a dance floor. But everyone was on their feet dancing anyway, as you can see in the picture above, from El Niño's Facebook page. They were filming for a promotional DVD that day. I'm looking forward to seeing the results! There were several guest artist in attendance. Juan Guillermo took a turn on stage with Emilio, and Arlenys ( El Niño's mujer) sang one of her own songs much to the delight of the audience. El Niño and Arlenys are definitely a power couple in Havana. 

Towards the close of the show, Oderquis Revé took the stage but even as he was singing "estás loco" the CDLM was struck by an apagón. Apparently power outages continue to be a problem for Habaneros. We adjourned to the bar in the garden, and I spent some time talking with Pachy and Sinsonte. 

In 2013 El Niño y La Verdad released a five-song demo, which has been very popular among DJs and dancers around the world. Fans will be happy to know that the band went back into the studio on January 24th to begin work on their album! Currently they are promoting the 5th single from the demo "Dime Cuanto". You can check it out in the Timba.com radio below. Alaroye no, alaroye y bien!

Sun, 02 Feb 2014 07:24:11 -0500
Motivos Martianos Cartelera Motivos Martianos

Today is the 161st anniversary of the birth of José Martí. Cubans around the world have been honoring this great father of the Cuban nation in various ways. Exactly one week ago I had the good fortune to attend one of the first celebrations, which took place at Teatro Mella. The event was called "Motivos Martianos" and was put on by the José Martí Cultural Society under the Artistic and General Direction of Israel Rojas. Rojas is also the organizer behind the upcoming Martí tribute album where each number is either inspired by Martí or in some cases the song lyrics are based on Martís poetry.

The event was sold out, and as you can see by the poster above, it featured a cast of stars from various musical genres and even a childrens' acting company. From a timbero's perspective some of the highlights were Clave y Guaguancó and of course Los Van Van, who closed the event with the song "Dicha Grande". Other performances that particularly struck me were the accoustic offerings of trovadores Eduardo Sosa, Leonardo Garcia and Polito Ibañez. Buena Fe guitarrist Dairon Lobaina and singer Javier Milanes performed a beautiful ballad dedicated to mothers and D'CoraSon will have another hit on their hands with the piece they have written for the Martí album.

Click here for more on the concert, including an interview with Israel Rojas and video of Buena Fe and Los Van Van.

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 18:40:52 -0500
Me Dicen Cuba Official Video

For months DJs and fans have been uploading videos of Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera performing their 2013 hit "Me Dicen Cuba", only to be forced to remove them. Finally the official video is up and it will hopefully be there to stay!

What can I say about this song? It is another brilliant Alexander Abreu lyric and in my opinion "Me Dicen Cuba" is the new timba anthem for Cuba. The video is a montage of everday scenes of everyday Cubans. It is the product of collaboration between EGREM , the José Martí Cultural Center and the ICAIC. I will be surprised if some tour agency doesn't pick this up as part of an ad campaign! Enjoy!

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 10:19:49 -0500
Afro-Cuban Grammy Gold - 2014 Awards Update Pacific Mambo Orchestra wins 2014 Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album

First thing to say about the Grammy Award Show is that experiencing the event live is very different than watching it on TV. This year things really got started when Robin Thicke joined classic rock band Chicago for some powerful showmanship and HORNS! Real live music finally brought a sense of satisfaction. The sound quality was really good, pleasant yet powerful without being harsh. What you would expect from the music industry's top show. They got that right. 

On the Cuban music front... members of the San Francisco based, 19-piece Latin big band the PACIFIC MAMBO ORCHESTRA are still pinching themselves after defeating Salsa icons Marc Anthony and Sergio George - as well as Colombian pop star Carlos Vives - by taking the 2014 Best Tropical Latin Album Award. It was an honor for these independents to be included, but after this win there will be plenty of head scratching over at Sony Music Latin and Sergio's camp. You can read a review of their well-crafted, self-titled debut release here. For many then, the PMO pulled off something truly unique and special. The Mambo is back for real with their full, rich sound and clever arrangements. It seems they couldn't set the bar any higher for themselves. It will interesting to see how the Pacific Mambo Orchestra follows this up.

Pacific Mambo Orchestra wins 2014 Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin AlbumIn related news, La Santa Cecilia, a Los Angeles based rock / alternative band that mixes boleros, cumbia, bossa nova and Cuban music won for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album. LSC is signed to Universal Music Latino. Their winning album is called "Treinta Días" (30 Days). 

The independent, Brazilian music release "Song For Maura" from Trio Corrente (piano - bass - drums) and Cuban clarinetist / saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera won for Best Latin Jazz Album. 

Pacific Mambo Orchestra wins 2014 Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album

Also worth mentioning is the Clavo Records release "Pensamientos for Solo Alto Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra", which won for Best Instrumental Composition (the late Clare Fischer composer, Clare Fischer Orchestra performing).  Clare Fischer composed the famous Latin Jazz standard "Morning". Clare's son claimed the award and in his moving speech mentioned that signing an acceptance for a Grammy Award was the last document his father ever signed. 

Here are some selected PMO photos from the Nominee celebration, Grammy pre-telecast & telecast. 

Pacific Mambo Orchestra wins 2014 Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album

Pacific Mambo Orchestra wins 2014 Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album

Pacific Mambo Orchestra wins 2014 Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 04:32:07 -0500
Rebel Tumbao

Click here for Peter Maiden's review of the new Rebel Tumbao CD featuring José Claussell. 

"Rebel Tumbao is a revelation. It is many things: it is perhaps the most successful album meshing Afro-Cuban and Reggae music to date; it is an exceptional example of deeply felt spiritual and political lyrics; and, in the tradition of Gil Scott-Heron, it has jazz roots and scorching spoken word." - Peter Maiden 

Tue, 21 Jan 2014 01:30:01 -0500
New Releases & Reviews ENGLISH: In December 2013, Mezcla unveiled a new  DVD of a live performance that included many of the best Jazz artists in Havana.   You might not be able to obtain a copy of this yet, but watch for it - it is phenomenal, and you can read our review here.    Incidentally, Mezcla is also in the process of finalizing a CD of last year's live performance at Yoshi's and has plans to tour the US again later this year.   

  En diciembre de 2013, Mezcla reveló un nuevo DVD de un concierto en vivo que incluía muchos de los mejores artistas de Jazz en La Habana.  Puede que no sea capaz de obtener una copia de esto todavía, pero mantenga los ojos abiertos  - es fenomenal, y puede leer nuestra reseña aquí. Por cierto, Mezcla también está en el proceso de finalización de un CD del concierto en vivo en Yoshi's en 2013 y tiene planes de montar una gira por EE.UU. de nuevo a finales de este año. 

ENGLISH: Omar Sosa just released a new solo piano CD, Senses. This is a very contemplative recording, and you can read our review here.   It isn't classical music but may appeal to listeners who enjoy that genre as well.  Omar has also been performing live with an aggregation called The New AfroCuban Quartet, which includes Childo Tomas, Ernesto Simpson and Leandro Saint-Hill.   A studio recording is expected in the next several months. 

ESPAÑOL: Omar Sosa  acaba de lanzar un nuevo CD de piano solo, Senses.   Es un fonograma muy contemplativa, y puede leer nuestra reseña aquí. No es la música clásica, pero puede apelar a los oyentes que disfrutan de ese género también. Además, Omar ha estado tocando en vivo con una agregación llamada The New AfroCuban Quartet, que incluye Childo Tomas, Ernesto Simpson y Leandro Saint-Hill.  Una grabación en el estudio se espera en los próximos meses. 

New reviews:   More than a dozen new CD and DVD reviews of Cuban recordings have been published this month in our Reviews section this month with more to come.   These include traditional, Jazz and Timba recordings. 

Nuevas reseñas:   Más de una docena de nuevas reseñas de CDs y DVDs cubanos se han publicado este mes en nuestra sección Reseñas con más por venir.  Estos incluyen grabaciones tradicionales, Jazz y Timba. 


Fri, 17 Jan 2014 12:02:26 -0500
Miriam Ramos To Perform in Miami - Ernesto Vega To Perform in Houston ENGLISH: Cubadisco 2013 Grand Prize winner and Latin GRAMMY nominee (also 2013) Miriam Ramos will be performing at the Miami Dade County Auditorium on January 18 and 19,   Also performing in this concert will be pianist Ulises Hernández.   Miriam will be singing selections from her award-winning trilogy La Canción Cubana (you can read our review here) and will be accompanied by an excellent pianist from that project, Rolando Luna. For more information and to purchase tickets, see the Fundarte web page for the event.  
ESPAÑOL: Miriam Ramos, ganadora del Gran Premio de Cubadisco 2013 y nominado al Latin GRAMMY (también 2013) cantará en el Miami Dade County Auditorium el 18 y el 19 de enero. También actuará en este concierto será el pianista Ulises Hernández.  Miriam estará cantando selecciones de su galardonada trilogía La Canción Cubana (puede leer nuestra reseña aquí) y estará acompañado por un excelente pianista de ese proyecto, Rolando Luna. Para más información y para compra boletos, visite la página web de Fundarte sobre el evento.

ENGLISH: On January 23, Cuban Jazz clarinet wizard and composer Ernesto Vega will be performing at the VIP Preview for the Trinity Jazz Festival in Houston,Texas. His debut release Venir al Mundo won Cubadisco awards for Jazz and Design in 2009 along with being nominated in the Ópera Prima (Best New Artist) and Liner Notes categories.   (You can read our review here.)  Ernesto recently performed at special event at the JEN (Jazz Education Network) conference in Dallas,  and we expect to see and hear a lot more about him in the future, especially since he is expected to release a new recording with Harold López-Nussa later this year.  For more information, see the Trinity Jazz Festival website
ESPAÑOL:  El 23 de enero,  mago cubano de clarinete Jazz  y compositor Ernesto Vega tocará en el VIP Prevista del Trinity Jazz Festival en Houston, Texas.   Su album debut Venir al Mundo ganó premios Cubadisco en las categorias Jazz y Diseño en 2009 junto con haber sido nominado en las categorias Ópera Prima (Mejor Artista Nuevo) y  notas discográficas. (Puede leer nuestra reseña aquí.)  Ernesto tocó recentemiente para un evento especial en la conferencia JEN (Jazz Education Network) en Dallas, y esperamos ver y escuchar mucho más sobre él en el futuro, sobre todo porque se espera que lanzará un nuevo fonograma con Harold López-Nussa más adelante este año. Para más información, visite el sitio web del Trinity Jazz Festival.

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 04:07:49 -0500
New Group LA TEMATI-K Releases Single and EPK Sebastian Natal (piano) and Jhair Sala (percussion - of Pedrito Martínez fame) are making waves with their new, New York-based band LA TEMATI-K and their first single "Vuelve A Mi", which is currently #1 on our RADIO TIMBA player.

Also, Martin Cohen a.k.a congahead has released their EPK so you can meet the band and get to know them better. Shout out to salsero / engineer Willie Torres! Check it out.

Wed, 08 Jan 2014 14:24:29 -0500
Big Noise From Havana: ENGLISH: Anyone who despairs about the current state of Jazz in the world need only look to Havana, Cuba to find solace.  We have written before about the musical renaissance currently underway among Cuban musicians living in New York, and Havana is simultaneously experiencing one of its own. This atmosphere of excitement and innovation was evident everywhere during Jazz Plaza 2013, the 29th International Jazz Festival in Havana.  You can read the rest of the article in English here...

ESPAÑOL: Cualquier persona que desespera por el estado actual del Jazz en el mundo sólo necesita mirar a La Habana para encontrar consuelo.  Hemos escrito antes sobre el renacimiento musical en curso entre los músicos cubanos que viven en Nueva York, y La Habana está experimentando lo suyo. Esta atmósfera de entusiasmo y la innovación era evidente en todas partes durante el Jazz Plaza 2013,  el 29º Festival Internacional de Jazz de La Habana.  Puede leer el resto del articulo aquí...

2013 Jazz Plaza (International Festival) - Havana - Full Report + Photo Galleries - Cuban Music News - Noticias de musica cubanaPhoto Gallery 1 - Havana Jazz Plaza International Festival

2013 Jazz Plaza (International Festival) - Havana - Full Report + Photo Galleries - Cuban Music News - Noticias de musica cubanaPhoto Gallery 2 - Havana Jazz Plaza International Festival

2013 Jazz Plaza (International Festival) - Havana - Full Report + Photo Galleries - Cuban Music News - Noticias de musica cubanaPhoto Gallery 3 - Havana Jazz Plaza International Festival

Sun, 05 Jan 2014 10:14:40 -0500
Nils Fischer & Timbazo Nils Fischer & TimbazoNils Fischer with Timbazo singers
Alberto Caicedo, Fabian Nodarse "Huracán" & Nando Vanin

The second installment of our Eurotimba 2014 series is all about the new project by Nils Fischer & Timbazo. Following up their highly acclaimed debut CD ¡Gracias Joe Cuba!, Nils Fischer has brought together an amazing constellation of artists to do something new. Although he has not revealed the title of the new album to us, Nils did tell us that it will contain original material as well as some existing material á la Timbazo.  Check out the guest list: Lucrecia, Calixto Oviedo, Alexander Abreu, José Luis Quintana ‘Changuito’, Carlos Del Puerto, Julito Padrón, Amik Guerra, Jan Hartong, Ernesto Paz, Bart Platteau and Volkan Bayda.

Below is a promo video with clips of Timbazo and the recording sessions. Timbazo is doing something a little different with this album. In order to fund the mixing, mastering and artwork for the album, They have set up a crowdfunding site. I asked him about this.

Crowd funding is increasingly common in the arts. What made you decide to take the step to use crowd funding?

I got the recordings together by emptying my own wallet, and I appreciate a lot the patient and passionate help of my friend, piano/arranging/soundtech-genius Marc Bischoff who also has a recording studio. The album is almost ready to rock right now, recordings are done. A big part of the production however will be the mix, the mastering, the rights, the artwork, promotion, shipping and so on. 

All that will still cost a lot of money. Nowadays (the CD market is down) you can't earn back your investments by selling the product, to break even is impossible. Besides that, basically all work is for free, too - the problem is that we love music... before I start crying, that's how I discovered crowd-funding which is great, it brings a positive side to all this. Everybody can become a part of the production,  you can already buy the new CD in advance so that we can bring it out. You can even pledge more and there are great rewards for those who do, it is all on the website www.voordekunst.nl. If we don't succeed, all money goes directly back to the pledgers.

The site is in Dutch, but there's a full English translation on my site at voordekunst. I also love to receive emails about it to info@nilsfischer.com

By the way: All who participate will be mentioned in the liner notes ;) Dear timberas & timberos: once more, we do need you to bring our music to you! Please check the possibilities here. Our deadline is 01. of March 2014. ¡Gracias mil!

Click here to read the full interview including videos and anecdotes from the recording sessions.

Timbazo is:
Nils Fischer - leader, congas, bongos, batá & other percussion
Fabian Nodarse “Huracán”- vocals
Alberto Caicedo - vocals
Nando Vanin - vocals
Marc Bischoff - md, grand piano, keyboard & Rhodes
Adinda Meertins - bass
Armando Vidal - drums, timbales
Wigbert Martina – bongos
Joe Rivera - trumpet
Alex Rodriguez  - trumpet
David Rothschild - trombone
Frans Cornelissen – trombone

Mon, 30 Dec 2013 14:09:12 -0500
Coming in 2014: Jazz Plaza, Cubadisco and much more...

Bill Tilford went to Havana with a licensed cultural/educational "people to people" group trip organized by Plaza Cuba this month, and Jazz Plaza, the great Jazz festival in Havana, was going on at night during the trip.  Plaza Cuba's trips are a great way to visit Cuba legally in a structured, culturally-oriented setting, and while there, he also obtained a lot of information and recordings. Next month, you will see impressions (with photos) of Jazz Plaza, more information about the music industry in Cuba, more about Cubadisco (Cuba's music awards program and festival) and many, many CD reviews.   In the meantime, Happy New Year!

Bill Tilford fue a La Habana este mes con una licencia culturales / educativos "pueblo a pueblo" viaje en grupo organizado por Plaza Cuba, y Jazz Plaza, el gran festival de Jazz en La Habana, estaba pasando en la noche durante este viaje.  Viajar con Plaza Cuba es un gran manera de visitar Cuba legalmente en un ambiente estructurado y orientado culturalmente, y mientras allí, él obtuvó también un montón de información y grabaciones.  Proximo mes, ustedes verán unas impresiones (con fotos) de Jazz Plaza, más información acerca de la industría de la música en Cuba, más acerca de Cubadisco (el programa y feria de premios de la música en Cuba) y muchísimas reseñas de CDs.  Mientras tanto, ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! 

Sun, 29 Dec 2013 17:46:50 -0500

Get ready, because European Timberos are coming out strong in 2014! First up is a promo with a medley of some of the songs from the soon-to-be-released Soneros All Stars production, "Lolo". I can't give you an exact release date yet, but I dare to say that "Lolo" will be part of the Timbero Summer 2014 soundtrack of your lives. Just check out the lead vocalists: Emilio "El Niño" Frias, Pascual "Sinsonte" Matos, Sixto "El Indio" Llorente, José Antonio "Pepitín" Rodriguez, Lesmer Solenzar and Pedro "El Nene" Lugo. Arrangements are by Jan "Yanesito" Bogdan who also plays tres and bass on the CD and did the production and mixing at Tres N'Bass Studios. The end of the promo provides the full list of credits. So enjoy the promo and stay tuned for an interview with Yanesito and more in my continuing series on Eurotimba 2014!

Fri, 27 Dec 2013 15:56:10 -0500
Calixto Oviedo & Afro Latin Ensemble @CSULA Calixto Oviedo @CSULA

Begin the new year by expanding your percussion skills! In January 2014, Calixto Oviedo will be teaching a series of Masters Classes at California State University. On January 26th at 7:30pm Calixto and the Afro Latin Ensemble will offer a fund-raising concert with special guest stars Yosmel Montejo (bass) and Josiel Pérez (trumpet). Tickets are $15-$20. You can keep up with Calixto at CSULA via Facebook.

Thu, 19 Dec 2013 04:13:21 -0500
Yosvany Terry and the Bohemian Trio

Click here for Tom Ehrlich's new gallery on Yosvany Terry's Bohemian Trio concert in NY.

And don't forget Melón-Branly-del Puerto at Yoshi's SF Monday night.

Sun, 15 Dec 2013 00:08:01 -0500
Melón • del Puerto • Branly The Pedrito Martínez Group concert at Kuumbwa last night was the best I've heard them - I keep waiting to come down to earth but every time I hear this band I'm further convinced that nothing else comes remotely close in terms of crystalizing and extending all of the innovations of the timba era. It's to the point that it's not timba anymore - it's the next generation of Cuban musical genius. It would need its own genre name except that no one else can play like this. Local hero Erick Barbería sat in twice and some truly amazing sparks flew. If you're in LA, trust me - you need to drop everything and go to The Echo on Thursday night. The opening act is Changüí del Guaso - led by changüisero extraordinaire and friend of timba.com Gabriel García .

Meanwhile, back en la Bahía - Melón will be here Monday night with Jimmy Branly and Carlitos del Puerto for a historic "Havana Reunion" show at Yoshi's SF - see below. [Kevin Moore]

Havana Reunion at Yoshi's SF Monday, Dec. 16

This trio reunites three of the pivotal titans of the timba era who left the island and went on to conquer la Yuma as jazzistas: 

Iván "Melón" Lewis - arguably the greatest timba pianist based on his years with Issac Delgado - now tours regularly with megastar Buika (they play SF JAZZ from Dec. 12-15), won the Cubadisco award for his Latin jazz CD/DVD Travesía, and is of course the subject of four volumes of Beyond Salsa Piano.

Carlitos del Puerto, son of the Irakere founder, has played with nearly everyone: Chick Corea, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder ... you get the idea.

Jimmy Branly played with Melón in Issac's band. Then, when Calixto Oviedo left for Europe, he took over as NG La Banda's drummer and is featured in Drumset Artists of Cuba by Chuck Silverman. Since moving to LA he's played with the likes of The Yellowjackets, Bryan Lynch, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, Lyle Mays, Flora Purim, Tom Scott, Celia Cruz ... it would be easier to list those he hasn't played with.

More important than their success playing other types of music is the chemistry and cubanismo they can bring to the table when they're only in each others' company and have no need to rein in their creativity. I've heard Jimmy and Melón together in LA (and of course you can hear them on Issac's El año que viene), and Jimmy and Carlitos play together on many albums, but this will be the first time all three have played together since leaving Cuba. You can expect the kind of "Cuban ESP" produced by their shared experience in the one of the most explosive eras in Latin music history. See you there. [Kevin Moore]

Tue, 10 Dec 2013 18:55:39 -0500
Pedrito Martínez Group

PMG played even better than last time to a packed house at SFJAZZ - and signed copies of their new CD. Tonight they'll be at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, CA. See you there! [Kevin Moore]

Mon, 09 Dec 2013 06:07:52 -0500
Latin Jazz Nominees in the 56th GRAMMY® Awards Musicians born in Cuba figure prominently in four of the five nominees in the Latin Jazz category of the 56th GRAMMY® Awards, and two of the nominees (Yo by Roberto Fonseca and La noche más Larga by Buika) are good illustrations of why it can be a challenge to assign a genre to some of the best new music being made today.   Here are the nominees in alphabetical order by title:

Eggn by Omar Sosa.  Omar was born in Cuba and is now based in Spain.This recording's origins are in a commission from the Barcelona Jazz Festival.
You can read our review in English here

La noche más larga by Buika.  Although Buika herself was born in Mallorca and is still based in Spain, her key collaborators (including Musical Director Ivan Melón Lewis) have usually been Cuban in recent years. 
You can read our review in English here
Se puede leer nuestra reseña en español aquí 

Latin Jazz - Jazz Latin by the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet.  This quintet is based in the San Francisco Bay Area,   This writer admits that he didn't see this one coming, but it's a quality album from a bandleader who was already a five-time GRAMMY® nominee. 
Not yet reviewed.

Song For Maura by Paquito d'Rivera.  Born in Cuba and now based in the United States, Paquito needs no introduction, and he now works in multiple styles. This time, he teamed up with Brasil's Trio Corriente for a Brasilian Jazz recording. 
Not yet reviewed. 

Yo by Roberto Fonseca.  Roberto was born and is still based in Cuba, and the group toured the United States earlier this year, electrifying audiences wherever they went. This recording won the Cubadisco Award in the Fusion category (it was also nominated in Jazz) earlier this year.
You can read our review in English here 
Se puede leer nuestra reseña en español aquí

Finally, one of the recordings that this writer had hoped would make the cut was Expectativas, the second recording by Manuel Valera and the New Cuban Express.  It didn't, but a video from the recording session was recently published on YouTube and is worth sharing: 

Sun, 08 Dec 2013 10:54:22 -0500
Azúcar Negra in Lima Leonel Limonta & Anzúcar Negar in Peru

Leonel Limonta & Azúcar Negra are on tour in Lima and tonight they will play at Budu and at La Makumba in a concert also featuring Team Salsa, La Timba Criolla, Michel Maza & Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe. If you are in Lima, try to catch them at one of their upcoming concerts. Check back with us as we will be updating the Azúcar Negra tours page as more dates are confirmed.
Dec. 7 - Voodoo
Dec. 7 - La Makumba
Dec. 13 - Hipnotic
Dec. 15 - Salsa King
Dec. 24  - La Makumba
Dec. 31 - Salsa King

If you live in Europe, Azúcar Negra will be back during March/April 2014. In the meantime here is their latest video, the title track from the new CD "A bailar con tacones". 

Sat, 07 Dec 2013 12:18:19 -0500
Giraldo Piloto y Klímax Europe 2014 Giraldo Piloto y Klímax Giraldo Piloto & Klímax

Following up on their brilliant 2012 CD "Todo está bien" (read Bill's review here) , Giraldo Piloto & Klímax are back with a new video, new songs and concerts in Peru and Europe. Piloto took a moment to tell us about the new songs, the next CD and their plans for 2014, which include the Latin Festivalen in Norway! Read his comments below and then check out the new video, which is another hit for the band! Click here for the tours page, which will be updated soon with more concert dates.

Can you tell us about the new video "Si te descuidas"?

In the new video by Klímax we are presenting the first single from the group's new CD that will be ready in mid-2014, and we are introducing the new singers on coros, Raimel and Victor Andy. The composer is Noel Díaz Cruz and the arranger is Yusef Díaz. We already have other songs that we are presenting in our concerts and their titles are: “La ternerita” and “Aquí estoy”. They have all been popular with the dancers.

Plans for2014?

On the 15th of this month will be participating in a concert in Lima, Peru with Tania Pantoja and Ángel Bonne, and for 2014 we will have several presentations in Scandinavia, primarily in Norway from January 24 until February 2. In March I will do various collaborations and hold masters classes in the USA via the company Lucumi Prods of Mrs. Peggy Jo Oliva, who will in turn organize a tour for June with the whole band for the USA.

Wed, 04 Dec 2013 09:30:38 -0500
Una Carta Abierta a Juan Formell

(Source of photo: EGREM's Facebook page)

Felicitaciones a Juan Formell por su Premio a la Excelencia Musical de la Academia Latina de la Grabación®!   Se puede leer más aquí...

Congratulations to Juan Formell for his Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Recording Academy®!   You can read more here...

Tue, 26 Nov 2013 18:58:47 -0500
Two New Tom Ehrlich Galleries Tom has been busy in NY, catching two great pianists - Osmany Paredes at the Jazz Gallery and Manuel Valera at the Jazz Standard. Here are their personal websites:

Manuel Valera home page

Osmany Paredes home page

Manuel Valera - photo by Tom Ehrlich

Osmany Paredes, Yunior Terry - photo by Tom Ehrlich

Tue, 26 Nov 2013 16:07:52 -0500
Peter Maiden's Septeto Nacional Gallery

Septeto Nacional has completed another great Northern Californian tour. Pete Maiden reports.

Sun, 24 Nov 2013 17:12:45 -0500
Rebel Tumbao José Claussell - photo by Tom Ehrlich

Tom heard Rebel Tumbao at the Drom and loved them. Here's his gallery and a link to the Rebel Tumbao  site.

Thu, 21 Nov 2013 20:22:08 -0500
One NYC Show Only! CHARANGA HABANERA this Saturday at SOBs In support of their new release "Se sufre pero se goza", David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera will play one show, this Saturday, in New York. So far it’s been a stellar year for La Charanga. Jay Z and Beyonce personally requested a “private” concert during their trip to Havana, which was a huge success and widely reported. They have announced the return of renown drum player and singer, Yulien Oviedo, to the group. 

David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera
Saturday, Nov 23, 2013 9:00 PM EST (7:00 PM Doors)
S.O.B.'s 204 Varick St, New York, NY 10014 - (212) 243-4940

They will also perform in various cities across the country. Click here for the list of tour dates.

DAVID CALZADO & su CHARANGA HABANERA Saturday,  Nov 23 2013 7:00PM doors / 9:00PM Sharp show $30.00 in advance  (age 21+)

Meanwhile on the west coast, the full photo gallery (click here or on any of the photos) for the Pacific Mambo Orchestra at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore is now up. THE MAMBO LIVES!!!

Pacific Mambo Orchestra 2013 USA TOUR feat. Tito Puente Jr.with special guests Marlow Rosado and Willy Torres - Livermore Bankhead Theater - November 13, 2013PMO co-leader Steffen Kuehn steps up to deliver a burning trumpet solo.
*right click and select open "image in new tab" to view in a larger size

Pacific Mambo Orchestra 2013 USA TOUR feat. Tito Puente Jr.
with special guests Marlow Rosado and Willy Torres
Livermore Bankhead Theater - November 13, 2013
Photos by Ben Torres & Michael Lazarus

Pacific Mambo Orchestra 2013 USA TOUR feat. Tito Puente Jr.with special guests Marlow Rosado and Willy Torres - Livermore Bankhead Theater - November 13, 2013Tito Puente Jr. front and center with Willy Torres on bongó and Braulio Barrera on coro.
*right click and select open "image in new tab" to view in a larger size

Thu, 21 Nov 2013 04:23:41 -0500
Joaquín Pozo Photos

Here's Tom's latest gallery from Joe's Pub in New York. It turns out to be an urban legend that Joaquín Pozo is related to Chano Pozo - he's not (and we're fixing this at the LPM link). In fact, his famous relative is Jorge Pozo, the great percussionist and composer/arranger for Tata Güines and others.

Meanwhile, back in the Bay Area, Septeto Nacional will be in Santa Cruz tomorrow, Wednesday, and at Yoshi's SF on Thursday and Friday. They've sold out on previous tours so get your tickets in advance.

Book News: Up to my neck in Beyond Salsa Bass, Volume 3: Salsa, Songo and The Roots of Latin Jazz. Revelation of the week: the introduction of Van Van's Aquí el que baila gana, including its seminal use of the famous timba presión kick drum figure, is actually a paraphrase of Cortijo's 1960 classic Oriza (qué lo que pasa aquí? eh? qué lo que pasa aquí?). Rafael Cortijo y su Combo - especially from the late 1950s, is well worth a trip down memory lane. [Kevin Moore]

Tue, 19 Nov 2013 17:40:42 -0500
Orquesta Pomo Releases "Mi Nena"

Orquesta Pomo has released their new single "Mi Nena" for free download at Noise Trade until November 19th. Don't miss out! From the 20th, the single will be available at iTunes and other digital retailers.

Founded in 2011 by Jonas Pomo and Cecilia Ferrer, Orquesta Pomo is Stockholm's latest contribution to the world of timba. The band plays mainly original material composed and arranged by Cecilia and Jonas. Their style is a mix of timba with soul, jazz and pop also blending with salsa from Colombia and Puerto Rico. Lead vocals on "Mi Nena" are by guest artist Thomas de Paula Eby, lead singer of Calle Real. Check it out and stay tuned for the video which is scheduled for release soon!

Sun, 17 Nov 2013 11:35:18 -0500
Charanga Habanera plays Latin Grammy Street Party in Miami *The PMO Show is today at 7:30. Come on out Bay Area casineros and dancers....and represent! BankHead Theater in Livermore (click here for tickets).

The PACIFIC MAMBO ORCHESTRA comes close to home mid-way through their first national tour, playing the BankHead Theater in Livermore on Wednesday, November 13th (click here for tickets). Their show features Tito Puente Jr,  2013 Tropical Latin album Grammy Winner Marlow Rosado and ex-Spanish Harlem Orchestra singer Willy Torres . There were 1200 strong at their November 1st show  in Albuquerque New Mexico's Popejoy Hall. Come on out Bay Area people and represent! 

Pacific Mambo Orchestra feat. Tito Puente Jr. at the BankHead Theater in Livermore - Cuban Music News - Noticias de musica cubana

TIMBA.com's Chicago correspondent Bill Tilford recently posted a live concert review of the October 26 PMO show in Gary, Indiana. You can check that out here . Go PMO!!

A few days ago it was announced that David Calzado y La CHARANGA HABANERA  will be performing at the Latin Grammy Street Party in Miami on Sunday, November 6, 2013. Other artists include  Leslie Cartaya, Kat Dahlia, Oscar D'Leon , Domino Saints, Periko & Jessi León, Rigu, and Writesounds. 

Charanga Habanera plays Latin Grammy Street Party in Miami - Cuban Music News - Noticias de música cubana

Then event will take place in Hialeah on West 16th Avenue between 37th & 42nd St . Great to hear some TIMBA in the Latin Grammy Street Party program!  It's about time already.

Wed, 13 Nov 2013 16:27:00 -0500
SE SUFRE PERO SE GOZA! David Calzado y sy=u Charanga Habanera - Se sufra pero se goza "Se sufre pero se goza" Charanga Habanera 2013

On the eve of the US tour by David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera, EGREM has announced the release of the new CD "Se sufre pero se goza". The official release will take place at the November 16th concert @La Covacha in Miami, where Blue Night Entertainment will have 500 CDs for sale to concert attendees. If you can't make any of the concerts, EGREM says the CD will be available for digital download next week.

The arrival of La Charanga to the US was delayed due to the overload of work at the American Interests Section. Although the visas were issued, the passports didn't get returned to the band until November 7th. The November 8th concert in Washington has been rescheduled for November 22nd and the band will arrive today for the Latin Grammys concert. Click here to read more of the details directly from the press release by David Calzado.

La Charanga will perform 14 concerts during the tour. Click here for the list of concert dates . Below is a photo of the current singer line-up complete with nicknames so you can familiarize yourself with any changes since last you saw the band. A gozar!

La Charanga Habanera 2013 The Charanga Habanera singers. Photo courtesy of  EGREM 

Sat, 09 Nov 2013 03:31:39 -0500
Interview with Calle Real @ El Palacio Real Interview with Calle Real

Calle Real is hard at work writing and recording new songs as they prepare for a busy tour season in 2014. They are already booked to play at Rumba y Candela 4 in Strasbourg, France on February 14, 2014 and have plans for tours of the US and Argentina...more information is pending. 

In the meantime, on September 15, 2013 Calle Real performed in front of the Royal Palace in Stockholm at the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of King Carl XIV Gustav as Regent of Sweden. During the break between sets I took the opportunity to talk to Harry Wallin (drums/pailas), Gunnar "El Dony" Thullberg (piano) and Thomas de Paula Eby (lead vocals) about the concert, the tour of Peru and Chile and plans for the future. The video interview also includes clips from the concert where they performed two new songs "Hoah 2013 edition" and "Oye". There is also footage from Peru courtesy of Luis Ángel Gonzáles Taipe, Jesús Nimbona & Alberto Orbegoso. Audio from the Stockholm concert is by Francisco Hernández.

Mon, 04 Nov 2013 12:11:51 -0500
Manuel Valera & NCX (New Cuban Express) CD Release Party

Expectativas, the killer new album by Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express (aka NCX), has been out since September, and if you listen to any of the best Latin Jazz radio programs, you have probably already heard at least parts of it, but other touring obligations of the members (including Manuel's own time in India and Europe) have delayed the official CD release party until now.  The first New Cuban Express album brought home a GRAMMY nomination, and this one is as good or better,  If you have the opportunity to catch this performance, it is a don't miss.  The details:

Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express
November 6, 2013, 7:30pm & 9:30pm - Jazz Standard,  116 East 27 Street, NY, NY
Musicians:  Manuel Valera, piano and keyboards; Yosvany Terry, saxophones and checkere; Tom Guarna, guitar; John Benitez, bass; Paulo Stagnaro, percussion; Ludwig Afonso, drums

Sun, 03 Nov 2013 09:51:37 -0500
Havana D'Primera on Tour Alexander Abreu y Havana D'Primera in Stockholm

Last night I had the great pleasure of seeing Havana D'Primera in Stockholm. I haven't seen them live since 2010, so the anticipation was tremendous. Havana D'Primera is a band that appeals to dancers and musicians alike, and both groups were well represented at the concert, which was arranged by Club Mambo and El Barrio. A full report is coming but in the meantime, I want to urge you to find a concert near you. In 2013 Havana D'Primera has toured every continent with the exception of Africa and Antarctica. There is a reason for this exceptional popularity: their remarkable combination of first-class musicianship and heart.

There are seven dates remaining in the European Tour. Tonight they perform in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Click here for Havana D'Primera's full concert schedule to date. They return to Cuba November 12th and head to Venezuela November 13th where they will give three concerts before returning to Havana. If you are attending Baila en Cuba 2013, you will see Alexander and the guys on November 27th as part of the prodigious concert line-up.

Members of the "Swedish Timba Mafia" @ Havana D'Primera in Stockholm
Stockholm Timberos representing @ Havana D'Primera

Members of Calle Real, La Liga Habanera, Orquesta Pomo and La Jugada were there, as well as musicians from several other Stockholm timba groups.

Sat, 02 Nov 2013 12:16:20 -0400
Yosvany Terry y Los Parranderos

On the heels of his arará-jazz project, Yovany Terry has turned his attention to the Parrandas tradition of Remedios region of Cuba. He describes it as follows: "Parrandas is a remarkable, locale-specific cultural tradition that has survived the passage of time and the vast gulf of racial and social differences. “Las Noches de Parrandas” represents the marriage of two very different cultures that united to create a unique, important and enduring tradition. In the Parrandas, Spaniards and Africans gathered together to contribute their cultural and artistic energies and create an extraordinary synthesis transcending differences of race, social status, economics, religion and language." Click here for Tom Ehrlich's gallery.

Thu, 31 Oct 2013 19:08:51 -0400
The Arsenio Rodríguez Project José Mangual, Jr. - Yoshi's SF - photo by Tom Ehrlich

Tom Ehrlich files this photo-report from the recent SF appearance of the Arsenio Rodríguez Project. Stay tuned for news on a related tour featuring big band arrangements of Arsenio classics. Next up from Tom is coverage of Yosvany Terry y los Parranderos.

Tue, 29 Oct 2013 20:06:16 -0400
DALE LO QUE LLEVA Planet Records has just uploaded "Dale lo que lleva" to YouTube. It is the official video of the new single by Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor featuring world renowned Cuban dancer Maykel Fonts on vocals! The song in a nutshell is about the two Maykels, both of whom learned their art more or less on the street, rather than through the Cuban schools of the arts, and both of whom have gone on to international fame. It is a fun, dancable song even if neither of the Maykels is really a lead vocalist. The video is great fun with some footage of Maykel F trying to teach Maykel B som dance moves.

Currently Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor are in Peru for two weeks where they will have their official CD release for "A toda máquina" on October 30th at Drama. On November 3rd the band will do their first ever 2 hour concert in Peru at Guajiros Room in Tiro Libre. Click here for the full list of concet dates in Lima.

Dale lo que lleva

Tue, 29 Oct 2013 10:48:58 -0400
John Santos-Raúl González Rumba Report Tom files this special report on an event featuring John Santos and Raul Gonzalez Brito "Lali" from Havana, Cuba. It's Lali's first tour performing in the United States.

Sun, 27 Oct 2013 16:41:26 -0400
The Curuyé Report from LA One of our long-standing and most elusive goals at timba.com has been to find one or more great writers in every area with a strong Latin music scene. This month we've filled two of the top cities on our wish list: New York (Ian Stewart's Gotham Report) and Los Angeles (Kay Torres' Curuyé in LA). We're still looking for regularly reporting from Lima, Miami, and ... oh yeah, Havana.

Speaking of Havana, Bob Fernández talked to Pupy's conguero Duniesky Barretto, who confirmed that both Manolín and Issac both now have working bands in Havana. We reported last week that Manolín had been touring around the island with Pachito Alonso, but now he's played Casa de la Música under his own name. If Issac and el Médico recruit some young geniuses from la ENA start cranking out new material, the level of competition could rise exponentially. Keep your fingers crossed. In other news, two popular young singers, El Noro and El Niño, have left Pupy and Revé respectively to form their own bands and there's some hope that Pupy will finally tour the US again late this year. [Kevin Moore]

Sat, 26 Oct 2013 05:48:38 -0400
Grupo Contrabando - New TIMBA Videos - Havana D' Primera The Boyz from Belguim (via Cuba) Andrés (El Paisa) Fernández and Dennis Nicles of Grupo Contrabando just released the new video of their 2013 single FE CON BENDICIONES. The bassist Dennis also produced, recorded and mixed the tune. Keep the hits coming! 

Director del grupo de música cubana de Bélgica "Grupo Contrabando" -- Andrés Fernández Ordóñez -- y el bajista / ingeniero / productor Dennis Nicles presentan su nuevo sencillo "Fé Con Bendiciones" (canta Fernando Blanco Moya). 

Trombón: Andrés Fernández (Director)
Voz Principal: Fernando Blanco Moya
Piano: Thomas Bottcher
Congas: Amel Serra
Timbales: Gilberto Quevedo
Saxo Tenor: Ruben Valle
Coros: Victor Pedroso, Rubén Hernández, Andrés Fernández 
Bajo / Grabacion / Mezcla / Productor: Dennis Nicles Cobas
Masterización: Michael Lázarus de http://latinmusicmastering.com


Harder to pin down is the new video from Alexander Abreu y Havana D' Primera.. La Bailarina, as it keeps popping up on different youtube channels and various sites touting it as an exclusive. We are not sure if this is the official channel but we would definitely like to know when it's really supposed to be hosted. In any case we hope this is it! If it is taken down please reach out to us in the comments section with the new YouTube channel location. Gracias.

Alexander Abreu y Havana D'Primera
Bailarinas: Lilianis Vázquez, Lidia Llanes, Lisandra Marín, Laurent Flores, Gretel Sánchez y Yusleivy (Yuyú) Vega
Dirección: Joseph Ros
Producción: Tania Menéndez

Fri, 25 Oct 2013 03:12:03 -0400
Beyond Salsa Bass V2 Published

Paperback Book - eBook - Audio Files 

A free audio download is coming soon. This one has four major sections: a theoretical course on creating the rhythmic breaks that Arsenio called cierres, a massive 120-page survey of Arsenio's Cuban recordings, a chapter on Cachao López and a chapter called "The Golden Age" that provides bass tumbaos for each piano tumbao of Beyond Salsa Piano Vol. 2. I'm already about halfway through Volume 3: Salsa, Songo and The Roots of Latin Jazz.

Also new to LatinPulseMusic is a new book by one of my favorite writers, Chuck Silverman. Among many other publications, Chuck wrote the sublime "The Funkmasters" on the rhythm sections of James Brown, one of the greatest method books ever published in my humble opinion. His new book is called The Latin Rudiments. [Kevin Moore]

Thu, 24 Oct 2013 05:37:38 -0400
Orquesta Pomo - Mi Nena Good news just keeps on coming out of Stockholm! Orquesta Pomo will be releasing their new single "Mi Nena" on November 15th. The song was composed and produced by pianist and bandleader Jonas Pomo and features Thomas Eby, known to timberos as the voice of Calle Real, on lead vocals. "Mi Nena" is a reflection of the band's sello of mixing salsa and timba with soul and jazz to create a very modern groove with an appeal that goes beyond the usual salsa-dancing public. Distributed by Soneros Records, "Mi Nena" will be available at all the major digital outlets on November 15th and the video will debut in early December. In the meantime here is an all-too-short teaser to give you an idea of what's coming! You can keep up with Orquesta Pomo by "liking" their official Facebook page.

Tue, 22 Oct 2013 14:48:07 -0400
Tom's Arsenio Rodríguez Project Gallery 1                  Perico Hernández and Nelson González - photo by Tom Ehrlich

Tom's first gallery covers the rehearsal at Lennon Studio, San Francisco. Next up, the concert at Yoshi's SF. 

Also, various updates to Peter's Maiden's section to reflect the major updates to his home site.

Tue, 22 Oct 2013 03:24:31 -0400
Dayramir González at SOB's

Concert review by Ian Stewart and photos by Darwin Noguera.

Tue, 22 Oct 2013 03:02:39 -0400
Peter Maiden's New Site Launched Peter finally put the finishing touches on his new site and it was worth the wait - historic artists like Celia Cruz and Cachao as well as all the latest timberos. Check it out!

Chocolate Armenteros

Mon, 21 Oct 2013 14:37:43 -0400
Maykel Blanco in Lima Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor en Lima

On Sunday, November 3 Guajiros Room will present an exclusive two-hour concert with Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor! Lima is famous for it's impressive night life where clubs present three or four bands a per night and each band plays one club for an hour before moving on to another club. But the concert at Guajiros Room is something new! Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor will perform two one-hour sets and this will be an exclusive performance! 

The event is a matinee that will run from 3pm to 12am, with DJ Napa and Cato Timba DJ spinning, an animation by "El Team Black" - Martin Levalle & Muchi Vallumbrosio and three opening acts each performing for one hour: 4:30-5:30 Ángel Ramírez & El Tren Bala, 6:00-7:00 Robert Armas & Los Conquistadores de la Salsa and 7:30-8:30 Alaín Almeida & La Constalación de Cuba. At 9:00pm Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor will take the stage performing until 10:pm and followed by a second set from 10:30-11:30. It will be an unforgettable night for dancers!

The organizers advise fans to be on time! To manage the event they will be following the schedule closely. You can purchase tickets in advance starting on Wednesday the 23rd S/.15 or at the door S/.20. Don't miss this historic chance to see Salsa Mayor A Toda Máquina for 2 full hours! And stay tuned for a report from Lima including HD video!

For more information
David Gonzáles: 956253094
Hernan Vivanco: 989419456
Cato Timba DJ: 946043013

Mon, 21 Oct 2013 14:13:54 -0400
Meet Gema Corredera In January 2013, Cubana Jazz vocalist Gema Corredera, currently a resident of Miami,  released a fine new album, Derramando Luz, that is winding its way through the early round of the 56th GRAMMY Awards process.  We'll be reviewing it soon, especially since Gema is backed by some familiar names including Yosvany Terry (who is Music Director for the project and co-produced), Yunior Terry, Manuel Valera, Osmany Paredes, Alfredo Chacón and Obed Calvaré.  Here is a video clip about the release:

Speaking of Yosvany Terry, congratulations Yos for being awarded the Cintas Fellowship 2013 for composers!  More about this in our Movimiento en Miami report, which also features a guest article by Eva Silot Bravo about Danay Suárez this week.  

Sun, 20 Oct 2013 12:54:19 -0400
Manolín Announces His Return to Cuba Pachito Alonso & Manolín "El Médico de la Salsa"Pachito Alonso & Manolín "El Médico de la Salsa"

Manolín and Pachito Alonso are rehearsing together for a national tour of Cuba that begins at Teatro Nacional in Havana on November 9th. They took time to give an interview to the online magazine OnCuba in which Manolín announced his intention to move back to Cuba "forever". For now he will be performing with Pachito Alonso's band, doing a repertoire heavy on Manolín's songs. When the Cuban national tour ends they plan to take the tour international. If you read Spanish, click here for the interview with Pachito and Manolín. If you don't read Spanish do not despair! OnCuba also has an English site, but it usually is a few days behind the Spanish version as the articles are being translated. So check back with them in a couple of days.

This is the answer to many a timbero's prayers! Many people believe that it was Manolín's incredible popularity and his gift for lyrics and for putting together a stellar group of musicians that led to the great burst of creativity in Havana at the end of the 90s. When Manolín left Havana to begin what ended up being a 12-year period in Miami, suddenly the competitiveness decreased and the push for new innovations with it. Only time will tell if Manolín's return will spark a renaissance in a timba scene that has been moving more into reggaeton fusions and simpler pop-inspired arrangements. Will the good natured rivalry between Manolín and Paulo FG flare up again? Will Alexander Abreu find himself challenged in his current role as the most popular singer/composer in Havana? We all wait with excitement to see what develops!


Fri, 18 Oct 2013 15:45:28 -0400
Direct from Cuba: Grupo CANELA performance series in Miami All female (save for saxophonist Jesús Fuentes) Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz & Salsa Grupo CANELA is set to perform a series of concerts in Miami next month. Somehow this dynamic and versatile band has managed to stay off the radar of presenters in the United States until now. Founded in 1989 by general director Zoe Fuentes Aldama, the members are clasically-trained graduates of various universities in Cuba who also play Latin Jazz, Salsa, Son, Timba, Zouk, Reggae and other Caribbean styles.  They have performed extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America  and have shared the stage with artists such as Chucho Valdés, Steve Turre, Phil Collins, Herbie Hancock, Los Papines, Miriam Makeba, Los Comodores, Danilo Pérez, David Sánchez, Michael Brecker, Cesaria Evora, Alfredo de la Fe and Orquesta Aragón among many others. 

"CUBAOCHO" -- Dia: 08 de November ( Friday ) -- Hora: 9:30 PM
*Ph: 305 389 8437 / 305 285 / 5880
Direccion: 1465 SW 8St. Cor. 15 St.Miami , Fl 33135
E-mail: robertoramos@cubaocho.com

DISCOTECA "ACHE SUPER CLUB" -- Dia: 09 & 30 November, 2013 -- Hora: 10.00 PM
Ph: 786-255-8356 / 786-256-0527
Direccion: 3600 SW 8va St. Miami, FL 33134
E-mail: glez6541@gmail.com

"CASA VIEJA RESTAURANT-BAR" -- Fecha: 10 November ( Sunday ) -- Hora: 11 :00 pm
Ph: 305-386 6638
Direccion: 103- 25 SW Hammoc Blvd.Miami , FL 10325
E-mail: estrella@corp@aol.com

"LA CUEVA DEL PIRATA" -- Fecha: 15 de November ( Friday ) -- Hora: 9:30 pm
Direccion: 1255 w 46th 27 Hialeah(Country ) FL, 33012

"MARACAS PLACE" -- Fecha: 16 de Nov. & 03 de Diciembre, 2013 -- Hora: 10:00 PM
Ph: 305 262 1032
Direccion: 7250 NW 11th St. , Miami FL 33126
Web: www.maracasplacemiami.com

"THE PLACE" -- Fecha: 17 de November ( Domingo )
Mantine Bailable con Rumba Yoruba 
Hora : 6:00 PM -- Ph: 786-400- 5136 / 305 -642-6994
Direccion: 833 SW 29th St. Miami , FL 33135

Direct from Cuba: Grupo CANELA performance series in Miami -- Cuban Music News -- Noticias de música cubana

Fri, 18 Oct 2013 15:40:26 -0400
El Bicho by Petter de Chocolate El Bicho

Sweden continues to make its mark in the timba world. This time it's a new single by Petter "de Chocolate" Linde, who was one of Calle Real's trumpet players for many years. He has his own project now, and on the first single he has collaborated with rapper Lowcura and Thomas de Paula Eby on a scorching timbatón titled "El Bicho". It is available for purchase at iTunes,Amazon and Spotify. You can listen to it at Soundcloud, and get ready to move your feet because they don't get much faster than this!

Thu, 17 Oct 2013 14:08:44 -0400
Revé Returns to Cócomo Tonight The Santa Cruz show was fantastic. Last chance for Bay Area fans is tonight at Café Cócomo - band scheduled to start at 10:00 - DJ EMV opens. See you there!

Rueda con Ritmo Performs with Revé - photo by Tom Ehrlich

Wed, 16 Oct 2013 17:59:09 -0400
CD Reviews: Chuchito Valdés and Timbalive The newest recordings from members of the Valdés dynasty are doing well this year.  We already reviewed Chucho's Border-Free earlier in the year, and it is currently a Latin GRAMMY nominee (Latin Jazz); Chuchito Valdés also has two recordings currently nominated in the 14th Latin GRAMMY Awards (one in Latin Jazz, one in Folklore in a collaboration with Andean folkloric music legend Eddy Navia.) Here are reviews of Grand Piano Live and  Carnaval En Piano Charango

Bill Tilford doesn't doubt for a moment that the following statement will start a few fights, but in his opinion, Timbalive's new Con La Música Cubana NO! is not only Timbalive's best album, but also the best wall to wall Timba dance album (as opposed to Timba plus other things mixed in) to be released by a band based in the United States in many years.  Here's his case, before anyone else makes theirs, please actually listen to the album first...

While we're here, congratulations to Miami's Leslie Cartaya for her Best New Artist nomination in the 14th Latin GRAMMY awards.   We reviewed her eclectic solo debut CD, No Pares, a few months ago. She would be known previously to fans of the Afro-Cuban Funk band Palo!

Wed, 16 Oct 2013 12:41:21 -0400
Pedrito Martínez Review from Gotham
We've just launched the Gotham Report, written by Ian Stewart of Timba Bass Corner and NYC Bulletin. The first entry is Ian's review of the CD Release Party Concert of the Pedrito Martínez Group.

And don't forget: Revé Tomorrow in Santa Cruz!

Mon, 14 Oct 2013 20:09:25 -0400
Revé in Santa Cruz Tuesday!! The prodigal son returns - Lachy Fortuna is back with Revé after several years with Charanga Habanera photo by Tom Ehrlich - courtesy of Manuel Suárez and CultuCuba.

Someobody pinch me - I can't believe Elito Revé y su Charangón is playing 5 minutes from my house for $20 for the whole night! That didn't stop me from driving to SF to see their Saturday show at Cócomo. Click here for Tom Ehrlich's gallery.

Rueda con Ritmo performed at Cócomo and will repeat their choreographed rueda of De qué estamos hablando on Tuesday. The new tresero, pianista and singer were all great, but the highlight of the show for me was the amazing güirero, Maykel Díaz - wow - he plays his watermelon-sized güiro with a relentless groove and sound, and he catches everything. See you there!

Mon, 14 Oct 2013 00:37:09 -0400
Tom Ehrlich's Monterey Jazz Photos, Part III This incarnation of the BVSC has four top timberos: Rolando Luna (Issac, PFG, HdP), Andrés Cuayo (Issac), Kalunga (Klímax, Manolito), and Pedro Pablo (both Charangas, Rebambaramba). Here's Tom's gallery.

Sat, 12 Oct 2013 02:07:24 -0400
Feliz Aniversario Máquina! Maykel Blanco by Cristian Muñoz Maykel Blanco @ Casa de la Música Galiano photo by Cristian Muñoz

Today marks the 9th anniversary of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor also known as La Nueva Máquina de Cuba. Here in Europe they burst onto the scene with their first CD release "Recoge y Vete" and have remained at the top of the timba charts ever since having released five albums including their best-selling album to date, "A toda máquina", last December. Through planning and hard work they are today one of the most popular young timba bands both inside and outside Cuba. If you are in Lima, don't miss them October 31st @ Songo - Rumba Club. Congratulations to Maykel and the whole piquete ! Below is an interview I did with Maykel after the concert in Copenhagen during their European Summer Tour, including some concert footage.

June 21, 2013 interview with Maykel including concert footage

Thu, 10 Oct 2013 09:41:16 -0400
Tom's Monterey Jazz Photos, Part 2 Part 2 features Joe Lovano and the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors, Dave Douglas and Carmen Lundy. Part 3 will feature Omara Portuondo and the Buena Vista Social Club.

Wed, 09 Oct 2013 01:58:52 -0400
The Pedrito Martinez Group CD Release

Tuesday Oct. 8 will serve as an important date for Cuban music enthusiasts in the New York metro-area, as The Pedrito Martinez Group will be holding a special concert celebrating the release of their much anticipated studio album. Cuban percussion laureate Pedrito Martínez and his distinguished quartet have established themselves as one of the most eminent NY ensembles regardless of style or category. In recent years the group has enjoyed an abundance of live performance opportunities few US-based groups in their genre encounter. Their impressive itinerary includes numerous concert dates across the continental United States and Europe, coupled with the band’s long-standing tenure at Guantanamera Restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. This wealth of stage time has enabled the group to evolve and mature into one of the tightest and indeed most exciting ensembles in their idiom, resulting in raving accolades from critics and musicians alike.

The Pedrito Martínez Group consists of bassist Alvaro Benavides, percussionist Jhair Sala, pianist Ariacne Trujillo and of course Mr. Martínez himself. Along with their impressive instrumental prowess, all four musicians share vocal duties in both live and studio contexts, producing a group sound that belies their small size as an ensemble. The quartet’s self-titled studio debut is not only an apogee to the countless hours these great musicians have shared on the bandstand, but also serves to exhibit a different side of the group by featuring an impressive guest roster that includes Steve Gadd, John Scofield and Wynton Marsalis.

The show will be held at City Winery located at 155 Varick Street between Vandam and Spring. The music will begin at 8pm, with doors opening at 6pm. Further information on purchasing CDs and tickets is available from the group’s website.

Of course for those who cannot make this event, there is always the option to check out this excellent band every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday starting 8:30pm at Guantanamera Restaurant located at 939 8th Avenue between 55th and 56th. Reservations can be made via http://www.opentable.com/guantanamera.

Sun, 06 Oct 2013 16:59:46 -0400
Calle Real Concert Report Calle Real @ Royal Palace   Stockholmers dancing to "Con fuerza" in front of the Royal Palace

It took me a while but I have finally published the concert report from Calle Real @ The Royal Palace in Stockholm. As you can see from the photo, although it was cold and rainy, people turned out to dance to Sweden's internationally acclaimed timba band. Calle Real is back at work busily writing new material after a hiatus. The concert report includes five videos from the concert - two estrenos to give you an idea of what is coming. I think you're going to like it! Click here to read the concert review.

Sun, 06 Oct 2013 15:24:22 -0400
Revé in the US! UPDATE! The tour organizers have changed the schedule and the first concert will now be the October 11th date at Melones. Click here for the correct set of concert dates.

cuban music, musica cubanafrom the 2010 tour - photo by Tom Ehrlich

Elito Revé y su Charangón finally return to the US this week. They play Melones in Hialeah, Friday the 11th.

Next is San Francisco, Café Cócomo, on Saturday the 12th, then Santa Cruz's Moe's Alley on Tuesday the 15th, back to SF and Café Cocomo the 16th, then on to New Jersey on the 18th.

Stay tuned for more info and make sure you catch this incredible group. There have been a few changes since the 2010 tour, with Lachy "El Bello" Fortuna returning on lead vocals and a new pianist.

Sun, 06 Oct 2013 02:12:46 -0400
Danny Lozada returns in new single by Hungary's BARRIO LATINO

Sometimes technology does make marvels. So this Timba.com reader from Hungary starts sending me some MP3s -- sequences of music he is working on for his band -- because he is looking for a timba singer. Questions, emails, Skype messages...but I never got around to listening to the music. Finally it's 2am one morning and I'm coding and I put it on. Cuerpo, mambo, bloques, BOMBA....man...it's all there! Who is this guy? Turns out it's a project called Barrio Latino. And they really are from Hungary.

Formed in 2005 by trumpeter and composer Tamás Bodzsár and a group of young jazz musicians, BARRIO LATINO is the first Timba orchestra in Hungary.  A full album is in the works with Italy-based singer and cubano Leo Wilber. Thanks to the internet, I was glad to collaborate with Tamás, playing bass and mastering this new single.

Free MP3 download here = http://music.barriolatino.hu -- full track credits here

With this first single from the upcoming album -- entitled "Con Clave Y Tambó" -- we give you the initial sample of the new sound of Barrio Latino, a track that counts with the participation of singer and "charanguero mayor" Danny Lozada. We sincerely hope you enjoy it and share it with your friends. 

Also on RADIO TIMBA, you will find a very diverse mix of Cuban music, with nods to our blogger Mayito Rivera, Calle Real, Paulo FG, Robert Armas y Los Conquistadores de la Salsa, Los Ángeles de la Habana, Tirso Duarte, La LIga Habanarea, Pupy y los que Son Son, Beny Moré, Conjunto Casino, Clave y Guaguancó, Andrés Fernández y Grupo Contrabando and the Pacific Mambo Orchestra.

Wed, 02 Oct 2013 15:42:32 -0400
Roberto Fonseca at Monterey Jazz Tom's latest gallery features Roberto Fonseca's killer Latin jazz band at Monterey Jazz.

In other news, prepare for Revé! Saturday, Oct. 12 at Café Cócomo, San Francisco ($30 in advance for the whole night) and Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz - $20 in advance for the whole night.

Mon, 30 Sep 2013 03:22:34 -0400
Arsenio Rodríguez Project - Rehearsal Report
Nelson González, Marco Díaz, Josiel Pérez, José Mangual, Jr., Carlos Caro - photos: Tom Ehlrich

The Arsenio Rodríguez Project plays two shows at Yoshi's SF tonight, Saturday. Tom Ehrlich and I were on hand for their rehearsal today and Tom's gallery will be up soon. This is an all-star band at the top of its game. Nelson González and José Mangual, Jr. are living legends, but every musician is a master: musical director Josiel Pérez and bassist Yosmel Montejo are familiar from their tours with Maraca; Carlos Caro (ex-Paulito, ex-Opus 13), Marco Díaz and Eduardo Herrera all hail from Vissión Latina; Niche Romero was in Manolín's incredible Cuban band of the 90s, Roberto Morris played with Sur Caribe in Santiago de Cuba and on lead vocals and clave is the amazing Perico Hernández, who captured the authentic flavor of Arsenio's masterpiece compositions. Both Perico and Eduardo channeled René Scull several times and gave me chills. Their all-Arsenio set list includes the drop-dead masterpieces Me boté de guaño, Dile a Catalina, La vida es un sueño, Kila Quiqui y Chocolate and many more. Don't miss this one. If you're not familiar with Arsenio - trust me, you'lll be addicted. Here's an article to get you up to speed.

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 01:47:49 -0400
Latin Grammys: Cubans dominate Traditional Tropical & Latin Jazz The 2013 Latin Grammy nominees have been announced! Four (4) out of the five (5) nominees for the Best Traditional Tropical Album category are Cuban music artists (Sentimentales by Lucy Fabery and Humberto Ramírez is a release from Puerto Rico). Here they are:

2013 Latin Grammy nominees

  2013 Latin Grammy nominees
Un Siglo De Pasión    
Arturo Sandoval  
Label: E35
  La Canción Cubana
Ernán Lopez-Nussa y Rolando Luna
Label: Producciones Colibri/Cinquillo
(read our review)
2013 Latin Grammy nominees   2013 Latin Grammy nominees
La Habana Tiene Su Son
Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro
Label: Bis Music
(read our review)
  Vamos Pa' La Fiesta
Septeto Santiaguero
Label: Picap, S.L. 
(read our review)

In the LATIN JAZZ category, the both Valdés father and son recieved nominations. I would put my money on Border Free as our executive summary says it all. Read our review here. La resenà del disco de Chucho Valdés padre aquí. 

Another highight is a Lifetime Achievement Award for the leader of Los Van Van... Juan Formell. read below...

From LARAS - "Oscar D'León, Juan Formell, Roberto Menescal, Totó La Momposina, Palito Ortega, Eddie Palmieri, and Miguel Ríos will be honored with The Latin Recording Academy®'s Lifetime Achievement Award, and Mario Kreutzberger aka "Don Francisco" and Pedro Ramírez Velázquez are the recipients of the prestigious Trustees Award. These honorees will be acknowledged at a special invitation-only ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas as part of the weeklong 14th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards® celebration."


2913 Latin recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award JUAN FORMELL - Los Van Van

Thu, 26 Sep 2013 17:01:16 -0400
The Latin GRAMMY awards are getting most of the industry's attention right now, but the Lotus Festival in Bloomington Indiana will be presenting Cubadisco winner Roberto Fonseca on Friday, Sept. 27 at 10:30pm. Roberto's recording Yo won the Cubadisco 2013 awards (Cuba's equivalent of a GRAMMY)  for  Fusion and Recording, and it was also nominated in Jazz and Design.   Bill Tilford spoke with Roberto on the telephone Tuesday night, and you can hear that conversation (in English) here (audio quality is mediocre but listenable, and Roberto is interesting). 

Roberto is also opening for the Buena Vista Social Club concert at Orchestra Hall in Chicago on Sunday the 29th (if you haven't bought your ticket yet, that one is already sold out.) 


Wed, 25 Sep 2013 22:49:47 -0400
Lily & Calixto Oviedo @ Café Cocomo Lily & Calixto Oviedo (Mi nuevo sabor)

Friday October 25th Lily and Calixto Oviedo (Mi nuevo sabor) will perform in San Francisco at Café Cocomo , uniting some of the great Bay Area musicians. Surprisingly this will actually be Calixto's first time performing at Café Cocomo, and is at the initiative of organizer Corey Raynor. Performing with Lily and Calixto will be Best Timba Bongocero Carlos Caro, legendary Peruvian bassist David Pinto, who Calixto remarks is one of the greatest bass players he has had the pleasure of seeing both on baby and electric bass, and completing the rhythm section is Peruvian pianist Mario Arseno Jr. The brass will consist of two trombones and one trumpet, El Niche Romero (ex-Manolín El Médico de la Salsa). Guest vocalist for the evening is Edgardo Cambon. This will be a night for all dancers so don't miss it! They will be performing a repertoire including timba cubana, son montuno, Puerto Rican salsa and even bachata.

Wed, 25 Sep 2013 11:02:06 -0400
Arsenio Rodríguez Project Coming to Yoshi's SF

The Arsenio Rodríguez Project will be playing Yoshi's SF this Saturday night. This is an all-star group with New York legends Nelson González on tres and José Mangual, Jr. on bongó, plus Josiel Pérez on trumpet from Maraca's band and the Bay Area's own Carlos Caro on congas.

On Sunday, they fly to LA to play the Grenada in Alhambra.

Here's our new section on the band

In other Arsenio news, Beyond Salsa Bass, Vol. 2: Arsenio, Cachao and The Golden Age, will be out in a day or two. It has 120 pages on Arsenio. [Kevin Moore]

Wed, 25 Sep 2013 02:09:31 -0400
Roberto Fonseca To Play Lotus Festival

Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, a wonderful event that deserves a lot more national notice than it usually receives. This year's offerings include Cuban Jazz and Fusion artist Roberto Fonseca, whose recording Yo won Cubadisco 2013 awards in the Fusion and Recording (engineering) categories this year (you can read a review of Yo here).  Roberto is playing Friday, September 27 at 10:30 pm, and this show, which will be an interesting departure from what most US listeners typically expect from Cuban music concerts if the material from Yo is performed, is highly recommended. Click here for the Lotus festival's page, which includes a live video. While you're there, check out the rest of the festival schedule, there aren't any additional Cuban acts, but it is very impressive.

In Los Angeles, the AC Jazz Project is having its official CD release party for the new recording Conga Buena at the Catalina Bar and Grill in Los Angeles on Thursday, September 26 at 8:30pm.  This group is based in Los Angeles California and features veterans of MaracaKlimax, Afrocuba and Opus 13.  The leader, trumpeter/composer Josiel Pérez, is originally from Piñar del Rio, played with Maraca and Klimax, and is just getting established in the US after coming here in 2011. The group does both Cuban Jazz and Cuban dance music (Timba, Rumba, Son etc.), and some tracks are already on the radio in a few cities. The album is now available in CD Baby and iTunes

Sat, 21 Sep 2013 18:05:49 -0400
Calle Real @ El Palacio Real Calle Real @ Palacio real 2013-09-15

Last weekend Sweden celebrated King Carl XIV Gustav's 40 years as Regent. Whether you are a royalist or not, you can't argue with the music selection. Calle Real performed as part of the festivities on Sunday September 15th in front of the Royal Palace, so I call it Calle Real at El Palacio Real. After getting the year off to a great start with the tour of Peru and Chile, the bandmembers were busy with various other projects. But summer is over; it's time to get back to work and they gave us a couple of their "new"songs at the concert. I say "new" because one is an updated version of "Hoah"and the other is a new version of Rasmus Faber's house song "Oye", which Thomas sang lead on. It is now a house/timba song. The full concert report including an interview will follow soon, but here is a little teaser from the Palace Concert: the "Intro" and "Somos Familia" and "Oye" from the second set. Stay tuned for more...



Wed, 18 Sep 2013 17:13:47 -0400
"Renacimiento" by Pablo Milanés Pablo Milanés - Worldwide Release "Renacimiento"

Attention! Today Pablo Milanés releases his long-awaited album "Renacimiento" at iTunes! For more details about the CD see his Offical Website .

Track list:
En paz (Amado Nervo - Pablo Milanés)
Apocalipsis (Pablo Milanés)
Dulces recuerdos (Pablo Milanés)
Los males del silencio (Pablo Milanés)
Cual si fuera a morir esta mañana (Pablo Milanés)
Homenaje al Changüí (Pablo Milanés)
Lamento (Ho Chi Minh - Pablo Milanés)
Canto a La Habana (Pablo Milanés)
Amor de otoño (Pablo Milanés)
El otoño del amor (Pablo Milanés)

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 05:34:03 -0400
Music from Cuba & P.R. carry prominent role in new feature film

After its much anticipated premier at the 2013 Los Angeles film Festival this past July, The House That Jack Built is a new motion picture coming your way after a nearly 20-year long journey. This was the last script written by Joseph Vasquez, whose 1991 film HANGIN' WITH THE HOMEBOYS was a rare Latino themed hit in the early days of the American Indie movement. With the blessings of Joe's mother, producers Mike Lieber and Sam Kitt (Love And Basketball) kept alive the idea of turning the script into a film, which was then filmed on location in New York by director Henry Barrial.  

Quick summary: With the hope of re-creating his gauzy vision of good times gone by, Jack is pot dealer who buys a Bronx building into which he moves his extended family. When his relatives fail to meet his nostalgic expectations, Jack tries to force them to conform. Instead, he learns a sad lesson about the strength and limitations of family bonds.

Music for the film includes Celosa, a Cuban son by 2013 Grammy nominee Raúl Lara, an old-school, Trio-Los-Panchos love song La Golondrina del Amor by boricua Willie "El Zentinela" Delgado, the Afro-Cuban grooves of Vissión Latina with Que Sabor Tiene Odalys, a lively plena from Plena LIbre with Que Rico Tumbao, the dark urban vibe of Hay Que Frontear courtesy of LG el Xtrasensorial and the ending scene cue from another boricua Tropmontune with Que Pasará.  

A red-carpet film screening of The House That Jack Built is scheduled for New York early October (stay tuned for the exact date). It will be the first film in a series called PROYECTO NEXT, sponsored by HBO.

The House That Jack Built - New York screening

Speaking of music in film, the Billboard Film & TV Music Conference is scheduled for October 29 & 30 at the W Hotel in Hollywood. Highlights include talks on the expanding role of music publishers -- the key players behind the scenes securing uses of songs for film and TV projects -- and a keynote address by Alexandra Patsavas, whose credits include "Scandal", “Mad Men”, "Hart of Dixie", "Gossip Girl", "The O.C.", the “Twilight Saga”, "Perks of Being a Wallflower", and the upcoming film “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”. Use the code LPM13 to register here.

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 04:03:00 -0400
New Releases and Coming Attractions Available Now:  Expectativas by Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express

Expectativas is the second New Cuban Express recording, and like the first one, it is extraordinary. You can read a review of the recording here.  Better yet, an extended sample of one of the TimbaJazz tracks, Chamber Timba, is posted on manuelvalera.com
This is available now through CD Baby, Amazon.com and iTunes. The group will be performing at a CD release party November 6 at the Jazz Standard in New York.

Available September 17:  Conga Buena by the AC Jazz Project

Conga Buena is a potent mix of Afro-Cuban Jazz and modern Cuban dance music, and the AC Jazz Project, led by Josiel Pérez (ex-Maraca and Klimax) features alumni of many of Cuba's best bands. This recording features some heavy hitters like Luis Conte, Jimmy Branly, Kamasi Washington and Dennis Chambers.  The recording will be available for purchase from CD Baby and iTunes. The group will be performing its CD release party on September 26 at the Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles, California.

Available October 18:  Con la música cubana no by Timbalive

Timbalive is coming out with a brand new Timba album, Con la música Cubana no, on October 18. The group will be touring Europe in November 2013. More about the album closer to the release date, but in the meantime, Timbalive has been floating a single from the album.  Here is their official video of that song, Conmigo No:

Sat, 14 Sep 2013 16:28:23 -0400
Michele Rosewoman's New Yor-Uba Historic Recording is Released Tom Ehrlich was present for most of the rehearsals, recording and two concerts of this 30th Anniversary New Yor-Uba project and has published the beginning of an extensive gallery/report.

You can buy the CD here.

Here are Tom's initial report and photos. A more complete report to posted soon.

Tue, 10 Sep 2013 02:02:43 -0400
Final SJ Jazz Summer Fest Galleries Gallery 6 includes Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Arturo Riera's award ceremony and Vissión Latina.

Arturo Riera - photo by Tom Ehrlich

Gallery 7 covers the big timba finale: Wil Campa y su Gran Unión and the all-star jazz group The Cookers.

Wil Campa - photo by Tom Ehrlich

In summary, here's our coverage of this great event:

Tom Ehrlich 1 - Peter Maiden 1
Tom Ehrlich 2 - Peter Maiden 2
Tom Ehrlich 3 - Peter Maiden 3
Tom Ehrlich 4 - Peter Maiden 4
Tom Ehrlich 5
Tom Ehrlich 6
Tom Ehrlich 7

Sun, 08 Sep 2013 04:45:09 -0400
Tom Ehrlich - SJ Jazz - Gallery #5 Click here for Tom's photos from the final day of this year's SJ Jazz Summer Fest. Wil Campa, Vissión Latina, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Cookers still to come. Also a special tribute to Arturo Riera.

Now we know who taught Carlos Caro to play - dear old Mom!

Sat, 07 Sep 2013 02:29:30 -0400
Tom Ehrlich's San José Jazz Summer Fest Galleries Here are the next two installments of Tom Ehrlich's SJ Jazz Summer Fest photos. Part III covers The Rebirth Jazz Band, Raq Filipina, and Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.

              Leader and tuba player Philip Frazier of the Rebirth Jazz Band - photo by Tom Ehrlich


Part IV has Edgardo Cambón & Candela with Calixto Oviedo and The John Santos Sextet with all sorts of luminaries sitting in.

                            Edgardo Cambón & John Santos - photo by Tom Ehrlich

Here are Part I and Part II. More galleries coming from Sunday, including Wil Campa, Vissión Latina, Pellejo Seco, Natalie Cressman, Yosvany Terry and many more.


Sun, 01 Sep 2013 03:44:07 -0400
Tom's Proverb Trio Photos from SJ Jazz

Tom's second SJ Jazz Summer Fest gallery is up - this one deals exclusively with Dafnis Prieto's  amazing Proverb Trio. They improvise everything - chords, form, lyrics, grooves - but it's not the abstract madness you expect from "free jazz" - the musical materials are very accessible to the ear so what you hear sounds composed even though it's improvised - truly amazing. 

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 02:02:37 -0400
More Great Videos From Dayramir González and Ivan Llanes Dayramir González (see Dayramir González Brings it to LA and Beyond , July 16) recently sent word about another great video, Iyesa con Miel:  

Ivan Llanes  (see Ivan Llanes & The Cuban Way , March 30) checked in with one of his own, La Caliente :

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 20:16:47 -0400
EL SON vs LA TIMBA Mayito Rivera photo by Tom Bauer

El titulo de por sí, intenta establecer una comparación basada en mi humilde experiencia, hoy comprendo mejor y perfectamente claro que el SON es una base fundamental para la vida de un músico Cubano. Fue y es una fortuna, una gran dicha, una suerte tremendamente importante, desde nuestra más temprana juventud, siendo niños, muchos colegas que hoy son grandes músicos cubanos, llamase cantantes de música cubana, o instrumentistas en general, todos o casi todos, tuvimos un comienzo, y por lo general para nuestra suerte, este comienzo fue el SON. Repito, estoy refiriéndome a los músicos que ejercemos, o que incursionamos dentro de este género - la música popular bailable. Todos tenemos una historia que contar de nuestra niñez, de nuestros primeros pasos. Seguramente muchos tendremos que recordar aquellos primeros grupitos (en el mejor sentido)…nuestras primeras formaciones musicales, de la etapa más joven. Estoy seguro que casi todos tuvimos - afortunadamente - esta experiencia cantando o tocando algún instrumento en grupitos, de cualquier manera, aquellos llamados COMBOS. Los cubanos sabemos que cosa era decir: armamos un combo, tenemos un combo, tenemos un grupito - emocionante sensación, recuerdos inolvidables. Aquello era la etapa más hermosa de todo músico cubano, el comienzo de sueños, ilusiones, esperanzas, y simplemente felicidad.

Pincha aquí porque, dicho esto, vuelvo al punto - EL SON.

Tue, 20 Aug 2013 16:08:03 -0400
Tom Ehrlich's First San José Jazz Summer Fest Gallery Dafnis Prieto & Calixto Oviedo - photo by Tom Ehrlich

Click here for Tom's first gallery from Friday at the SJ Jazz Summer Fest - more to come.

Tue, 20 Aug 2013 00:41:57 -0400
Peter Maiden's San José Summer Jazz Galleries
Yosvany Terry - photo by Peter Maiden

Peter Maiden has three new galleries from the San José  Jazz  Summer Fest, now one of the biggest jazz festivals in the world. Photos from Tom Ehrlich coming later this week. Click on each photo for the complete gallery.

Calixto Oviedo with Edgardo Cambón and Candela - photo by Peter Maiden

Arturo O'Farrill and Iván Renta - photo by Peter Maiden

Sun, 18 Aug 2013 18:16:21 -0400
UN BUEN CANTANTE Por fortuna hemos tenido a través de la historia musical cubana, una larga lista de grandes y buenos cantantes. No creo necesario mencionarlos, se me van a quedar muchos. Pero vamos aunque sea a reiterar y mencionar a uno de ellos, sin dudas para mi criterio el más grande de todos, pero la pregunta que muchos no responden, es ¿¿¿POR QUÉ BENNY FUE EL MEJOR DE TODOS???

Benny Moré¿Habrá por ahí alguien que NO considere que Benny MORÉ, el de Santa Isabel de las LAJAS, fue el mejor? Esa pregunta lógicamente puede que exista, ya se sabe que para gustos se han hecho los colores…jaaa. Pero señores, simplemente hagan un análisis musical, un poco regresen y vayan a los tiempos aquellos, analicen la obra completa, escuchen sus interpretaciones, comparen a sus preferidos y saquen sus cuentas nuevamente puede que lleguemos a coincidir en la decisión final.

Pincha aquí y buscamos la explicación.

Vídeo de la visita que hice a la tumba de Benny Moré

Thu, 15 Aug 2013 20:06:11 -0400
Los Conquistadores de la Salsa Announce 2013 USA Tour TIMBA.com is excited to announce the 2013 USA Tour of Los CONQUISTADORES DE LA SALSA, stars of Lima, Peru's established Timba music scene, and ready to meet their US based fanbase after their release of their 4th album CUBANO NATURAL. Confirmed cities to be announced soon -- stay tuned. Their current hit is Enamorao de la Habana ...watch it on their video page. 

Para más información escriba al -- for more information and tour booking contact
conquistadores.usatour [arroba] gmail.com

West Coast = 775.230.6501                                551.482.8766 = East Coast

click here for the full bio in English                        oprima aquí para la biografía en Español

click here to see their Videos                                               oprima aquí para ver los Videos

Robert Armas y los Conquistadores de la Salsa - 2013 USA Tour

Wed, 14 Aug 2013 18:24:56 -0400
14th Latin GRAMMY Process Begins Latin GRAMMY season is upon us again, and there is always a tremendous number of recordings that are submitted for consideration by Latin Recording Academy (LARAS) members each year. Cuba is now actively including recordings by Cuban artists living in the United States and other countries in its Cubadisco Awards (their equivalent to the GRAMMY awards), and it is our hope that the members of the Latin Recording Academy will be equally proactive in listening to the best of Cuba's recorded output, some of which is now being submitted to the Latin GRAMMY process. Since these recordings don't have the same marketing and publicity support as major-label projects made in the United States or Europe, the article that follows may be helpful as a tool for learning more about these excellent but not always well-known recordings. 
You can read the full article in English here.

La temporada del Latin GRAMMY ha llegado otra vez, y siempre hay un gran número de grabaciones que se someten a la consideración de la Academia Latina de Grabación (LARAS) miembros cada año. Cuba está incluyendo activamente unas grabaciones de artistas cubanos que viven en Estados Unidos y en otros países en los Premios Cubadisco (equivalente a los premios Grammy), y tenemos la esperanza de que los miembros de la Academia Latina de la Grabación serán igualmente proactivo en escuchar lo mejor de la producción grabada de Cuba, algunos de los cuales se presenta ahora en el proceso del Latin GRAMMY. Dado que estas grabaciones no reciben tanto ayuda con marketing y publicidad como los lanzamientos de las etiquetas principales hecho en los Estados Unidos o Europa, el artículo que sigue puede ser útil como una herramienta para aprender más acerca de estos excelentes, pero no siempre bien conocido grabaciones.
Se puede leer el articulo en español aquí.

UPDATE:  Editor's Picks For Your Consideration

SALSA Pasaporte by Alexander Abreu and Havana d'Primera (Colibri)   This won the Cubadisco 2013 award for Popular Dance Music, and it is one of the best Timba/Cuban Salsa albums to appear in years.  You can read our review here

TRADITIONAL Vamos pa' la' fiesta by Septeto Santiaguero (Picap).  This won the Cubadisco 2013 award for Traditional Popular Music and features a number of prominent singers from the United States and other countries as guest artists.   You can read our review here

LATIN JAZZ + ENGINEERING PMO by Pacific Mambo Orchestra (Independent Release)  This Bay Area big band plays hard-hitting, old school Mambo in a way that is mostly old school but with some modern elements of electric guitar and drum kit added to the mix.  You can read our review here

LATIN JAZZ + ENGINEERING San Francisco by Brian Andres & The Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel (Independent Release)   A funky and daring collaboration between some of the most talented players, composers and arrangers residing in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Click here for more info.

RECORD + ALBUM + TRADITIONAL POP VOCAL + ENGINEERING Vuelven Los Amaya! by Los Amaya (Universal Music Spain)  A comeback album from the original kings of Rumba Flamenca. Features a veritable who's who of famous artists from Spain.  Click here for more info.

Sun, 11 Aug 2013 18:51:19 -0400
Entrevista a Alexander Acosta Alexander Acost - Desafio

Alexander Acosta released his solo CD "Desafio" in November 2012 and has been touring this summer to promote the new CD. I caught up with him at a concert in Stockholm where he was collaborating with Yuly & Havana C, a band for which he was the first singer and also author of one of the songs on their first album. Alexander was born in Santa Clara and sang with bands such as Charanga Forever, Pupy y Los Que Son Son and Elito Revé y Su Charangón before going solo.

Here is a short interview with Alexander, including some video from the concert in Stockholm July 12, 2013, which was produced by Club Mambo an El Barrio. You can still catch Alexander during the summer tour season at the Latinossegor festival in Hossegor, France. I've been there and it's a beautiful location and a great festival so don't miss it! "Desafio" is available at iTunes and Amazon , as well as in hardcopy at the concerts. So take some extra cash!

Fri, 09 Aug 2013 15:33:48 -0400
Not For Cubans Only, Part II:

(photo supplied by Alejandro Riera courtesy of Festival Cubano)

This is what success looks like from the air, and it's what happens when the whole world is invited to your party and decides to accept the invitation. This was taken during the Saturday night session of the festival. No more "small, upstart festival" for YOU, Festival Cubano.  Now you're going to have a rep to defend. You'll find that it's a mixed blessing but a nice problem to have. 

Click here for part 2 of our coverage with a story and photo gallery including Timbalive's closing act.

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 14:49:57 -0400
Pacific Mambo Orchestra Preps for National Tour In preparation for their upcoming national tour, the Pacific Mambo Orchestra played the open air lawn to more than 3000 at the Civic Center Plaza in downtown Los Gatos. Sharpening their set and show, the PMO featured 6 saxes, 4 trumpets and 4 trombones...a veritable wall of classic mambo sounds. Visit the official tour page here.

Click HERE to view the full PMO Show Photo Gallery by Peter Maiden 

Jorge Pomar, Bass, with the Band

Co-leader & trumpeter Steffen Kuehn

Co-leader Cirstian Tumalan on the piano and keytar

The Pacific Mambo Orchestra in Full Swing

Wed, 07 Aug 2013 14:28:30 -0400
COSAS DE CASA ...la musica en caliente Mayito River - "El poeta de la rumba" Mayito Rivera "El Poeta de la Rumba" photo courtesy of mayitorivera.net

Editor's Note: A venerable rumba poet and former lead vocalist of the legendary Cuban band Los Van Van, the now solo artist Mario "Mayito" Rivera joins the blog writing team here at TIMBA.com to bring us a fresh perspective from a singer's point of view.  Here, in his first article, we begin to recognize his direction and fundamental philosophy, and like all of you, we highly anticipate his views and comments. We will provide Mayito with uncensored support and sincerely hope you all enjoy his new column.

Nota del redactor: El poeta de la rumba, ex-cantante del la legendaria orquesta cubana Los Van Van, y ahora un artista solista, Mario "Mayito" Rivera, se una al grupo de escritores de TIMBA.com para traerles la persepectiva y punto de vista de un sonero y intérprete del género. Aquí, en su primer artículo, empezamos a reconocer su dirección y concepto fundamental, y como todos ustedes, esperamos sus opiniones y observaciones con mucha anticipación. Le brindamos el apoyo a Mayito sin censura. Que lo disfruten.

Resulta difícil analizar con certeza todo lo que está pasando dentro del mundo musical, tantos y tantos proyectos en todos los rincones del universo, todos tratando de abrir caminos y crecer. Es digno de admirar, de verdad es algo muy serio a tener en cuenta...y me detengo aquí, para hacer una observación que pocas veces decimos aunque en verdad creo que casi todos valoramos y sabemos. Me quiero referir al honor que representa para CUBA, para nuestra cultura en particular, el fenómeno mundial que se ha desatado a partir de la música cubana bailable...llamase son, timba , rumba y otros géneros. Se trata simplemente del solo hecho de HACER BAILAR, hermosa contribución al patrimonio universal de la humanidad, hoy el mundo BAILA, el mundo se mueve, con el ritmo de los cubanos...de nuestra humilde tierra, encerrada y asediada por las carencias materiales de todo tipo, carencias que todos los que allí vivimos sabemos y conocemos, hasta la hemos aprendido a soportar y casi tengo la seguridad que se ha convertido en un GAME para the daily life del cubano...

Dale clic aquí para seguir leyendo el primer artículo de
Mayito Rivera "El Poeta de la Rumba".

Tue, 06 Aug 2013 19:40:14 -0400
Not For Cubans Only, Part I:

Every village has its idiot, and this one had a couple of them running about in the audience, but that didn't bother the 99.9% of the people who understood that the object was to celebrate, and celebrate they did.  The neighbors were all invited too, and they came to the party in droves.  Festival Cubano gave Chicago a much-needed Timba fix while scratching the itch for traditionalists and the youngsters as well, and for that, we salute it. 

Click here for part 1 of our coverage with a story and photo gallery.  Part 2 will follow soon.

Tue, 06 Aug 2013 01:36:35 -0400
NY Cuban Jazz Alert! On Tuesday, August 6 at 7:30pm, Cuban percussionist/composer Enildo Rasua will be performing at the Jazz Standard in a quartet with Troy Roberts on saxophone, Ben Winkleman on piano and Ricky Rodriguez on bass.   Enildo is the creator of the "Third Hand" technique which uses three drumsticks to play both drum kit and other percussion instruments at the same time.  Enildo's career covers a lot of ground both as a performer and an instructor, and this should be worth checking out. 

On Wednesday, August 7 at 9:30 pm, 11:00 pm and 1:00 am, composer/pianist Osmany Paredes, another artist in the new wave of Cuban Jazz musicians shaking things up in New York, will be performing at the Zinc Bar with his quartet. Osmany's early career included time with Charanga America, Enrique Jorrin and Bobby Carcasses. He later founded the group Menduvia and now leads the Osmany Paredes Quartet.  He has also performed in several prominent groups, and this performance is also worth checking out. 

It is also worth keeping an eye on the calendars of both of these clubs because they have become two of the most important venues for this music in New York. 

Mon, 05 Aug 2013 07:40:16 -0400
Chicago's Festival Cubano Finds Itself
Are we having fun yet?  Yes we are...

Despite dire warnings from a very small handful of self-appointed members of the Purity Of Our Party Patrol that the presence of a non-native taco here, an alcapurria there and the inclusion of some non-Cuban musicians in the entertainment roster would inflict irreparable emotional trauma on attendees, a very large crowd had a very good time at Festival Cubano last night in Chicago.  We'll bring you a full report in a couple of days, but if you are in or near Chicago, get there today, the last day of the Festival. Timbalive, Cachao Mambo All Stars, hey, if you aren't already hooked yet, go to thecubanfestival.com for the rest of the lineup, where and when its at etc. and that should finish the job.  

(What are those weird blotches in the center by Alfredo's head?  We don't know either, but we decided to leave them in because they remind us of our favorite science fiction movies, and we're curious to see whether anyone accuses him of being from the 8th dimension now.  We'll have crisp, blemish-free pictures of him and the band for you in a couple of days...)

One of the highlights was when Alfredo de la Fe, wired for sound, took his violin out into the crowd to solo.The crowd went crazy, and it got more fired up after that as the evening progressed. By the time Jerry Rivera was on, it was like a Rock concert, but in a good way. 

Sun, 04 Aug 2013 02:13:56 -0400

Beyond Salsa Percussion is featured in the September issue of Modern Drummer magazine, probably the most high profile exposure we've got since the series was launched. This is Calixto's second feature in the magazine, the last one being in 1994 as part of a "The Drummers of Cuba" series along with Enrique Pla and Changuito.

In other Calixto news, the maestro has actually moved himself and his talented family to Denver, CO. He'll also be featured on an ongoing basis as an "artist in residence" in conjunction Cal State LA's prestigious Latin Music graduate program. And he'll be playing three gigs in Northern California as part of Edgardo Gambón's "A Tribute to the Timbales" concert series. The first will be on Aug. 10th at the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest..

Fri, 02 Aug 2013 22:19:24 -0400
Happy Birthday Juanito!
                                     photos by Tom Ehrlich-Yoshi's SF-2010

The master turns 71 today and is still cranking out the hits. No other figure (except Pupy) has managed to stay so consistently on the cutting edge with generation after generation of young audiences. For a trip down memory lane, check out our History of Van Van and our comprehensive Los Van Van Discography.

From the 2013 DVD "Van Van 40" by director Ian Padrón

Fri, 02 Aug 2013 05:57:12 -0400
Festival Cubano in Chicago August 2-4

The 4th annual Festival Cubano, a 3-day celebration of Cuban music, will take place on August 2-4 in Riis Park in Chicago. The band roster this year has a really nice mix of local and out of town acts - some of Saturday's highlights include Xiomara Laugart and Alfredo de la Fe (the closing act that night is Salsero Jerry Rivera ). Sunday packs a wallop with Charangueo, Mambo Fino, Hector Silveira y su Orquesta, and Sureya followed by the Cachao Mambo All Stars.  Timbalive, which was nominated for a Cubadisco award in 2012, a rare honor for a dance band in the United States, closes the festival. For tickets and the complete schedule for this don't-miss event visit thecubanfestival.com

In Los Angeles, on Saturday August 3 at Vitello's, the AC Jazz Project is having a pre-release party featuring material from its new CD Conga Buena, which is due for release in September.  This band is led by trumpeter Josiel Pérez, who played with Maraca's band and Klimax in Cuba, and it brings together a formidable team of musicians (some of them cut their teeth in NG la Banda, Grupo Afrocuba and Opus 13, and percussion monster Luis Conte is the featured conguero). This writer has heard the tracks from the new recording, a potent mix of Jazz and Música Popular Bailable, and it is going to turn some heads when it comes out. For more information, see vitellosjazz.com


Wed, 31 Jul 2013 06:55:45 -0400
Pablo Milanes - Amor de Otoño Pablo Milanés - Amor de otoñoPhoto courtesy of http://www.milanespablo.com/

Today Pablo Milanés releases "Amor de otoño"   at iTunes . It is the first single from his highly anticipated new album "Renacimiento" , which will be available worldwide from September 17th . "Amor de otoño" is a ballad that will delight fans for Pablo's signature use of harmonies, his graceful turn of phrase and that iconic voice.

Pablo has also launched an updated official website with his exensive discography, concert dates, a biography, photos, videos and more. Check it out and suscribe to keep up on the lastest news of this legend of Cuban music. In August Pablo will begin a national tour of Cuba, and in September he will perform in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Click here for concert dates.

Debut performance of "Amor de otoño" 19 May 2013 Karl Marx Theater - Havana, Cuba

Tue, 30 Jul 2013 10:15:26 -0400
Michel Maza Acquitted? Michel Maza - Como gato de angoraMichel Maza

Fantastic news came out of Lima yesterday! According to Cato TimbaDJ at Facebook, the sublimely talented singer Michel Maza has been acquitted of the charges for which he has been incarcerated in the San Pedro prison (ex-Lurigancho) for the past 17 months. We have not been able to find any Peruvian news site with the exact details of the verdict yet which is supposed to come on Monday, but the timberos of Peru are saying that it is 100% confirmed. This is the result his supporters have been hoping for. We certainly hope it is true!

In January of 2012 Michel and another person were arrested and charged with kidnapping, intimidation and armed robbery of a taxi driver. While Michel admitted to having problems with drugs, he denied the other charges. Fans and friends rallied around him creating Facebook pages dedicated to him, but just one month ago reports came that he had been sentenced to 25 years in prison. The preliminary indications today are that he has actually been acquitted of those charges and will be released on August 7th for time-served for the drug-related charges.

Timberos around the world are already rejoicing at the news and in some cities parties are being planned in honor of the acquittal. We at Timba.com hope to soon see Michel back on stage. We have missed his extraordinary voice.

Michel Maza at 18 singing "Lola, Lola" with la Charanga Habanera in 1997
at the now-famous "Suspension Concert"

Sat, 27 Jul 2013 07:03:50 -0400
Entrevista a Yuly Greenidge Yuly y Havana CYuly y Havana C

Yuleisis Greenidge, better known as Yuly, is the director of Havana C, a group that has been around for five years but really broke into the scene in 2012 with their mega-hit "Bailando". Yuly plays guitar, piano and percussion and is a product of the Cuban music school system, which she attended from grade school at Alejandro García Caturla to La ENA and El ISA. She was a member of the all-female salsa band Caribe Girls, but left for artistic reasons. 

Yuly founded her own band, but wanted a mixed group of both men and women. In 2009 they recorded their first CD "Bajo de control". It was a salsa CD but never really took off and received limited distribution. Yuly decided to change the sound of the band and looked for new ways to incorporate other Caribbean genres such as reggaeton, plena and bomba. The result has been a resounding success. Havana C has become very popular among young Cubans who appreciate this playful, light style of dance music. When the band is not touring, they have a Wednesday peña at Casa de la Música Miramar.

Havana C is currently doing its first tour of Europe together with Alexander Acosta, an ex-Havana C singer who is best known to timba fans for his time with Orquesta Revé and now for his new solo album "Desafio". I spoke with Yuly before the show in Stockholm about the band, what it's like to be a female director in a male-dominated world and about the direction that Havana C has taken. The video interview is in Spanish. An English subtitled version will be coming soon. So if you don't speak Spanish, check back with us in a week.

Interview in Spanish with Yuly

Fri, 26 Jul 2013 19:15:09 -0400
Latin Music Shines at the 2013 San Jose Jazz Festival

24th Annual San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 
Friday, August 9 - Sunday, August 11, 2013
Plaza de César Chavez Park, Downtown San Jose, CA
Click HERE for tickets

The 24th annual San Jose Jazz Summer Fest is the hottest event of the summer featuring a stellar lineup of international stars, emerging artists and regional favorites. You’ll enjoy more than 100 bands on 11 stages playing jazz, salsa, Latin, blues, R&B, New Orleans and more. It’s the biggest live music event in Silicon Valley—the perfect summer experience with tasty food, wine and microbrews; jazz for kids and after hours events for the grownups.

click HERE to visit the full Event Page with extended video

Focus On Latin Jazz & Salsa
Every year, San Jose Jazz Summer Fest features more Latin jazz and salsa than any other festival in the West. In 2013 they’ve expanded their roster of Latin artists, presenting them on stages throughout the festival. Highlights include two performances by Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra; MacArthur “genius” grant recipient Dafnis Prieto, who performs a set that is 100% improvised; Transcendental Ensemble, which brings its take on the fiery street music of Bahia, direct from Brazil; Colombia’s Audiotrópico which delivers an authentic Latin sound carefully built atop influences of jazz, electronica and funk; Saxophonist Yosvany Terry, who merges sounds of his Cuban homeland with contemporary currents he found in the New York jazz scene; and the great John Santos Sextet presiding over our Latin jazz jam that you can take part in.

2013 San Jose Jazz Festival - Focus on Latin Jazz & Salsa

The ambitious lineup on this year’s Kaiser Permanente Salsa Stage will transport you to three major centers of salsa culture. On Friday, you’ll experience the sounds of New York played by the Josh Jones Ensemble performing a tribute to Ray Baretto and Louis Romero’s Mazacote playing NYC-style salsa dura. Saturday, it’s Puerto Rico—highlights include Edgardo & Candela performing with the great Cuban timbalero Calixto Oviedo and Orquesta Saboricua, playing Puerto Rican-influenced New York salsa. Saturday headliner Ricardo Lemvo takes salsa global by combining the classic sound with pan-African styles. On Sunday we travel to Cuba, birthplace of son, rumba and the contemporary timba, with the award-winning Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco. Closing the day is Cuba’s greatest dance band, Wil Campa Y Su Gran Union, the salsa stage’s biggest hit at last year’s Fest. While the styles may differ, every band plays exciting, danceable music, so get out there!

General Admission:
Single Day: $20; Weekend Pass through 7/31: $45; Online until 8/9: $55; At Gate: $60
Click HERE for tickets

Weekend Pass through 7/31: $250; Thereafter and at gate: $300; Sat or Sun, $150 per day
Click HERE for tickets

San Jose Rep Stage General Admission: Sat, Sun - $10 per day
Click HERE for tickets

Children (Ages 5 – 12): Daily Pass: $5; Weekend Pass: $15
Click HERE for tickets

Fri, 26 Jul 2013 13:02:14 -0400
La Mejor Mujer: New Video From Ivan Llanes & The Cuban Way The latest from Ivan Llanes' group in New York...

Also, another New Cuban Express album, Expectativas, is due for release on September 3rd. This writer has heard the tracks, and this is even deeper than the first New Cuban Express recording, the self-titled, GRAMMY-nominated album by Manuel Valera's group. If you are into Latin Jazz (or any kind of Jazz, really), this will be an essential acquisition for you when it comes out. In the meantime, those of you on the East Coast can see most of the group (Joel Frahm is subbing for Yosvany Terry, but do NOT let that stop you for a second) performing at the following locations over the course of the weekend:

July 26-27:  Bohemian Caverns in Washington, DC
July 28: An Die Musik in Baltimore, MD
July 29: Hartford Jazz Society in Hartford, CT

Thu, 25 Jul 2013 22:44:02 -0400
Vitali Osmachko y Su Timba Habanera Vitaly y Su Timba Habanera - Para Ti"Para Ti" by Vitaly y Su Timba Habanera was released on 15 June 2013

Vitaly Osmachko appeared on the international timba scene twelve years ago with "Desnudar tu cuerpo". The project Vitaly y Su Timba Habanera included the participation of stellar musicians from Cuba such as Ricardo Amaray, Carlos Kalunga, El Gallo, Amaury Pérez and Alexander Abreu. Well Vitaly is back in 2013 with his second CD, "Para Ti", again collaborating with los grandes. The new CD contains ten tracks. All arrangements are by Vitaly with lyrics provided by Giraldo Piloto, Ariel Cubría, Joaquín Betancourt and Alberto Alberto. Click here for an interview with Vitaly about "Para Ti".

A review will be coming soon to Timba.com but let me give you the short version: DJs should add this to their collection, especially DJs who play for a mixed crowd of casino and cross-body dancers. It should appeal to dancers of both styles. "Para Ti" is not available via on-line digital sales or at record stores. It is being distributed by authorized DJs. If you don't find a DJ in your area who is selling the CD, contact pelikanrec@gmail.com, or facebook.com/vitalyysutimbahabanera to order your copy.

Vitali Osmachko & Giraldo Piloto @ Abdala StudiosGiraldo Piloto & Vitaly Osmachko at Abdala

Sat, 20 Jul 2013 09:20:35 -0400
Buena Fe Update Buena Fe ensayando para los conciertos de Corea del Sur Buena Fe rehearsing with for the concerts in South Korea
Photo courtesy of Buena Fe (PÁGINA OFICIAL)

UPDATE: The concert dates for South Korea are August 2nd at 8:00, 3rd at 19:00 and 4th at 17:00. This facebook link includes instruction on how to book your ticket. Tickets are free but you should book your seat in advance to ensure you get one! Click here for all the information on the concerts and how to book your ticket by fax or e-mail.

Tonight Buena Fe will perform at La Tropical in Havana, giving Habaneros a sneak peek at the show they have put together for their debut performance in South Korea, which will be part of the Festival Cubano del Arte y la Cultura for Martí Cultural Day. The South Korea show will include Cesar López and Habana Ensemble, and the Habana Compas dance company. There will be also an exhibition by photographers Roberto Chile, Julio Larramendi and Gabriel Dávalos .  The event takes place at the beginning of August, although the actual concert date has yet to be announced. Buena Fe will soon be updating their Facebook page with the times, dates and locations. If you happen to be in Asia, this may be your best chance to see the band short of going to Cuba. So keep an eye https://www.facebook.com/buenafe.oficial !

Prior to South Korea, "El Duo" - i.e. Israel and Yoel will travel to El Salvador for two concerts along with trovador Eduardo Sosa:
July 27, 2013 - Santa Ana, El Salvador- Estudio y Lucha @ Teatro Nacional de Santa Ana 6pm
July 28, 2013 - San Salvador, El Salvador- Estudio y Lucha @ UCA Auditorio Ignacio Ellacuría 4pm

In Timba-related Buena Fe news, Israel and Yoel sing with Lachy on the updated version of "Esa Mujer" on the new 2-CD set by Elito Revé y Su Charangón. "La Aplanadora de Cuba" contains 24 songs: 12 remakes interpreted by singers of the charangón together with stars such as Gilberto Santa Rosa, Mayito and Haila, as well as 12 new songs. This is a must have for timberos! In a recent interview by Marino Luzardo at Suena Cubano , Israel said that they worked out an arrangement that was a mix of both styles. Certainly Buena Fe's own changüí fusion "Pi 3,14" was a big hit for the band in 2010/11. Although Israel has written songs for Pedrito Calvo, Bony & Kelly and La Charanga Habanera, this is the first time that they actually have recorded with a timba band, to my knowledge. If someone has other information, let me know.

I leave you with the song (not timba) that has become a summer 2013 anthem in Cuba, from their latest CD,"Dial" , "Volar sin ti" featuring my favorite gallego, Andrés Suárez .

Buena Fe - "Volar sin ti" feat. Andrés Suárez from the CD "Dial" (2013)

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 12:23:15 -0400
Dayramir González Brings It To LA and Beyond In 2007, Cinquillo (Colibri's main label for modern music) released a truly remarkable debut recording by young Cuban composer and pianist Dayramir González titled  Dayramir & Habana enTRANCe. It justifiably won three Cubadisco awards that year for Best Debut Album, Best Jazz Album and Best Engineered Recording. In an alternate timeline, he would have cranked out a series of recordings that would have put him front and center of those of us who follow Jazz and Fusion, but he chose instead to continue his studies including most recently at Berklee, where he was the first Cuban national to receive a full scholarship. 

Dayramir will be in California until August, and those of you in or near Los Angeles can check him out on Sunday, July 21 at the Catalina Bar and Grill:

Click here for his full bio, which is already impressive.  Here's a promotional video to give you a taste of what they are about:

Tue, 16 Jul 2013 08:28:41 -0400
Calixto Oviedo in the US Tributo Al Timbal - Edgardo & Candela feat. Calixto OviedoEdgardo Cambon & Candela present tributo al Timbal featuring guest Calixto Oviedo

To say that Calixto's recent work in Denver, Colorado has gone well is an understatement. He started out 2013 with a successful debut concert of his new timba orchestra, a project with bassist Armando Santoyo, before heading back over to Europe for concerts and Masters Classes. He has recently returned to the US after a tour of Japan and has already been featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal concerning his recent concert at Jazz Standard in New York as part of their Afro-Cuban series. You can read the article at WSJ website.

Calixto Oviedo in the Wall Street JournalCalixto Oviedo in the Wall Street Journal

Beyond Salsa Percussion
Calixto followed New York with two concerts in Boston and will now be performing in Denver before heading to the West Coast for eight concerts with Edgardo Cambon in August.  Although he's officially in the US now, you can expect him to keep up his busy travel schedule, so click here to find a concert near you! 

If you are a musician but haven't had an opportunity to take part in one of Calixto's Masters Classes, check out the Beyond Salsa Percussion series volumes 2 & 3.

Mon, 15 Jul 2013 15:39:13 -0400
Chicago Gets Its Clave On The next three weeks are a great time for both Jazz and dance music in Chicago.

First up, tonight (Sunday, July 14) Hector Silveira brings some seriously good Salsa Cubana (the modern kind) to the 39th Annual Arts and Crafts Festival at the Dusable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago. There is also other entertainment throughout the day, and this group hits at 7pm.   Hector fronts one of Chicago's best dance bands, but he also carefully rations his performances, so catch him while you can. 

Next, on Friday and Saturday, July 19-20, the 7th Chicago Latin Jazz Festival at the Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1359 N. Sacramento Av in Chicago brings Jane Bunnett, Hilario Duran and Candido Camero to perform together in trio on Friday and Bobby Sanabria's Quarteto Ache on Saturday. Hilario is a phenomenal Cuban pianist who is now based in Toronto; Candido, who is now 92 years old, is one of the giants of the music, and Jane, also based in Canada, began doing cooperative recordings with musicians in Cuba over two decades ago. New Yorker Bobby Sanabria just came off his 7th GRAMMY nomination.   For the complete schedule, click here. 

TImbalive to join Festival Cubano lineup:   Festival Cubano (August 2-4, Riis Park, Chicago) now has Timbalive on the bill for the final day in place of Manolin.   Buy your tickets now for a discount at Festival Cubano's website

Sun, 14 Jul 2013 11:10:58 -0400
PMG Photos, Issac, Book News, Rumor Mill

We're now getting close to catching up with the timbanado that hit the Bay Area last month: 5 HdP galleries and about 6 videos; selected Mayimbe shots, soundcheck photos from PMG in SF, and now Tom's PMG gallery from the mind-boggling Santa Cruz show. Still to come are the videos from this show.

PMG comes to the Mendocino Music Fest this coming Friday, July 26.

Everything else is just rumors - maybe Manolito, maybe Revé - keep your fingers crossed, and don't forget Issac in Boston for free on Thursday (see previous post).

Book news - Tirso Duarte is done and on sale at createspace and LPM. Now about 50% done with Beyond Salsa Bass, Vol. 2. Volume 1 ended with Arsenio, and Volume 2 begins with the most adventurous Arsenio survey yet - the cierres and diablos of almost 50 tracks - Arsenio, my friends, Arsenio - what can I say? Everything keeps coming back to the blind tresero from Bolondrón. Volume 2 will also cover Cachao, Dizzy & Chano, and the 1950s Puerto Rican roots of salsa: César Concepción, Cortijo, Ismael Rivera and the two Titos. Stay tuned!  

Late-breaking news! - timba.com contributor Pepe Martínez reports that Yosvel Bernal has joined Havana d'Primera! Yosvel, the nephew of Van Van's trombonist Mundo, played teclado and then piano with Paulito FG for close to 10 years before moving to Spain. He has a gorgeous voice and has been recording a lot of original R&B flavored tracks. He will apparently sing coro with HdP and help with material. [Kevin Moore]

Sun, 14 Jul 2013 03:49:43 -0400
Issac in Boston - Free Concert cuban music, musica cubanaphoto by Tom Ehrlich

Thanks to Pedro Aizcorbe for alerting us that Issac Delgado and his group will play - for free - as part of Boston's 9-day Outside the Box festival on Thursday, July 19. 

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 23:32:45 -0400
Cuba in Nijmegen Starts Today! Cuba in Nijmegen / Hennes Latin Stage 2013
"Hennes celebrates his annual party and everyone is invited."

The Summer Festival Season 2013 is in full swing throught Europe now, and we are grateful to all the enthusiasts that are the driving forces behind these events. We who enjoy the fruits of their labor really have no idea how much time and effort these people put into it.

One particularly interesting case is the annual Hennes Latin Stage in Nijmegen, Netherlands. It is truly the result of the vision of a single person, Henri van Woerkum aka "Hennes". His love of Cuban music and dancing led him to decide to bring Cuba to the Netherlands. It is an ispiring story close to my heart. I think we'd all like to do something like this in our own hometowns. Click here to read the story of the origins of the Cuba in Nijmegen festival in Hennes' own words and see the full program of events for 2013.

It is a week-long Cuban music festival that takes place during the "international 4 day marches Nijmegen", the world's largest marching event, held since 1916 with particpants from 24 countries. The Cuba in Nijmegen event features DJs and top-name bands. Previous years have seen Elito Revé y Su Charangón (2012), Azúcar Negra 3 nights in a row (2007), and in 2008 Maravilla de Florida and Septeto Naborí  each had concerts for for 3 nights. The 2013 Cuba in Nijmegen festival starts today with concerts by Trio Canay at 6:30pm and Contrabando at 9:30 pm. Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor will perform 2 nights in a row July 15-16. You can also see Orquesta Salsabor, Tomi y Su Timba Light and Lariba. Each day begins with a DJ and then at 6:30 the concerts begin with Trio Caney. The headline band goes on at 9:30pm. I can't go this year due to work, but if you're in Europe, hop on a discount airline and take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy the concerts by night and the Nijmegen marches and surrounding events by day.

July 13 Contrabando
July 14 Trio Caney & Friends
July 15 Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor
July 16 Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor
July 17 Orquesta Salsabor
July 18 Tomi y su Timbalight
July 19 Lariba

Hennes Latin Stage 2013 - Nijmegen, NetherlandsHennes Latin Stage on the River Waal in Nijmegen, Netherlands

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 08:04:43 -0400
Burning Havana D' Primera Videos Esto es Havana D' Primera....de primera. The performances speak for themselves. Enjoy!

Se Te Olvidó Quien Soy

Claudia - Latin Jazz

Rosa La Peligrosa

Sabroso - Descarga Cachao

These videos are now loaded on the Havana D' Primera Video page in progress.
Videography by Tom Ehrlich = http://www.timba.com/users/tomehrlich
Mastering by Michael Lazarus = http://latinmusicmastering.com

Alexander Abreu - leader, vocals, trumpet
Tony Rodríguez - piano
Avis Tobías - bass
Harold Díaz Escobar - teclado
Keisel Jiménez - drums/percussion
Guillermo del Toro Varela - drums/percussion
Mauricio Gutiérrez Upman - drums/percussion
Amaury Pérez Rodríguez - trombone
Jannier Rodríguez - coro
Enrique Luis Pérez - coro
Rogelio Nápoles - guitar
Uyuni Martínez Romero - trumpet
Orlando Jesús Vázquez - trumpet
Angel Batule - sound engineer

Fri, 12 Jul 2013 06:16:12 -0400
Mayimbe Post-USA Tour Update Breaking News: Mayimbe Auditioning New Singers - As we receive photos, reports and feedback from the Mayimbe tour of the US, the breaking news is that front-line singers Marcelo (Marcelo Villar Cano) and Angelito (Ángel Ramírez Ballesteros) are not part of the band anymore, and that auditions are in process for their replacements. Maybe it's a case of soloist dreams after their incredible reception, as all their concerts were well attended and the band was tight and rehearsed, but at the end of the day this is the music business, and the ultimate currency of this business is "the song". Click here to view the official press release (in larger size) from Bárbaro Fines and the band.  Or here for the text version (look below the press image).

Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe - New singers - Cuban music news - noticias de musica cubana

Word from Florentine Gardens in Los Angeles - De La Habana a Peru a LOS ANGELES! Los Mayimberos ya nacieron en L.A. The Concert started just after after midnight on Friday night. Before the show, I had the chance to meet with the director Barbaro Fines. I was excited to meet with him and discuss this amazing band, his first smokin album "De la Habana a Peru" and his future projects. He seemed pretty emotional at times during our conversation, actually breaking out in tears at times, especially when describing his amazing story and odyssey of finding his passion for Cuban Music once again upon arrival in a foreign country named "Peru". He said "This first album I wrote on the floor of my worn down immigrant motel room after arriving in Lima. I wrote it thinking of my family, friends and my homeland of Cuba which I had left behind. This first album is for them and for my future family, I hope it is to one day become a part of my legacy". He says his second album named "Mensajeros de Olofi" is due out in the coming months (editor's note - may take some more time as the old singers will be replaced in these new tracks). It was amazing to witness this band, the energy and the audience as well. Mainly all young South American / Peruvian in attendance. The turnout was great, about 300-400 persons. The band sounded very tight LIVE as if I was listening to them in a studio. They opened with their Mayimbe intro song, followed up by the very popular "El Diablo" track!  Kudos to San Francisco / Bay Area though as when asked which city was his favorite on this U.S tour thus far, to my surprise, Barbaro's response was "San Francisco". "It has been our most significant and important stop along the tour, It's a very important plaza for Mayimbe" . 
On assignment for Timba.com
David "MANGO" González

New front-line singers for Mayimbe - Cuban Music News - Noticias de musica cubanaGirls get it on with Mayimbe at Florentine Gardens in Los Angeles

New front-line singers for Mayimbe - Cuban Music News - Noticias de musica cubanaBárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe at Florentine Gardens in Los Angeles

New front-line singers for Mayimbe - Cuban Music News - Noticias de musica cubanaDirector and pianist Bárbaro Fines lays it down in Elizabeth, New Jersey

New front-line singers for Mayimbe - Cuban Music News - Noticias de musica cubanaBárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe in Elizabeth, New Jersey

New front-line singers for Mayimbe - Cuban Music News - Noticias de musica cubanaBárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe at S.O.B.s in New York

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 06:04:31 -0400
Calixto in NY Tonight cuban music, musica cubanaphoto by Tom Ehrlich - 2009 - with the Afro-Cuban All Stars

Calixto Oviedo - of NG La Banda, The Afro-Cuban All Stars, Adalberto Álvarez y su Son, Pachito Alonso (to say nothing of Pacho himself), and Beyond Salsa Percussion - will lead a incredible band at New York's Jazz Standard club tonight, Tuesday, July 9, as part of the New Dimensions In Lazz Jazz, Cuban Drum Series.

It's an amazing band, featuring:

Gustavo Ramírez: played with NG, now probably the best timba pianist on the West Coast.

Mauricio Herrera: played drums with Paulito, 90 Miles, and many others; has now been tearing up the New York scene and YouTube for several years. Here he is with Pedrito Martínez. 

Carlos Averhoff, Jr.: Issac's ex-saxophonist and the son of NG La Banda's and Irakere's Carlos Averhoff, Sr.

Nestor Del Prado: an accomplished Latin jazz bassist, played on varios projects with saxophonist Carlos Averhoff, trumpeter Zoltan Grof, and vibist Pedro Alfonso among many others.

Catch them if you can. Calixto will also be in California later this summer playing a series of gigs with Edgardo Gambón's Candela.

Tue, 09 Jul 2013 06:01:08 -0400
Mezcla in Chicago Mezcla gave a very successful performance at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago on June 29, 2013.  Kudos to the OTS for its continued leadership role in presenting this music in Chicago. For a photo gallery and review of the concert, click here.

If you weren't at their California, Colorado or Chicago concerts, there is still a way for you to connect with the experience.  The group has set up a Kickstarter page to help defray some of the expenses of the tour (yes, this is an unusual step for a band from Cuba, but this was largely a "do-it-yourself" tour on their part), and as is the case with Kickstarter generally, some interesting premiums are being offered for different levels of support. The page will be active until July 22, so visit now if you are a fan of Mezcla
Click here for Mezcla's Kickstarter page, which includes a video.

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 12:55:42 -0400
Septeto Santiaguero in Europe! Septeto Santiaguero - Vamos pa' la fiesta

Septeto Santiaguero is back in Europe and their tour begins with a concert tomorrow in Nice, France at Festival Latino de A a Z. The list of confirmed concerts has been uploaded so look for a concert near you . The band's last CD, "Vamos pa' la fiesta", recently won at Cubadisco 2013 in the Traditional Tropical Music category. You can check out Bill's review here . Below is their excellent version of the classic Van Van hit "Qué le den candela".

Qué le den candela - Septeto Santiaguero

Fri, 05 Jul 2013 06:46:23 -0400
Trumpet Fireworks!
photo by Tom Ehrlich

HdP was only in the Bay Area for three nights but we have now have 5 galleries of world-class photos. Enjoy!

Kuumbwa Jazz Center Santa Cruz Tom Ehrlich
Yoshi's SF - June 1 - Part 1 Peter Maiden
Yoshi's SF - June 1 - Part 2 Peter Maiden
Yoshi's SF - June 1 Tom Ehrlich
Yoshi's SF - May 31 Tom Ehrlich
Fri, 05 Jul 2013 01:08:31 -0400
Meet Colibri - Swift, Beautiful, But Not So Tiny Now...
Cuba's recording industry has diversified rather dramatically during the past two decades, and one of the most fascinating new companies is Colibrí, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year by (among other things) receiving the largest number of awards (including the Grand Prize) at Cubadisco 2013. We are following them with great interest because they are attracting artists like Klimax, Havana d'Primera and Ernán López-Nussa.   

We have inaugurated a new section about Colibrí and its new releases, which you can visit here.

La industria de la grabación en Cuba se ha diversificado muy dramáticamente durante las últimas dos décadas, y una de las nuevas empresas más fascinantes es Colibrí, que celebra su décimo aniversario este año recibiendo la mayor cantidad de premios (incluyendo el Gran Premio) en Cubadisco 2013. Los estamos siguiendo con gran interés porque están atrayendo a artistas y grupos como Klimax, Havana d'Primera y Ernán López-Nussa.

Hemos inaugurado una nueva sección sobre Colibrí y sus nuevos lanzamientos, que se puede visitar aquí.   

Tue, 02 Jul 2013 16:20:23 -0400
Chucho Valdés' Border-Free on NPR's First Listen Border-Free, the sensational new album by Chucho Valdés & The Afro-Cuban Messengers, can now be heard on NPR's wonderful program First Listen. This innovative concept lets you try before you buy; you can listen to the album -not just a few seconds here and there, but the actual album - on NPR before it is formally released to the US market, and then if you purchase it through the program's links, a portion of the proceeds helps National Public Radio. This is good for all of us because the overwhelming majority of the radio programs that will play modern Cuban Jazz, Timba and other current Cuban music are on stations that are affiliated with National Public Radio. (See our album reviews in English and en español ,)  
You can hear NPR's First Listen on the web here.

The rest of radio isn't always a wasteland all the time, however: in March 2013, CNN radio's Music Notes did a very nice interview in English of Yosvany Terry and Gema Corredera about their recent releases Derramando Luz and Today's Opinion , and you can listen to it here.

Mon, 01 Jul 2013 06:36:19 -0400
TIRSO'S PIANO POWER UNLEASHED Volume 14 is the first volume of "Beyond Salsa Piano" to focus on Tirso Duarte, pianist, arranger, composer and singer for the great late-1990s incarnation of Charanga Habanera, recording artist and bandleader under his own name, and ex-singer for NG La Banda and Pupy y Los Que Son Son. This book covers the songs Charanguero mayor, Confianza and El bla bla bla, with note-for-note transcriptions of Tirso’s piano tumbaos and a NOTE-FOR-NOTE TRANSCRIPTION for his entire performance on El bla bla bla. The entire bass part is also transcribed as are the bass tumbaos for each piano tumbao. There is also extensive explanation of the conga marchas and the gear and efecto system used by the late 1990s Charanga Habanera.

Click here to download a sample pdf of the eBook 
Oprima aquí para descargar una muestra pdf del eLibro

Beyond Salsa Piano Volume 14 - Tirso Duarte Part 1 - Cuban music news - Noticias de musica cubanaAuthor Kevin Moore explains: "The obsession with Cuban music that led to the writing of the Beyond Salsa series began – in many respects – in February of 1999, on the night that I first heard Tirso Duarte play the piano. It was at the legendary Disco Azúcar club in Cancún, on the evening before my first trip to Cuba. Tirso’s piano‐playing was so astounding – and so moving – that I found myself incurably addicted by the end of the night. I’ve thought of very little else in the intervening 14 years – returning to Cuba, collecting music, studying Spanish, and studying Cuban and Afro‐Cuban music and history. On each of my subsequent trips to Cuba I met with Tirso and recorded many hours of MIDI files that, to this day, continue to yield amazing insights and on which the material in this book is based." 

He continues: "In this book we’ll study three songs: Charanguero mayor (Chapter 2), Confianza (Chapter 3), and El bla bla bla (Chapter 4). Charanguero mayor and Confianza have three completely different piano tumbaos each and El bla bla bla has four. Each tumbao is first presented on three staves, in its most basic form, along with the accompanying bass tumbao and chord symbols. The three‐staff notation corresponds to the “c” and “d” audio files, which have the piano alone in the left channel and the bass in the right. Next, the rhythm section context is discussed in a “Gear Studies” section, corresponding to the “e” and “f” audio files, which have the piano alone in the left channel and the full rhythm section in the right. Finally, each individual tumbao has a “Controlled Improvisation” section containing a series of variations as played by Tirso. The variations have corresponding “a” and “b” audio files with the left hand of the piano in the left speaker and the right hand in the right."

Sat, 29 Jun 2013 05:56:51 -0400
Manolin to Headline Chicago's Festival Cubano

The fourth annual Festival Cubano in Chicago expands to three days, and the closing act is Manolin, El Medico de la Salsa.  Read all about it here...

...and remember, Mezcla is at the Old Town School of Folk Music Saturday, June 29.  If you have been reading us lately, you already know why you need to go.  If you haven't, where have you been?

Fri, 28 Jun 2013 22:58:24 -0400
INTERACTIVO La Pelicula InteractivoThe members of Interactivo during the filming of Interactivo La Película

If you are already familiar with Interactivo, just skip down to the trailer for the documentary below. If you are not yet familiar with Interactivo, allow me to take this opportunity to introduce you. Interactivo is best described as an open project or collective of young musicians under the direction of pianist Roberto Carcassés. They have released two CDs: “Goza Pepillo” (2005) winner of Cubadisco 2006 in the categories Opera Prima, Fusion and Gran Premio and “Cubanos por el mundo” (2010), the subject of a documentary by Cuban filmmaker Tané Martínez. 

Many of the names of musicians that have worked with Interactivo will be familiar to you, such as Roberto Carcassés, Yusa, Telmary, Rodney Barreto, Yaroldi Abreu, Carlos Rios, Raul Verdecia, Julito Padrón, Francis del Río, Oliver Valdés and, Melvis Santa among others. Whereas turnover of musicians is generally a negative thing for timba bands, which are better able to consolidate their sound when the same musicians have been working together for years, it has actually been a strength of Interactivo. The experimental, fusion nature of their music benefits from the constant flow of new ideas as older members leave to do their own projects and new members enter with their own unique influences and visions. Roberto describes their music as “timba funk”.  It really seems to be a fusion of whatever the bandmembers find interesting, building on the musical heritage of everything from  Afro-Cuban traditional music to timba to jazz, funk, soul and hip-hop.

Thanks to Facebook, I stumbled across a link to “Interactivo La Película”, which is available at Vimeo. The documentary is about the release concert for “Cubanos por el mundo” and follows the band from rehearsals through the final show, including interviews with key members as well as cameos by guest artists such as X Alfonso and Rodney Barreto. I contacted Tané Martínez and asked her how the documentary came about.

The project of making “INTERACTIVO La Película” arose when Roberto Carcasses saw my documentary TENGO (2008) on the NYC-based Cuban singer Xiomara Laugart. From there, Roberto proposed that I document the release of their 2nd album "Cubanos por el Mundo" and I immediately started working with them. The social presence that I found in the lyrics of the songs really caught my attention. I wanted to make a movie about Interactivo and the release of the album, but also as a filmmaker I wanted to tell a story of migration, freedom and Cuban music.
Tané Martinez

You can check out the trailer below. The full 70-minute documentary is found at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/ilp/20517029

Note: the trailer is subtitled, but the full documentary is not.

Interactivo La Pelicula Teaser 1.40m from colorbox on Vimeo.

Interactivo, is a Cuban band directed by Roberto Carcasses. The release of their 2nd CD, “Cubanos por el Mundo”, leads us to a deep analysis of migration, freedom and Cuban music. 

Roberto Carcassés, Melvis Santa, Julio Padrón, Francis del Río, Oliver Valdés + Interactivo. 

HD 720, NTSC, Color, 70min
CUBA/USA 2011 

A Colorbox Productions Inc. Production
Director: Tanè Martìnez
Producer: Ivonne Cotorruelo
Script: Zulema Clares, Tanè Martìnez
Música: Roberto Carcassès & Interactivo
Director of Photography: Sveinung Bokn
Audio: Abel Calderòn
Editing: Tanè Martìnez
Post-production of Audio & Mixing: Rocio Garcia Pazos
Post-production of Images: Inti Martìnez
Still Photography: Denise Guerra
Graphic Design: Idania del Rìo

Tané Martínez (1981, Cuba) 
Director, Producer and Editor.
Studied “Performing Arts” at the Cuban National School of the Arts (ENA) and later studied "Film Direction” at the Training Center  of Cinematography of Mexico (CCC). 
Directed the fictional short  “Malos días mi amor” (2005) and the documentaries "Paquete Familiar" (2004), “Tengo lo que tenia que tener” (2008), “Interactivo La Película” (2011) and “Caminando Aragón” (2012). She is a partner and founder of Colorbox Productions Inc.

Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:19:11 -0400
Mezcla - Tom's Photos - Bill Report

Tom Ehrlich's gallery and mini-review from Mezcla's June 26 Oakland show is here, and Bill Tilford has more about the group (including video) , the tour and Saturday's show  in Chicago here.

Meanwhile, back in the Bay Area, Mayimbe plays Cócomo on Sat. 6-29, preceded by Rueda con Ritmo's classes on Mayimbe's unique approach and RcR's unique approach to dancing to it.

And in book news - the Tirso Duarte volume of Beyond Salsa Piano is now available in hard-copy - coming soon to eBook and audio download formats.

Fri, 28 Jun 2013 03:09:32 -0400
Nuevos Sencillos del Grupo Contrabando de Bélgica

Aquí Andrés "El Paisa" Fernández -- director del Grupo CONTRABANDO de Bélgica -- y el bajista y productor del grupo Dennis Nicles Cobas  hablan sobre el desarollo de los dos nuevos sencillos, "Fe con bendiciones", cantado por Fernando Blanco Moya (uno de los fundadores del grupo), y "No te precupes", cantado por Victor Pedroso. Además podemos ver parte de los dos videos en progreso.

In this interview Andrés "El Paisa" Fernández - director of the Belgian timba band CONTRABANDO - and their bassist and producer Dennis Nicles Cobas discuss the development of their two new singles, "Fe con bendiciones" (Faith with blessings), featuring the lead vocal of Fernando Blanco Moya (one of the founders of the group), and "No te precupes" (Don't worry), with lead vocal by Victor Pedroso. We also get a sneal peek at the new videos (for the singles) in progress. 

Fe con bendiciones - Sencillo 2013 - Canta: Fernando Blanco Moya
No te preocupes - Sencillo 2013 - Canta: Victor Pedroso

Letra y Música: Andrés Fernández Ordoñez "El Paisa"
Arreglo: Contrabando
Grabación y Mezcla: Dennis Nicles Cobas
Masterización: Michael Lazarus de http://latinmusicmastering.com

Twitter - http://twitter.com/Contrabandomus1
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/elpaisatrombon
Website - http://www.grupo-contrabando.com

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 03:56:35 -0400
New Mezcla Video and Kickstarter Campaign

Mezcla , which is performing in Oakland California June 26  and Chicago June 29, has just launched a Kickstarter campaign which includes some premiums for those of you who sign on as backers. The video (click "play" above) explains more with some live footage of band members here and some of Mezcla's music.   

Click here for the link to Mezcla's Kickstarter page. 

Wed, 26 Jun 2013 07:35:21 -0400
ENTREVISTA A MAYKEL BLANCO Maykle Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor in DenmarkMaykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor in Denmark 21 June 2013

Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor are performing tonight at Havanna in Berlin. this is the seventh concert of their extensive summer tour of Europe, which consists of 28 concerts. Check the remaining dates to find a concert near you.

Maykel Blanco & Alfonso ÁlvarezAlfonso Álvarez & Maykel Blanco

I caught up with the band at Søpavillonen in Copenhagen on June 21st where I took the opportunity to interview director Maykel Blanco. I have uploaded the video of the interview mixed with clips from the concert. Although the interview is in Spanish, non-Spanish speakers will hopefully enjoy the concert clips.  I will upload an English transcription of the interview and a full concert report later. You can follow Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor at their redesigned website in Spanish, English, Italian and French: www.maykelblanco.com/.

Mon, 24 Jun 2013 16:05:48 -0400
Tom's HdP Photos

More great Havana d'Primera photos: this time Tom Ehrlich's gallery from June 1 at Yoshi's SF

Book News: Tirso Duarte's first volume of Beyond Salsa Piano is done and in the publishing process - should go live within days.

Sun, 23 Jun 2013 22:14:31 -0400
Mezcla On Tour in the United States

Mezcla is an historically-important group from Cuba that has opened musical doors both there and in the United States.  As this is being typed (June 22), it is on the last day of a three-day run at Jazz Aspen Snowmass; they then play Oakland on June 26 and Chicago on June 29.  Bill Tilford interviewed Pablo this week, and you can read the transcript here.  Our Mezcla section also has a discography and videos. 

Sat, 22 Jun 2013 09:24:21 -0400
Tom Ehrlich's Danay Suárez Gallery Raúl Perales, Danay Suárez, Sandy Pérez

The rest of Tom's gallery on Cuban hip-hop sensation Danay Suárez can be viewed here.

Meanwhile, Mayimbe, after playing brilliantly to a massive crowd on June 1 in their US debut is coming back to the Bay Area's Club Cócomo on June 29. You can get $15 tickets with no service charge on Rueda con Ritmo's site. RcR's Ryan Mead and Sidney Weaverling are offering three classes on the afternoon of the Mayimbe show, including a study of Mayimbe's style called "Ritmos de Mayimbe". They always have brilliant insights on timba, rhythm and dance, several of which contributed greatly to the brand new Tirso Duarte edition of Beyond Salsa Piano, which should be out within 24 hours.  [Kevin Moore]

Sat, 22 Jun 2013 04:04:24 -0400
Calixto's Way Quintet - New Latin Jazz Cuban music news - noticias de musica cubana

Click here (oprima aquí) to visit the new Calixto's Way Quintet Tour Page


The Jazz Standard series "New Dimensions in Latin Jazz" presents the first installment of a Cuban drum festival with the US/NYC debut of the legendary Cuban master drummer  Calixto Oviedo and his all-Cuban jazz quintet,  Calixto's Way.

"One of the most important representitives of Latin jazz in the world of drumming, creator of a new Cuban sound...  Calixto Oviedo is the Elvin Jones of Cuba."
- All About Jazz, Italia

Calixto Oviedo is a living encyclopedia of Cuban drumming and percussion, from the profound roots of African-influenced folklore to the hottest dance music and the cutting edge of jazz. One of the creators of the dynamic timba rhythm when he was the drummer for the iconic Havana group NG la Banda, Oviedo's innovative and brilliant percussive techniques have made him the in-demand drummer for The Afro Cuban All Stars, Buena Vista Social Club, and Arturo Sandoval. His current project, an all-Cuban jazz quintet, is named for his critically-acclaimed album, ” Calixto's Way”.

Calixto's Way Quintet
Piano: Gustavo Ramírez -- Bass: Nestor Del Prado
Tenor Saxophone: Carlos Averhoff Jr  --  Congas and Percussion: Mauricio Herrera
Drums: Calixto Oviedo

Thu, 20 Jun 2013 14:37:42 -0400
WOMEX is the biggest international World Music Exposition and they have selected Los Van Van for the 2013 Artist Award. Timba.com wants to congratulate all Vananeros, past and present.  You have been and continue to be a source of joy and pride to the Cuban people, wherever they reside, as well as an inspiration to musicians around the world. Congratulations!

Thu, 20 Jun 2013 10:28:29 -0400
MANOLITO SIN FRENO TOUR Manolito y Su Trabuco - Sin Freno front coverFront cover of Manolito's new CD "Sin Freno"

Manolito y Su Trabuco are on their way to Europe "Sin Freno". The tour starts next week, June 27th, with a concert at the Croatian Summer Salsa Festival in Rovinj. Click here for the complete list of currently confirmed concert dates. The official release date of "Sin Freno" is still unclear and I don't know if they will have the CD with them. But take some extra cash just in case. Hardcopy CDs are getting to be a rare commodity these days, so you don't want to miss a potential opportunity to buy one! Stay tuned for more tour updates!

Track list:

Title Singer
La cosita Ricardo Amaray
Déjala Ricardo Amaray
Sin freno Lázaro "Mayami" Díaz
Chiquita Iván Rodríguez
Vivencias Ricardo Amaray
La cuenta no da Ricardo Amaray
No llores más Iván Rodríguez
Esta noche te quedas conmigo    Ricardo Amaray (bachata)
Farandulero Ricardo Amaray feat. Los 4
A la medida Lázaro "Mayami" Díaz
Cuéntale Ricardo Amaray
Payaso Lázaro "Mayami" Díaz

Stay tuned for more tour updates!

Wed, 19 Jun 2013 16:56:17 -0400
Buika's Chicago Concert Photo:  Javi Rojo

This was a blockbuster concert.  To read our review in English, click here.

El concierto fue un éxito de taquilla.  Para leer nuestra reseña en español, haz clic aquí.

Tue, 18 Jun 2013 01:32:46 -0400
all photos by Tom Ehrlich - Monterey Jazz Festival 2012
(concert photography not permitted at SF Jazz)

We've already established that Cuban bands sound as great as they do because their members usually play with only one band - rehearsing, recording and gigging hundreds of times by the time you hear them on tour. This phenomenon is increased by an order of magnitude in the case of the Pedrito Martínez Group. I last saw them in September at the Monterey Jazz Festival, at which point they had already played together in various combinations for over 10 years, and at which point they were as tight as any band I'd ever seen. Since then, they've recorded an album and played at least 150 gigs, many of them in the relaxed environment of the Guantanamera club in Manhattan. The level they've now reached leaves me at a loss for words. I've been staring at this paragraph for 45 minutes and I just can't find a way to describe this band - and if I could, you wouldn't believe me - but if you're anywhere between Monterey and Sausalito, you really need to jump in your car and get yourself to Santa Cruz for the Monday night show at Kuumbwa Jazz Center. $22 in advance - $25 at the door - starting at 7:00 p.m.

For economic reasons, the 7-piece timba format has become more and more common in the US: two percussionists instead of three, one keyboardist instead of two, a sax and a trumpet instead of a full horn section and musicians who double on vocals. But with their "timba conjunto" format, PMG does a lot more than approximate the sound of a big band with less manpower. They've created a new and very different type of group that improves on the 14-piece timba band in many ways. They have everything a timba fan craves - a relentless dance groove, bomba, presión, wicked piano breakdowns, beautifully harmonized hook coros, masterful lead vocals, wild dancing on stage, rhythm section gears, tempo changes, and efectos of unsurpassed quantity and quality. What they don't have are the things that a timba fan puts up with to get all that other good stuff. They're never too loud; you can always hear every voice and instrument clearly; they're always perfectly in-tune; and they're never formulaic or gratuitously glitzy or vulgar.

The biggest improvement is bassist Álvaro Benavides, whose playing has taken a quantum leap forward. His time has become so flawlessly solid that the band can - and often does - drop down to nothing but an ultra-syncopated bass tumbao without the slightest ripple in the groove. Even more astounding is his bomba, with a whole new palette of slides within slides, and thumps within thumps that lock in with Pedrito's low cajón to produce the kind of tembleque-inducing, throbbing hot groove that you'd expect from 1997 Issac or 1999 Bamboleo. His soloing has also become a major weapon in the band's arsenal.

Then there's Jhair Sala. There's no drummer or timbalero in this group; the only metal instrument is Jhair's hand-held cowbell, just as you'd find in the classic conjuntos of Arsenio and Chappottín. The absence of all the other sticked percussion decreases the overall volume by dozens of decibels and exposes all the nuances of the hand percussion, the vocal harmonies, the piano tumbaos, and of the exquisitely expressive hand bell itself. At many points in the set, a break would result in a second or two of complete silence filled only by some delectable little interjection from the campana. At one point, I nearly jumped out of my skin when he created the funkiest sound imaginable by rattling the stick inside of the bell as he put it down to pick up the bongó. He also had a way of playing at climaxes that at first fooled me into thinking that some thrilling new timbre had been injected into the upper range of the piano tumbao. I was also repeatedly stunned by the sheer concentration of synchronized efectos and bloques of all types between Pedrito's congas and Jhair's bell.

And then there's Ariacne. Ariacne Trujillo is a jaw-droppingly great pianist. She has full command over all of the innovations and vocabulary of timba, jazz, gospel, R&B,classical music, and a large palette of strikingly original ideas of her own, but what makes her so special - even by Cuban standards - is her time. It has to be witnessed to be believed. She's a one-woman version of El Tren itself. Over and over the band drops down to just piano - not piano and clave - not piano and güiro - not piano and kick drum - just piano - extremely syncopated piano. But it might as well be Van Van in their prime pounding out Te pone la cabeza - her time is that solid. And she might well be singing lead while she's laying down this torrential groove. Her voice is huge and in all ways virtuosic, but the instant she switches from lead to coro, all the stylized vocalizations disappear and she blends perfectly and luxuriously with the other three voices. Many strong lead singers are terrible at singing coro but Ariacne is one of the best coristas I've ever heard. She's also a tremendous dancer.

And then there's the boss ... it's hard to imagine that anyone on the planet could be as talented, or as talented in so many different ways, as Pedrito Martínez. He could be a world-class specialist as a dancer, a singer, a folkloric master, a pop music drummer or a songwriter, but he effortless combines all these roles into a perfectly balanced package - completely genuine, never contrived, always listening, always pouring his heart into every note, and always completely and utterly on fire. On fire! The man is a force of nature.

And then, finally, there's the band itself - possessed of an identity and a personality of its own greater than the sum of its parts. Is it a timba conjunto? Is it folkloric timba? Jazz timba? Folkloric jazz? Rumba con funk? Yes and no. It might be a new genre if not for the fact that it would be impossible to imitate without getting a group of world-class talents to play together thousands of times over a period of years. PMG takes the concept of "gear changes" to extraordinary lengths: just voices; just piano; just bass; bass and piano; just congas; conga and bongó; just batá; batá and bass; congas, bass and full-on guaguancó dancing. They change wildly from one combination to another; from heart-stopping bomba to four-part a cappella; from a hellacious timba piano breakdown to a 12/8 folkloric groove; from guaguancó to rock-solid popular dance music.

Last, and maybe most important, this band is alive and breathing - reacting with hair-trigger rapidity to every twist and turn in the musical road. I spoke with Paul Siegel, who's heard the band over 200 times - every night he hears something he's never heard before.

I can't wait to see what new miracles he hears for the first time at tonight's show. [Kevin Moore]

Mon, 17 Jun 2013 07:37:55 -0400
Pedrito Martínez in the Bay Area! Jahir Sala, Ariacne Trujillo, Pedrito Martínez, Alvaro Benavides - photo by Tom Ehrlich

If you've never seen the Pedrito Martínez Group, you're in for a treat. It's a quartet that plays with the energy, creativity and danceability of a full timba band, with just the right volume level - you can feel it but you don't need earplugs. They play in two of the best acoustic spaces in the world: the new SF Jazz hall and Santa Cruz's legendary Kuumbwa Jazz Center. You'll never hear timba played as well and SOUND as good and clean as you will in these shows.

The Pedrito Martínez Group plays SF Jazz Sunday night  then goes down to Kuumbwa on Monday  night. Meanwhile, in  a different hall in the SF Jazz structure, the López-Nussa Duo will play SF Jazz  tonight, and twice tomorrow, Sunday.

Sat, 15 Jun 2013 22:01:39 -0400
HDP Farewell Concert + Carlos Otero Birthday Celebration Miami is the "The Place" for Havana D' Primera's last show of their 2013 USA tour. This farewell concert is also a birthday celebration for Carlos Otero, a local hispanic television celebrity for Miami's AmericaTeVe channel 41.  La "cubanía" will be there in full force. 

For tickets call 305.642.6994 
The Place
833 SW 29 Avenue, Miami, FL 33135

HDP Farewell Concert + Carlos Otero Birthday Celebration - Cuban music news

Thu, 13 Jun 2013 19:42:57 -0400
Los López-Nussa in the Bay Area

(photo by Tom Ehrlich) The duo of Harold and Ruy Adrián López-Nussa played a great set at Kuumbwa tonight and will play SF Jazz four times: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and then two sets sandwiched around the Pedrito Martínez Group's show in the big hall on Sunday. Pedrito then goes down to Kuumbwa on Monday night.

Click Continue Reading for 5 more photos by Tom Ehrlich:

Meanwhile, Peter Maiden's second Havana d'Primera gallery is up here:

Thu, 13 Jun 2013 02:51:30 -0400
HdP in Kentucky

Havana d'Primera wrapped up this leg of its 2013 North America tour with a performance at Club Azucar in Louisville, KY.  The Kentucky Salsa All-Stars opened for the band. You can see our photo gallery and review here.

Wed, 12 Jun 2013 22:21:10 -0400
Meet Canela de Cuba

This almost-all-female band from Cuba plays it all - Latin Jazz, Folkloric, Música Bailable.  Their story, including some choice videos, is here.

Wed, 12 Jun 2013 14:42:45 -0400
Havana d'Primera Photos UPDATE: New video by Tom Ehrlich - "Havana D' Primera... SABROSO" - A Latin Jazz descarga loosely based on Cachao's "Las Boinas". Here Alexander employs a clever call and response maneuver with his trumpet and the audience, after taking a monster solo. Piano and percussion solos follow.

The first of three Tom Ehrlich galleries of Havana d'Primera in the Bay Area is now up: Friday at Yoshi's SF. Still to come are Saturday at Yoshi's SF and Tuesday at Kuumbwa Jazz Center. And don't forget Peter Maiden's great work from the Saturday show. Finally, several more super high resolution, LPM-mastered videos are coming soon.

                                          Keisel Jiménez - photo by Tom Ehrlich

Tue, 11 Jun 2013 19:39:05 -0400
Highlights of the Cubadisco 2013 Awards
This truly was an excellent year for recordings by Cubans around the world, and the results of Cubadisco 2013 reflected this fact in both the nominations and the list of winners.   You can read our complete article in English here.

Esto realmente fue un año excelente para grabaciónes por cubanos en todo el mundo, y los resultados de Cubadisco 2013 reflejan este hecho, tanto en los nominaciones y la lista de ganadores.  Se puede leer nuestro articulo completo en español aquí.

Sat, 08 Jun 2013 08:13:29 -0400
Dice Que Se Llama Rosa, Rosa, La Peligrosa

Videography by Tom Ehrlich of http://timba.com
Mastering by Michael Lazarus of http://latinmusicmastering.com

New song by Alexander Abreu & Havana D' Primera called "Rosa La Peligrosa", which will be included in their third album. One peculiarity of this song is that during the main coro section Alexander and the other singers lift one fist and turn, as if they were revving up a motorcycle. You will see it when they sing "Trabájala" (for example at 4:58).

Special thanks to Lisa Bautista and Jessi Abraham of Yoshi's San Francisco http://yoshis.com/sanfrancisco

Alexander Abreu - leader, vocals, trumpet
Tony Rodríguez - piano
Avis Tobías - bass
Harold Díaz Escobar - teclado
Keisel Jiménez - drums/percussion
Guillermo del Toro Varela - drums/percussion
Mauricio Gutiérrez Upman - drums/percussion
Amaury Pérez Rodríguez - trombone
Jannier Rodríguez - coro
Enrique Luis Pérez - coro
Rogelio Nápoles - guitar
Uyuni Martínez Romero - trumpet
Orlando Jesús Vázquez - trumpet
Angel Batule - sound engineer

Tema nuevo de Alexander Abreu y Havana D' Primera titulado "Rosa La Peligrosa", que será incluido en su tercer disco. Una peculiaridad del tema es que cuando cantan el coro principal Alexander and y los coristas suben un puño y lo tiercen, como si estuvieran acelerando una motora. Lo verás cuando cantan "Trabájala" (por ejemplo a los 4:58).

Fri, 07 Jun 2013 05:01:04 -0400
PREPÁRATE NUEVA YORK PARA LA DESCARGA DEL AÑO UPDATE: HdP in Santa Cruz tonight at Kuumbwa, 7:00 and 9:00 - Tom's and Peter's Mayimbe photos are now complete: Tom Ehrlich Mayimbe - Peter Maiden Mayimbe 

Havana D Primera + Mayimbe - New York - June 5 &amp; 6 - Cuban Music NewsDE LA HABANA A PERÚ... People of New York and New Jersey, after a truly INCREDIBLE and intense timba weeked in the San Francisco Bay Area. the word is BE READY! Havana D Primera is absolutely on fire with new material like "Rosa La Peligrosa" and Mayimbe is being welcomed with open arms, as this is the first time they come to the US. 

click here for tickets
oprima aquí para comprara boletos

S.O.B.s (Sounds Of Brazil)
200 Varick Street, Basement 
New York, NY 10014
212 -243-4940

Havana D Primera + Mayimbe - New York - June 5 &amp; 6 - Cuban Music News

Havana D Primera + Mayimbe - New York - June 5 &amp; 6 - Cuban Music News

Wed, 05 Jun 2013 16:28:44 -0400
Arsenio Rodríguez To Be Honored In New York

Serious students of the music and musicians with a sense of history already know why this is important. For those who aren't familiar with Arsenio, he was merely one of the most transformative figures in the history of Cuban popular music in the 20th Century.  You can read more about him and his many musical innovations in Kevin Moore's Roots of Timba article here. Arsenio did not die wealthy, and for decades his legacy was often neglected except by the many musicians who used his ideas and his music.  This honor is both appropriate and long overdue. 

Wed, 05 Jun 2013 10:24:33 -0400
Notes From The Jazz Front June 2013 A lot of exciting things for US listeners are coming soon:

Chucho Valdés will be touring the United States in support of the release of his latest CD with the Afro-Cuban Messengers , Border-Free .   This is a killer recording, and you can read our review here. The following US Tour dates have been announced:
June 21:  The Town Hall, New York, NY
Aug 10:  Stanford Jazz / Bing Concert Hall, Stanford, CA
Aug 13:  Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston, TX
Aug 14:  Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA

Although the López-Nussa family may not have the same level of name recognition as the Valdés family in the United States, it's not for lack of merit.  Two of them, Harold López-Nussa and his brother Ruy Adrian López-Nussa , are touring the US as a duo in June. You can read our review of Harold's wonderful 2011 recording El País de la Maravillas here. The following dates have been posted for that tour: 
June 12: Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, CA
June 13-16:  SFJAZZ Center, San Francisco, CA
June 18: Jazz Standard, New York, NY
June 19: An die Music, Baltimore, MD
                                               June 21: Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
(also scheduled at Montreal Jazz Festival, July 1)

In other news, Manuel Valera is finishing up another New Cuban Express recording in New York. The last one, which knocked our socks off,  was nominated for a GRAMMY in Latin Jazz last year along with a Cubadisco 2013 nomination in the same category.  Manuel tells us that the group will include mostly the same personnel as the first recording plus additional percussion and may be "perhaps even more Cuban".  We can't wait to hear this!

Over the weekend, we caught the Chuchito Valdés Trio in Chicago. These guys have some serious chemistry going on, and if they should happen to drop in on your town, check them out.  A review and photo gallery are here. 

Tue, 04 Jun 2013 09:05:11 -0400
Tonight: Havana d'Primera in Las Vegas - Mayimbe in SF UPDATE: Lots of youtube clips of HdP in Vegas. Their next show is Tuesday night (7:00 and 9:00) at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz.

First of all, the links: HdP is at Sam's Town Casino - Mayimbe is again at Café Cócomo as the climax of an all-day Peruvian celebration. Click continue reading for our already massive post of photos, video, links and concert reportage on both shows and related topics, with more coming soon. Left photo below by Peter Maiden, right photos of Rueda con Ritmo with Mayimbe by Tom Ehrlich. 

Click here to CONTINUE READING FOR MUCH MORE (para ver más fotos oprima aquí). This post will be updated several times this afternoon. Tom Ehrlich's and Peter Maiden's photo galleries under NEW STUFF are also works in progress and will get longer and more detailed over the next few days so keep refreshing your page.


Havana D Primera - Las Vegas - Sams Town

Mayimbe - San Francisco -  Café Cócomo

Sun, 02 Jun 2013 18:38:14 -0400
Rosa la Peligrosa! Havana d'Primera tore it up at Yoshi's last night and are back again tonight. Mayimbe starts at midnight at Cócomo - bring your Yoshi's HdP ticket stub for a $5 discount. Mayimbe also Sunday night. HdP goes to Vegas Sunday, then back to SANTA CRUZ Tuesday night at Kuumbwa Jazz Center. Here's the rest of the massive tour. [all photos by Tom Ehrlich]

Sat, 01 Jun 2013 17:48:00 -0400
EUROPE SUMMER 2013 Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son - Louven, Belgium posterAdalberto Álvarez Tour - click here for concert dates!

It's June and the European Summer tour season is beginning! Los Van Van is already on tour with a performance tonight in Karlsruhe, Germany. Click here to see the rest of the Van Van tour dates. Adalberto Álvarez arrives in Europe on June 5th promoting his excellent new CD "Respeto pa' los mayores". Don't miss your chance to see the new songs live, and bring some extra cash in case they are selling the CD at concerts! Here is the current list of confirmed concerts for Adalberto, but check back in a few days because there are more dates to be added! Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor will start their tour with a concert at La Bomba in Padua, Italy on June 12th. Here are Maykel's Tour plans. Manolito y Su Trabuco will arrive at the end of June for a June/July tour. Here are some of the concert dates for El Trabuco. And we have also published the first dates for Azúcar Negra who will be touring in July. More dates to come on the Azúcar Negra Tours page.

Calixto Oviedo is performing tonight in Copenhagen, Denmark with Latin Jazz Syndicate at Jazzhus Montmartre. Later this month he will begin a series of concerts and workshops in Japan becfore returning to the US for a series of summer concerts across the country. His current schedule can be found here. Also in the US, I'm sure no one has missed that Havana D'Primera is on tour as well as Barbaro Fines y su Orquesta Mayimbe. We will update the Mayimbe Tours page at the beginning of next week, so check back then. Tiempo Libre has also updated their tours page so check it out! And more info on the way as more groups confirm their tour dates so stay tuned!

Sat, 01 Jun 2013 11:08:38 -0400
¡CANDELA! Havana D' Primera llega a Los Ángeles Havana D Primera en Los Ángeles - Los Angeles Cuban Music Concert - Cuban Music NewsFor tickets click here -- Para boletos oprima aquí 

Hay un nuevo movimiento musical en Cuba, dice Alexander Abreu. Él debe saberlo pues está en el centro de esa revolución musical cubana que esta semana también se escuchará en vivo aquí en Los Ángeles. Es tan novedoso que aun no tiene nombre. Pero su principal impulsor tiene una sugerencia.

Alexander Abreu y HAVANA D' PRIMERA
Tonight - Doors open at 8pm

Club Los Globos 3040 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
Call 323.666.6669

Desde principios del año, la banda inicio una gira mundial que la ha llevado Asunción, Lima, Paris, Londres, Helsinki, Roma, Barcelona y otras ciudades europeas. Este jueves la orquesta de 14 músicos se presenta en Los Globos, un club sobre el bulevar Sunset en la comunidad de Silverlake con una ecléctica cartelera en que destacan actos latinos locales, nacionales e internacionales.

Agregó que cuando se enteró que la banda estaba de gira y planeaba pasar una vez más el por el Sur de California, no podía dejar pasar la oportunidad de amarrarla a Los Globos. "No soy salsero pero me encanta la música del Caribe. El grupo crea una fabuloso ambiente con salsa de mucha elegancia con influencias jazzistas", añade el promotor Ane Uno.

Eso se debe quizá a que el líder de la banda es un consumado trompetista que ha sido comparado con Louis Armstrong por TIMBA.com y otros medios. En Havana D'Primera Abreu canta y toca el instrumento metálico de viento. -- César Arredondo / Especial para La Opinión

Para leer el artículo completo en La Opinión pinche aquí.

Thu, 30 May 2013 14:41:27 -0400
Potpourri May 2013 First up:  Septeto Santiaguero, winner of the Cubadisco 2013 award for Traditional Tropical Music, has posted this video of Que le den candela on their official Youtube channel:


Next,  Buika, whose new release La noche más larga was just reviewed here, has the following US Tour dates with Iván Melón Lewis on piano and  Ramon Porrina on percussion:

Wed, June 12, 2013:   Howard Theatre, DC 
Thurs, June 13, 2013:   The Town Hall, NYC
(part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival)
Sat, June 15, 2013:  Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL (for a WYCC/PBS TV recording to be broadcast as part of the Musicology series). 

Finally, some items of interest to the Midwestern United States:

The Chuchito Valdés Trio is at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago from Thursday May 30-Sunday, June 2, 2013.   Chuchito is the son of Chucho, grandson of Bebo, and a killer pianist in his own right. Guaranteed not to leave you bored. 

Havana d'Primera is coming to Club Azucar in Louisville, KY on June 9.  At this writing, it appears that there may also be an opening set by the Kentucky Salsa All Stars, an emerging local favorite that includes some young Cuban Americans. 

Pablo Menéndez and the Mezcla Jazz All Stars are coming to the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago on Saturday, June 29, 2013.   One of their former vocalists, Angel d'Cuba, who now lives in Chicago and fronts his own group there, is scheduled to join the group for the performance. 

Wed, 29 May 2013 17:13:07 -0400
Hot from the YouTube Oven Actually, this freshly posted, nicely filmed YouTube is from Paris, but this is the lineup that's currently in the US Touring. Next posted show is at Los Globos in LA Thursday, although Sobredosis (the coach company) has posted something about Fulton and a second LA gig - let us know if you hear any details). [Kevin Moore]

Tue, 28 May 2013 03:57:07 -0400
New Releases by Buika and Chucho Valdés These two worked together in the wonderful El Último Trago, and now Buika and Chucho Valdés are about to separately release new CDs that are worth having:

La noche más larga, by Buika, is a delightful album that pairs her with Iván Melón Lewis and a supporting cast that includes several other notable Cuban musicians.  You can read our review in English here.

The year is young, but Border-Free, by Chucho Valdés & the Afro-Cuban Messengers, is already a contender for best new Latin Jazz release of 2013.  You can read our review in English here. 

Ellos trabajaron juntos en el maravilloso El Último Trago, y ahora, Buika and Chucho Valdés están a punto de lanzar por separado nuevos CDs que valen la pena tener: 

La noche más larga, por Buika, es un álbum delicioso en que ella trabaja con Iván Melón Lewis y un reparto que incluye a varios otros notables músicos cubanos.  Se puede leer nuestra reseña en español aquí. 

El año es joven, pero Border-Free, por Chucho Valdés & The Afro-Cuban Messengers, ya es un competidor para el mejor nuevo lanzamiento de Jazz latino de 2013.  Se puede leer nuestra reseña en español aquí.

Mon, 27 May 2013 19:55:39 -0400
LA CHARANGA HABANERA The dust is beginning to settle over Havana after the wave of changes sweeping over La Charanga Habanera in its twenty-fifth year: first the departure of Randy Malcom to Gente D'Zona, then the return of "Lachy Fortuna", Lázaro Maya, to La Revé and most recently and, perhaps most surprisingly, the departure of veteran charanguero Aned Mota to work on projects together with his wife, Diva Haila Mompie. But as Paulo FG might say las aguas tomaron su nivel with the return of Yulién Oviedo to the group, at least for the time being. Indeed Yulién himself sang no hay mal que por bien no venga, and the first video I've seen of the new line up shows us a move back to serious timba, the band having recently won at Cubadisco for their second foray into Latin pop called "Charanga Light 2". According to a recent interview with David Calzado on "23 y M", the new CD will be out soon and will get back to some serious timba. 

With that I leave you to ponder the world of musical chairs that is Havana's music scene, and with a sample of what is to come and a look at new singers El Dandy and El Guay; now re-named El Chapy Guay it seems. Say what you will about the hair styles but trust me, after the dance routine, you will enjoy what you hear! 

La Charanga Habanera - Partienda la tarima (estreno)

Mon, 27 May 2013 15:48:08 -0400

As is the case with Transcribe!, AmazingSlowdowner and Emulator X, if you showed Tutti's new music education software to a musician from the Dark Ages (2005 or earlier), he or she would pass out in disbelief. In the case of Tutti, you see a whole band playing together in little video squares on your screen. If you click on a musician, you now see four different camera angles of just that musician and there are many other bells and whistles, like slowing the tempo and viewing sheet music as it scrolls along under the video.

The best news is that Vasík Greif and Michael Caba - the Czech Republic geniuses who brought you the video for the books on Alain Pérez and Melón Lewis - have filmed Calixto Oviedo playing all four parts (each with four camera angles) for a variety of Cuban rhythms. This will be a Tutti product soon!

Vasík, Calixto and Marek Caba (Calixto cooked the pasta - a man of many talents)

Calixto will also be playing in New York on July 9 as part of the New Dimensions Jazz series with Calixto's Way, featuring Gustavo Ramírez (ex-NG), Armando Gola (ex-Manolín), Mauricio Herrera (ex-PFG) and Carlos Averhoff, Jr. (ex-Issac). What a band!

Meanwhile, Calixto's son, Yulién, has rejoined Charanga Habanera - at least for their upcoming tour, replacing the departing Randy Martínez - Aned and Lachy Fortuna have apparently also left the group.

Here's Yulién with fellow ex-Charanguero Tirso Duarte, the subject of the soon-to-be-released Beyond Salsa Piano Vol. 14, which, in addition to being packed with piano tumbaos that will leave you speechless, tells the great Charanga Breakup story in greater detail than ever before, with lots of juicy new details from the world's leading Charangalogist, Majela Serrano van der Heuson.


Havana d'Primera: Next tour stops are today in Folsom California, May 30, at the historic Los Globos club in LA, and the two nights at Yoshi's SF, next Friday & Sat. 5-31 and 6-1 and then in Santa Cruz at Kuumbwa on Tues. June 4. These last two will sell out soon. You can take your HdP ticket stub to Cócomo afterwards on Saturday to hear Mayimbe for $5 - and their set starts after midnight, so you can do it without missing a note. Sorry for being Bay Area-centric here, but seriously, Miami, you've got nothing to be centric about. Miami is absolutely the least supportive Cuban music city in the world. Hang your heads in shame - and your basketball team is also choking. Okay, enough cross-coastal trash talk for one post - but this ain't over! [Kevin Moore]

Sun, 26 May 2013 18:22:07 -0400
Danay Suárez Here's Tom's article (with video and photos) on hip-hop artist Danay Suárez and the Bay Area's DJ Leydis. They'll be performing on May 29 at The New Parish in Oakland.

Thu, 23 May 2013 17:45:02 -0400

The album Musae by Roman Filiu won the Cubadisco 2013 award in the Jazz category.
You can read our review in English here. 

The album Yo by Roberto Fonseca won Cubadisco 2013 awards in the categories Fusion and Recording.  You can read our review in English here.

Also, we are including our review of one of the other nominees in the Jazz category, Magic Place, by Alfredo Chacón.  You can read our review in English here.

Congratulations to all!

La grabación Musae por Roman Filiu ganó el premio Cubadisco 2013 en la categoría Jazz.
Se puede leer nuestra reseña en español aquí.

La grabación Yo por Roberto Fonseca ganó el premio Cubadisco 2013 en las categorías Fusión y Grabación. Se puede leer nuestra reseña en español aquí.

Además, estamos incluyendo la reseña de uno de los otros nominados en la categoría de Jazz, Magic Place por Alfredo Chacón.  Se puede leer nuestra reseña en español aquí. 

¡Felicitaciones a todos!


Thu, 23 May 2013 16:53:43 -0400

Today's Opinion by Yosvany Terry is the winner of the Cubadisco 2013 Award, Cuba's equivalent of the GRAMMY awards, in the category Jazz Cubano.  This is one of our own favorite Jazz releases from 2012.    You can read our review of the CD here.

Congratulations, Yosvany!  In the days to come, we will cover the rest of the Cubadisco 2013 winners and share some more CD reviews. 

Today's Opinion por Yosvany Terry  es ganador del premio Cubadisco 2013, equivalente cubano de los premios GRAMMY, en la categoría Jazz Cubano.  Este disco es una de nuestros favoritos del Jazz de 2012.  Se puede leer nuestra reseña del CD (en ingles) aquí

¡Felicitaciones a Yosvany Terry !  En el futuro cercano, vamos a cubrir el resto de los ganadores en Cubadisco 2013 y compartir también mas reseñas de CDs.

Mon, 20 May 2013 09:43:32 -0400

Pasaporte by Havana d'Primera is the winner of Cubadisco 2013, Cuba's equivalent of the GRAMMY awards, in the category Popular Dance Music.   You can read our review of the CD here.

Vamos pa' la' Fiesta by Septeto Santiaguero is the Winner of Cubadisco 2013, Cuba's equivalent of the GRAMMY awards,  in the category Traditional Popular Music.  You can read our review of the CD here.  

Congratulations to both of these excellent groups!   In the days to come, we will cover the rest of the Cubadisco 2013 winners and share some more CD reviews. 

Pasaporte por  Havana d'Primera es ganador del premio Cubadisco 2013, equivalente cubano a los premios GRAMMY, en la categoría Música Popular Bailable.   Se puede leer nuestra reseña del CD aquí. 

Vamos pa' la fiesta por el Septeto Santiaguero es ganador del premio Cubadisco 2013, equivalente cubano a los premios GRAMMY, en la categoría Música Popular Tradicional.   Se puede leer nuestra reseña del CD aquí. 

¡Felicitaciones a los dos grupos excelentes!  En el futuro cercano, vamos a cubrir el resto de los ganadores en Cubadisco 2013 y compartir también más reseñas de CDs. 

Sun, 19 May 2013 13:48:13 -0400
New York Strikes Back with a TIMBA Double-Punch As news of the San Francisco timba trifecta makes it to the East Coast, New York strikes back with an incredible double-header to match El Pikete and Havana D'Primera in Miami...!!!

Direct from Lima Perú, and following their USA debut in San Francisco, Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe will open for Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera BOTH NIGHTS at S.O.Bs in New York City. The SOBs website isn't updated yet but you can...

Click here for tickets -- Oprima aquí pata comprar boletos
Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera y Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe
Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe opening for Havana D'Primera @ S.O.B.s in New York - June 5 & 6 - Cuban music news - Noticias de musica cubana

Fri, 17 May 2013 20:24:23 -0400
UNBELIEVABLE WEST COAST TIMBA TRIFECTA While Miami is working itself into a veritable frenzy in anticipation of the upcoming Havana D'Primera plus El Pikete on Friday the 24th (see video below), San Francisco...yet again...proves itself as the top market for hardcore Cuban Timba with an unbelievable trifecta on SATURDAY JUNE 1rst: two (2) Havana D' Primera shows at Yoshi's SF at 8 and 10pm, to be followed by -- for the very first time in the USA and their first stop of their USA tour -- Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe from Lima Perú, just a few minutes away at Café Cócomo for an 11:45 show. 

Take your Havana D'Primera ticket stub and get $5 off at the door for the Mayimbe 11:45pm show !! We'll be seeing you there. All west coast timberos and timberas will be dancing FULL FORCE. Mayimbe has a second show at Cócomo on Sunday as well. 

For advance Mayimbe tickets click hereBárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe at Café Cócomo - Saturday June 1rst 2013 - Cuban music news - Noticias de musica cubana

Coast to Coast TIMBA !!!  --  Havana D' Primera  --  El Pikete --  Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe

Thu, 16 May 2013 07:16:09 -0400
Tom's Review of Sabor de mi Cuba

Carlos Medrano is a very talented Cuban musician currently living in the Bay Area. He returned to Cuba to produce a very cool album with his old compays, including Alexis Bosch of Havana Ensemble and singer Aldo Isidro Miranda of Azúcar Negra and Adalberto Álvarez fame. Click here for Tom's review.

Mon, 13 May 2013 02:30:16 -0400
Paulito with Mayito and Lele - 1997 Carlos must have a time machine to keep coming up with this stuff. This is more from the concert - the only known video concert - with the insanely great Sergito Noroña on piano (he played on Con la conciencia but left the group in Jan. 1998 - this concert is Dec. 1997). Mayito and Lele, Sr. both sit in. [Kevin Moore]

Keepers of the Flame - Chuck Silverman is relaunching his Keepers of the Flame Cuban Rumba Drumming Traditions project. This could be amazing. Please check it out and consider helping in whatever ways you can.

Sat, 11 May 2013 18:59:23 -0400
Pepitín y su Q'mbachá Pepitín y su Q'mbachá

Pepitín y su Q'mbachá have another single out. "No lo hagas más dificil" was composed by Pepitín and arranged by Lino Lores, who is producing the album for Q'mbachá. The septeto has recorded three songs so far. It is slow going since they are financing the project themselves, but the album will be worth waiting for. Pepitín is one of the most talented young soneros in Cuba. With his distinctive voice, he worked with Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor and Manolito y su Trabuco before deciding he wanted to start his own septeto to promote son cubano with a touch of timba. So be patient and enjoy the clip below!

Thu, 09 May 2013 12:41:27 -0400
Ex-NG La Banda Singer GERARDO CONTINO this Sat. in NYC Ex-NG La Banda Singer GERARDO CONYINO plus special guests May 11 New York Cityclick here for tickets -- oprima aquí para taquillas

VAYA CALENTANDO LOS MOTORES para Havana D' Primera en Nueva York Junio 5 y 6. This CD Release Party from Ex-NG La Banda singer Gerardo Contino features special guests Xiomara Laugart (vocalist) and percussionist Luisito Quintero. In Cuba, Gerardo also sang with Charanga Forever and Son Yoruba. The gig will take place at the World Music Institute on 509 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Tix are only $25.

Here's a short list of the musicians joining Gerardo: Axel Tosca Laugart (piano) - John Benítez (bass) - Roberto Quintero (Congas) - Luisito Quintero (Drums & Timbal). Pianists Oriente López and Manuel Varela will also make an appearance. 

Here's a cool video of Gerardo singing "La Chica Red Bull" with his NYC band. Axel Tosca and John Benítez are in the video as well. Video courtesy of our friend Martin Cohen (Congahead). 

Tue, 07 May 2013 13:44:55 -0400
Cubadisco 2013 2012 was an excellent vintage for recordings from Cubans both in Cuba and around the world, and the nominees in Cubadisco 2013 reflect this fact.  Timba.com is pleased to shine a spotlight on the categories of greatest interest to our visitors in addition to the entire official list of nominees. To read the article in English, click here.

2012 fue una excelente cosecha para las grabaciones de los cubanos tanto en Cuba como en todo el mundo, y los nominados en Cubadisco 2013 reflejan este hecho. Timba.com se complace en ofrecer un enfoque en las categorías de mayor interés para nuestros visitantes, además de toda la lista oficial de los nominados.Para leer el articulo en español, haz clic aquí.

Fri, 03 May 2013 23:41:25 -0400
La Timba Criolla La Timba Criolla

For some time now I have been continuing to call Havana the Capital of Timba. But I am beginning to think it's time for me to look at this as the Roman Empire with two Capitals: Havana = Rome and Lima = Constantinople. Another serious timba band has been making waves in Lima: La Timba Criolla. The band writes their own material with a classic 90s timba feel and professional production and presentation. 

LTC is made up of a combination of Cuban and Peruvian musicians, some with a conservatory background and others "timberos naturales". Director and pianist Jairo Betancourt, bassist Amarat Stuart Aguila and drummer Manuel Alejandro Moreno "Hueso" are all alumni of Michel Maza y la Tentación. Lead singer Anthony Muzantes is a well-known Peruvian singer as well as being the composer/arranger of the songs. I am very impressed with his work. He is only 20 years old but you can tell that he knows his timba! Other band members: Williams Nicasio "Macarito" - congas and Percy "Chincilla" - djembe/campana are both from Peru Negro and the percussion is rounded off by well-known Peruvian percussionist Marco Antonio Di Maria. The horn section consists of two trumpets, trombone and sax: Roman Coronado, Pedrito Meza, Fernando Shimabuku and Juancito Rondon. Coristas are Adhemir Charun Rivas and Jerson Jeff. 

La Timba Criolla will be releasing their CD "Llegó el Timbón" next month, so stay tuned for more information about the band. In the meantime I leave you with a taste of LTC en Vivo! A gozar!

La Timba Criolla live @ Persepolis 2013

Wed, 01 May 2013 10:25:07 -0400
Contrabando Tour Dates Contrabando Abriendo Caminos

Contrabando is one of Europe's leading timba bands. Under the direction of Andrés Fernández "El Paísa", Contrabando has released two CDs and has maintained a steady flow of gigs. They will be touring Europe all summer. Click here to find a concert near you. Check out the video below to see what you have to lok forward to.

Contrabando Live @ "Aquí Cuba" 2012

Wed, 01 May 2013 09:38:33 -0400
Breaking News: EL PIKETE to open for HDP in Miami  El Pikete opens for Havana D Primera at La Covacha - May 24 in Miami - Cuban Music News - Noticias de la musica cubana

Miami is in for a real TIMBA treat..... El Pikete has been re-activated with all new music from composer / arranger, co-leader and electronic wind instrument (e.w.i.) player Jeans Valdés, AND THEY ARE OPENING FOR HAVANA D' PRIMERA at La Covacha on Friday May 24th !!!

Many fans will immediately recognize some of the new members as they are heavyweights of the genre in their own right. Reinier is an all-star veteran from Paulito F.G. and the Cuban Timba All-Stars, Ivette was the piano player for the Canadian timba band D'talle, Michel is from Havana Power Band, El Kid is ex-Tiempo Libre....not to mention El Pikete itself is Manolín El Médico's band when not backing Manolín. Another real treat is their new female lead Ingrid Leiva (any relation to Pío Leiva?), as Hany is expecting her first child. 

** UPDATE - Ingrid Leyva Fuentes used to be the lead singer for Azucar Negra (Limonta's project) and you can see her in the video I just posted under the band list... Enjoy! El Pikete's lineup is shaping up to be a a new all-star timba group.

CALL 305-594-3717 for tickets or click here = EL PIKETE & HAVANA D' PRIMERA at La Covacha

Here are the new members / aquí los integrantes del (nuevo) PIKETE:

Rol - InstrumentoNombre
E.W.I., Co-leader Jeans Valdés
Congas, Co-leader Alexis "Mipa" Cuesta
Vocals Michel Calvo
Vocals Ingrid Leyva Fuentes 
Vocals Joaquín "El Kid" Díaz
Bass Victoriano Nápoles
Violin Jorge Carlos Oviedo
Piano Ivette Porra
Batería & Timbal Reinier Guerra
Trombone William Paredes
Trombone Eduardo Fonseca
Trumpet William Polledo
 Trumpet Mauricio Del Monte

Lead singer Ingrid Leyva Fuentes with Azucar Negra

El Pikete opens for Havana D Primera at La Covacha - May 24 in Miami - Cuban Music News - Noticias de la musica cubana

Tue, 30 Apr 2013 17:08:24 -0400
Entrevista a Calixto Oviedo Calixto Oviedo Entrevista a Calixto Oviedo

Calixto Oviedo began 2013 with a concert in Boulder, Colorado. From this collaboration a new group was born, Calixto Oviedo y su Orquesta, that has already caught the attention of timberos and Cuban music fans around the world. Calixto took some time from his schedule, which is always full, to tell us a little about the project, the objectives of the group, their repertory and plans for recordings and concerts. Click here to read the interview.

Mon, 29 Apr 2013 15:26:46 -0400

HOW TO MAMBO with the new Tutti Music Player
The new interactive, state-of-the-art multimedia standard for music instruction. 
versión en español = oprima aquí
para leer sobre este nuevo tocador y los ritmos afro-cubanos gratis

Last November I attended the Billboard FutureSound Conference in San Francisco and there was one product that totally blew me away... the TUTTI MUSIC PLAYER. A company called Tutti Dynamics has developed an interactive music player for Mac, PC (Windows) and iPad that enables students to practice playing their instruments with master artists. If you are a serious student of Afro-Cuban music this will blow you away! 

In a special partnership with TIMBA.com, Tutti is offering Timba.com readers a complimentary introductory offer to access two free Latin grooves (mambo & afro-cuban) from the Tutti Essential Grooves collection. CLICK HERE to take advantage of this FREE OFFER. 

We wiil keep you updated as more rhythms become available. Just click on the Tutti link on the top right of every page (next to the language flags) to the latest news from Tutti.

Tutti Music Player &ndash; play with masters &ndash; changing the way students around the world practice and play music. An interactive video music player for education and learning.

Sat, 20 Apr 2013 20:10:35 -0400
Havana Blue  

(photo by Kent Richmond courtesy Chicago Jazz Philharmonic)

Orbert Davis of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and Frank Chaves of River North Dance Chicago had already performed diligent work managing expectations about what to expect and what not to expect from Havana Blue  during interviews in the press and a roundtable discussion at the Instituto Cervantes leading up to the performance, so this writer went into the Auditorium Theatre understanding that this was to be an original interpretive work rather than a series of covers of Cuban music and dance, and he was prepared to receive the work on its own terms.  Nevertheless, it is difficult for anyone who works with Cuban music to watch and listen to "Cuban-inspired" works without also considering the relationships that have unfolded for more than a century between Cuban performers and their American counterparts as well as Cuban and North American music, so this review will speak to both this performance and the bigger picture as well. 


Fri, 19 Apr 2013 01:11:13 -0400
Havana D' Primera Official USA 2013 TOUR DATES Havana D Primera Official USA 2013 Tour Dates

click HERE for all official tour dates (so far) -- oprima aquí para ver las fechas

Ok IT'S ON and it's OFFICIAL. ALL VISAS APPROVED. No "pasaporte" required to get down with Alexander Abreu and Havana D' Primera. The tour opens with a performance at the Cuban Cultural Fest in Tampa on May 18 and runs through Miami, Folsom, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, New York, Virginia, Atlanta and Kentucky.   We'll be seeing you on the road people !!

Fri, 12 Apr 2013 18:21:23 -0400
Pachito Alonso y sus Kini Kini Pachito Alonso & Sus Kini Kini Tour

Pachito Alonso & Sus Kini Kini begin a short promotional tour of Europe in two weeks. Click here to see the concert dates/cities . They will perform in Italy, France and Spain. The band has a new CD "30 Años con mi Tumbao". I don't know if they will be selling it at the concerts, but bring some extra cash just in case! If they are not coming to your country in April, don't despair! They will be back for a full-length tour from August 8 - September 1. We will publish those concert dates as soon as they are available.

Wed, 10 Apr 2013 10:20:00 -0400
Changüí de Guantánamo Working on New CD Attention changüiceros del mundo! Changüí de Guantánamo is recording a CD of all new compositions with the help of Gabriel Garcia of Changüí del Guaso Productions. The first single has been released at iTunes and Amazon, and a video is up at YouTube. Changüí de Guantánamo is the oldest professional changüí group in the world! They are currently in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on a year-long contract at La Bodeguita del Medio. So if you are in Mexico, stop by and see them! You don't even have to pull a Beyonce to do it! And keep your eyes open for news of a possible US Tour!

Mujer Caprichosa

Tue, 09 Apr 2013 17:04:55 -0400
The GRAMMY Foundation's Music Educator Award

(Courtesy of The Recording Academy/ photo by Kevin Winter, WireImage.com 2013)

One of the things that makes the music we write about here so wonderful is the fact that music education has played an important role in shaping the musicians as far back as the days of Cachao, who in addition to his revolutionary musical roles with the early Mambo and the later Descargas was a classically trained bassist who played with the Philharmonic.  Bebo Valdés, whose passing we wrote about recently in this blog, was also trained in the Conservatory.  Formal musical education which included classical training also helped nurture countless members of the new generation of musicians who have brought us Songo, Timba, Jazz etc.   

In the United States, it isn't exactly a secret that music education in the schools has fallen on hard financial times, so we applaud any measures that help recognize and support its importance. The GRAMMY Foundation and The Recording Academy recently unveiled a new Music Educator Award, and the winner will be selected  by a process that includes public participation in the US in nominating the candidates.  

Many of our readers have children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren etc. that may or may not become members of the next generation of Jazz and Latin music performers depending upon the level of support and education that they receive from us and those who are teaching them how to sing and play.  If you are in the United States and  know of a music educator there who has made a difference in their lives, this is your chance to help them get more recognition for their efforts, and there is more than a plaque and a ceremony at stake for them – the winner, to be named in 2014, will also receive a $10,000.00 honorarium, and nine finalists will receive $1,000.00 each.  (The funding for the awards is being supplied by the Ford Motor Company Fund.)

For more about the awards process, the rules, who is eligible, and how to nominate your choice (nominations are open until April 15), visit http://www.grammymusicteacher.com

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 09:40:40 -0400
Ernesto Oviedo                                                                    photo by Tom Ehrlich

Singer Ernesto Oviedo is the son of the son pioneer Isaac Oviedo (founder of Sexteto Matancero) and the brother of long-time Revé tresero Papi Oviedo. Tom Ehrlich has been raving about his vocal abilities for several weeks. Oviedo will be singing with members of the John Santos group at the Brazilian Cultural Center on April 28th in Oakland

Sat, 06 Apr 2013 15:35:44 -0400
El Día Internacional de la Timba! Today we celebrate a quarter century of TIMBA! On this date in 1988, NG La Banda was officially formed and thus we consider it to be the official birthday of Timba. El Tosco & NG celebrated with a concert last night in Havana. We want to take this opportunity to thank José Luis Cortés for his contribution to the evolution of Cuban music! Gracias Maestro! Y que sigas 25 años más! Here is a potpourri of the album "En la calle" from the very early days of timba...para recordar!

Thu, 04 Apr 2013 03:47:33 -0400
Part IV of Afro-Cuban All Stars at SF Jazz

Tom saved some of his most colorful and dramatic shots for this final installment. An amazing tour and SF Jazz's new facility is an amazing venue. Pedrito Martínez will be there in early June.

Thu, 04 Apr 2013 01:44:04 -0400
Andy Gola & Colé Colé in Colombia Andy Gola & Colé Colé

Andy Gola & Colé Colé are currently in Colombia and begin their visit with a concert this Friday in Bogota at Quiebracanto at 10:00 pm. They will be bringing their mix of salsa, timba and son to the Colombianos who, like the Cubans, know how to party! If we hear about more concert dates we'll publish the information.

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 15:11:29 -0400
Buena Fe - Dial Buena Fe - DIAL "Dial", Buena Fe’s eighth studio CD, was released one month ago on iTunes, Amazon MP3, Spotify and other digital download sites. To my knowledge the hardcopy is only available at the EGREM stores in Cuba and at Buena Fe concerts. If you have the opportunity to score a hardcopy, take it. I did and the cover art by Jesús Lara is worth the purchase price!

I have spent a couple of weeks agonizing over the CD review, not because I didn't know what I wanted to say, but because I didn't know how to say it to really get my point across. As I was working on the review, I took the opportunity to ask Israel and Yoel a few questions. Click here to read the short interview with Buena Fe.

The first official video for the CD was released just over two weeks ago, and a video says more than a thousand words. "La culpa" is a brilliant guaguancó-rock fusion and a perfect example of Buena Fe's talent for combining intelligent lyrics with captivating music. The video, below, was written and directed by Ian Padrón and features the participation of Clave y Guaguancó and Havana Queens.

Click here for my review/report on “Dial” .

Tue, 02 Apr 2013 07:50:00 -0400
BEYOND SALSA BASS VOL.1 RELEASED!! The first bass book in the BEYOND SALSA series of Afro-Cuban musical instruction methods, Beyond Salsa Bass Volume 1 (For Beginners) includes bass tumbaos for each of the piano tumbaos (aka, montunos) in Beyond Salsa Piano, Vol. 1, and contains many additional bass tumbaos plus other exercises, making this first bass volume is more than twice as long (compared to Beyond Salsa Pianio Vol.1). The book begins by categorizing the most common Latin bass tumbaos by their rhythms and then proceeds to tell the history of Latin music from a bassist’s perspective, with notation for bass tumbaos from each era covered: changüí, rumba, son, danzón, big band and son montuno (a detailed study of Arsenio Rodríguez). This is the first book in the new standard for contemporary Latin bass styles. 186 pages (186 páginas) with 212 audio tracks (212 pistas).

Click here to download the FREE sample pdf 

Click here to download FREE introductory bass audio samples 

Click here to visit Kevin's Beyond Salsa Bass Vol.1 hard copy book page 

Beyond Salsa Bass Volume 1

The Audio product includes a fast and slow file for each bass tumbao in the book as well as various example files corresponding to the text. Note that for every piano tumbao in our sister volume, Beyond Salsa Piano, Vol.1, there is a corresponding bass tumbao in the Beyond Salsa Bass, Vol. 1 book and audio product. In these cases, the piano audio is included in one channel. In other cases, the audio consists of just bass and clave. If this seems confusing, think of it this way: Beyond Salsa Piano Vol. 1 is a subset of Beyond Salsa Bass, Vol. 1. The bass book has a bass tumbao for every piano tumbao in the piano book, but the bass book also has many more additional tumbaos for tracks not covered in the piano volume. 

For more info on the BEYOND SALSA series ploease visit = http://beyondsalsa.info

To read a more detailed introduction to BEYOND SALSA BASS Vol.1 please click on the continue reading link below (bottom right).......

Mon, 01 Apr 2013 04:57:18 -0400
Ivan Llanes & The Cuban Way Ivan Llanes played drums and percussion with Maraca  and Sur Caribe in Cuba and moved to New York in 2012 to pursue a solo career.  His new group, Ivan Llanes & The Cuban Way, will present its live public debut performance at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on Friday, April 5 as part of the museum's First Fridays series. The evening begins as a kickoff of the upcoming Havana Film Festival New York at 6pm with a screening of David Grubin's 2012 documentary film Havana, Havana!.  This is followed by the debut live performance of Ivan's group as well as music by DJ Asho.  Ivan tells us that the performance will include two original compositions along with some Cuban Jazz standards, some Timba Cubana and some traditional Cuban music (Danzón, Bolero, Cancion etc.).   The concept of the group is to bring a Cuban feel to a wide range of music from Timba to Jazz to Blues and other styles. 

Ivan hopes to produce a full recording of the group over the course of the next year.  As a taste of things to come, it recorded a demo video in Martin Cohen's studio last year: 

This group should be an exciting addition to the scene, and entrance to the event is free. 

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 00:43:34 -0400
Great interview with Walfredo de los Reyes This link goes to Emiliano Echeverria's full show . The interview - covering Bebo Valdés, Güillermo Barretto, Cachao and much more - starts at the 26 minute mark. For more on Emiliano, click here.

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 16:57:14 -0400
¡Louisville Baila!

The last time this writer saw this group in the Midwest was literally during the last millennium, and he still remembered the waves of excitement that swept the hall back then, so even though the nearest concert this time was a five-hour drive away, he decided to make the trek to Louisville.  Was it worth the drive? Read on to find out and see our concert photos...


Tue, 26 Mar 2013 01:12:32 -0400
Yes, It Had To Be Manolin Eventually... Better Late Than Never Dept:
Manolin 's Tiene Que Ser Manolin, released last year, has something for everyone, and we do mean every one.  Could that be a problem?  Click here to read our take on that question.


An excellent Latin Jazz recording, Guisando Caliente's Coolantro , recently came to our attention after eluding our notice for a couple of years.  The trail also leads to one of the best Afro-Cuban Jazz programs currently on radio (and strreaming on the web) in the United States.  Click here to read the review.

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 11:55:24 -0400
Michel Robles & El Sello Michel Robles & El Sello

Peru continues to produce timba groups writing original material. Michel Robles & El Sello recently release the official video for "La Bomba Que Tengo". The first coro is a nod to "La Bala de BIlly", The song is very danceable and has been well received by timberos and DJs. Michel has also recorded a pilón/salsa titled "Diva de la noche" with Alexander Abreu.

Twenty-nine year old Michel Robles Ramos was born in Havana. In 2000 he went to Lima where he spent eight years working with Los Conquistadores de la Salsa. During this period he has developed a reputation in the artistic community and has won various awards in vocal competitions on Peruvian television

In January 2011 he decided to form his own band of which he is director, lead singer, composer and arranger. El Sello has 13 members: two Cuban singers, two Peruvian singers and the rest of the muscians are Peruvian. The format is timbal, congas , bongo , two trompets , sax and trombone. Michel tells us that the band plays Cuban music with rhythms influenced by songo, pilón, son and changüi. 'They have developed a following in Lima and perform weekly gigs at various clubs. Michel says that the strengths of the band are having a good rhythm, a good show and charisma, but above all the connection with their audience. You can learn more about Michel Robles & El Sello at their Facebook page . Here I leave you with the video for "La Bomba Que Tengo".

Michel Robles & El Sello "La Bomba Que Tengo"

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 10:43:52 -0400
Bebo Joins The Descarga Upstairs (Photo courtesy Bebo's Facebook profile)

One of the true giants of Cuban music, composer/bandleader/pianist Ramón Emilio Valdés Amaro, whom we all know as Bebo Valdés, passed away on Friday, March 22 in Sweden at the age of 94.

Bebo was born in Quivicán, Cuba on October 9, 1918, slightly less than a month after another key figure in the music, Israel "Cachao" Lopez.  Bebo began playing piano at about 7 years of age and entered the conservatory in Havana at age 16.  He later began playing piano in the nightclubs of Havana in the 1940s and worked as an arranger in the mid 40s with the great Ernest Lecuona.   From the late 1940s to the late 1950s, he was at the Tropicana, and his band, Sabor de Cuba, was one of the groups that regularly backed legendary performers such as Pio Leyva and Beny More. He was also the arranger and pianist for Rita Montaner during that period. In 1960, he went to Mexico for a time where he worked in television and the studios and ultimately settled into a decades-long residency in Stockholm in 1963.   

Bebo helped further the development of the Mambo and also created an additional rhythm, the Batanga, which competed with the Mambo in Cuba.  He also participated in some of the historic Afro-Cuban Jazz recording sessions commissioned by Norman Granz in the 1950s and was a pioneer in the use of the bata in popular dance music. In the late 1950s, he also made a recording with Nat King Cole. He endured a period of relative obscurity internationally after moving to Europe, but in 1994, the recording Bebo Rides Again (his first album after three decades of mostly playing hotels in Stockholm and mentoring other musicians) helped revive international awareness of him. That awareness spread even further after Bebo's appearance in the 2000 film Calle 54  (a film which absolutely belongs in your collection if you haven't purchased it already) and his 2003 album Lagrimas Negras with Diego El Cigala, which fused Cuban rhythms with flamenco vocals.   He went on to win multiple Latin GRAMMYs and GRAMMYs including  two for El arte del sabor (2002), one for Lagrimas Negras (2003),  two for Bebo de Cuba (2006).  His album with his son Chucho Valdés, Juntos Para Siempre,  won both a GRAMMY and a Latin GRAMMY award (2009) for Best Latin Jazz Album.  In films, he also appeared in  2004's El milagro de Candeal, and more recently, he composed the score for the wonderful film Chico y Rita, which also drew some pieces of its plot from aspects of his life. 

In addition to all of his personal musical accomplishments, he is also the founder of an important musical dynasty including his son Chucho Valdés (whose many milestones include his key role in Irakere) and his grandson Chuchito Valdés.  The 2009 3-CD set Dinastia Valdés showcases music by all three of them. 

His full discography is extensive, and given his work in multiple countries over several decades, we are uncertain as to whether a truly complete one even exists at this writing.    We'll close for now by sharing a You Tube clip from Calle 54 posted by the Instituto de Musica Contemporanea in Lima of Bebo and Cachao performing Lagrimas Negras.  We chose this particular clip for a couple of reasons: one, it's a beautiful clip;  two, there are some parallels between these two men.  They were born a few weeks apart, both were classically trained yet also revolutionized both popular Cuban dance music and Afro-Cuban Jazz, both had major career comebacks after periods of being out of the public eye, and (perhaps most noteworthy), both had long lives (Cachao passed at age 89, Bebo at age 94) while pursuing an endeavor that the popular imagination sometimes believes to be an eater of its own young.  An interesting coincidence is that Cachao also passed on the 22nd of March in 2008. For today's young musicians, there are lessons here about the value of formal musical education and a lifestyle that doesn't cause your departure before you turn 50.  

Goodbye Bebo, and thank you for all that you left us.  We would say "Descanse en paz", but our guess is that you are probably already jamming with some of those other cats who came before. 

Sat, 23 Mar 2013 01:14:39 -0400
Tom's ACAS Photos, Pt. III Rebeca Mauleón with Gabriel Hernández, Pantaleón, Juan de Marcos and Niño Mentira.

Click here for Part 3 of 4.

Book News: Thanks to the efforts of Vasík Greif the new beyondsalsa.info web site has been launched - everything in one place. There's even a Beyond Salsa Blog. Facebook page is next! Also, the beginning bass book is almost done. Stay tuned!

Tue, 19 Mar 2013 03:17:12 -0400
The Chicago International Salsa Congress - A Timbero's Perspective Article and all Photos by Bill Tilford, All Rights Reserved

(This installment is for both Salseros and Timberos in the hope that they may remember that there are some common challenges that are faced by all.)

Welcome to the third installment of our series.  We'll have a lot of photos later on along with the first in a series of sound clips that we hope will help illustrate that many common misconceptions about both "Cuban Salsa" and Timba music are exactly that.   In the meantime, I would like to expand a little on some earlier themes from the first two chapters.... read the full article here >>>

Sat, 16 Mar 2013 19:45:47 -0400
Some Key Music Events in the US This Week This is a great week for musical events throughout the United States.  In Miami Beach, the Global Cuba Fest is in progress with several different performing artists including Hilario Bell, who is doing both a workshop and a performance on Saturday, March 16 at 2pm; the Yosvany Terry Quintet, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez & Italuba, who are in concert later at 7pm, and The Creole Choir of Cuba, which is performing on Sunday, March 17 at 7pm. All of these events are at the North Beach Bandshell.  For more information, a link to FUNDarte's page is here

After a few days (March 13-17) at the Blue Note in NYC, The Afro-Cuban All Stars tour continues throughout the United States, but we wanted to bring special attention to their performance at the Clifton Center in Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday March 20 at 7:30pm. Over the course of the past few years, Louisville has become an important locale for Midwesterners to see this music, and this will be the only Midwest stop for this group during this tour.  (Chicagoans, it's a 5-6 hour drive for you and worth the trip if you can manage the time.) The ticket link to their website is here. 

On Saturday, March 23 at 7:00pm, the AC Jazz Project with very special guest Jimmy Branly, which like Maraca can do both dance and Jazz material, will be bringing what we are told is primarily a Timba dance set to Yoshi's in San Francisco. This truly is a group of all stars - the leader/trumpeter Josiel Perez played with Maraca and Klimax; pianist Fermin Sifontes played with Grupo Afrocuba; bassist Carlos Cuba played with Pablo Milanes and Klimax, and drummer Jimmy Branly has played with NG La Banda and Ernán López Nussa. The group also features conguero Joey De Leon, vocalist Alberto Tomayo, trumpeter Ronal Segovia and saxophonist Camilo Puche. We recently heard a couple of tracks from their forthcoming recording which is currently in production, and if the rest of the tracks are as solid as what we heard, this is going to be a welcome addition to the scene in the United States.  We'll share more when the project is ready. For now, the ticket link for Yoshi's is here.

The Jazz option in San Francisco this week  is a series of 4 concerts by John Santos from March 21-24 at SFJAZZ featuring different guests each evening including Pável Urkiza & Ricardo Pons on the 21st, Papo Vazquez and the Mighty Pirates Troubadours on the 22nd, Filosofía Caribeña II on the 23rd and Omar Sosa, Kenny Endo and Abhigit Banerjee on the 24th. For more information, see their website link here. 

Sat, 16 Mar 2013 08:29:57 -0400
This Week: Panel discussions in Miami and Chicago Two different roundtable discussions in Miami and Chicago this week look promising for those who are able to attend. The Chicago event, From Cuba to Chicago: Pedro Páramo and Havana Blue, will take place on Thursday, March 14 at the Instituto Cervantes and is a panel discussion about artistic exchanges with Cuba.  Artists from the River North Dance Chicago, the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, Chicago's Goodman Theatre and Cuba's Teatro Buendía will participate in the discussion. Chicago will host the world premieres of Havana Blue and Pedro Páramo in the near future.  
This event is free to the public, but reservations are needed (for reservations, see the web page at  GoodmanTheatre.org/CubatoChicago)

The Miami event, Cuban Music in the Transnational Context,  is a panel discussion featuring the musicians Gema Corredera, Yosvany Terry and Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez with additional panelist Eva Silot Bravo.  This is also on Thursday, March 14.  According to the announcement, there will be a music demonstration along with the panel discussion.  This is also free to the public and will be focusing upon  the impact of musicians who have emigrated to cities like New York, Miami and Madrid and how they are affecting the music globally. Timba.com's regular visitors will note that Yosvany Terry (as well as Yunior Terry) has been mentioned on our site more than once as an artist of special interest in the new music being produced today. 

Also, the Creole Choir of Cuba returns to Chicago after their triumphant performance there in 2011 (you can read our review of that performance here.) This time, they will be performing at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Wednesday, March 13 at 8:30pm. This is a full audiovisual experience, and we recommend it highly. 

Mon, 11 Mar 2013 14:00:13 -0400
Tom Ehrlich's Afro-Cuban All Stars Photos

Here's the next installment of Tom's 3- or 4-part series on Juan d'Marcos & the Afro-Cuban All Stars at SF Jazz.  And here are the remaining tour dates. Next stop: Waterbury Connecticut and then on to NY for a full week at the Blue Note.

Coming: Havana d'Primera at Yoshi's SF - May 31 & June 1.

Sun, 10 Mar 2013 03:31:41 -0400
The Chicago International Salsa Congress - A Timbero's Perspective Article and all photos by Bill Tilford -- All Rights Reserved
(This series of articles is intended primarily for Salseros who are new to Timba,
but Timberos will hopefully also find some items of interest as well.)

Yambú / Guaguancó Workshop

Those of you who know that you are dancing "On 1" or "On 2"  but not too much more than that may not realize that originally, everyone that was dancing was moving to things with other names- Son, Guaracha, Guaguancó, Mambo and many others.  Some of the rhythms and dances (such as the Pilón and Pachanga) have all but vanished over the years because neither Salsa nor Timba preserved them intact.......click here to read the full article >>>

Sun, 03 Mar 2013 18:10:58 -0500
Afro-Cuban All Stars Photos, Pt. 1

Tom Ehrlich has posted the first of several galleries of Juan de Marcos' triumphant sold-out return to the Bay Area. The band is in great form and JdM has really hit on a great idea by writing for three trumpets and bass clarinet. The clarinet sounds way better than a bari sax and the lines are written in a way that crystalizes the trumpet harmonies. If you get a chance to see a later show on the tour, check this out. The singers and the entire rhythm section are also sublime, as are the acoustics at the new SF Jazz facility. This gallery is from the souncheck. Later this week we'll have more photos from the clinic and two of the concerts. Click here for the rest of the tour which is working its way to the East Coast, including a full week at the legendary Blue Note. [Kevin Moore]

Sun, 03 Mar 2013 16:12:37 -0500
Monika Mesa y su Máquina Perfecta Monika Mesa y su Máquina Perfecta - Al fin

We have added a section for Monika Mesa y su Máquina Perfecta , whose 2012 Cubadisco-nominated CD "Al Fin" will be available soon outside of Cuba. In the meantime you can browse through the new section with a brief biography, information about the new CD, photos and most importantly videos so you can get to know her music. Timberos already know Monika from her time with bands such as Anacaona, Azúcar Negra and NG La Banda. She has now started her own group under the musical direction of Joel Dominguez (Issac Delgado, Manolín and Paulo FG) and they have already toured Europe twice. They will be back in Europe this fall so keep an eye out for updates to their Tours page. Below you can enjoy a little behind-the-scenes documentary of the Making of the song "SMS".

You can listen to "SMS" at Timba.com radio.

Sun, 03 Mar 2013 13:56:03 -0500
CD Reviews for February 2013

(Photo by Massimo Montovani)

Let us begin with a few words of praise for the terrestrial CD store, or as we used to call it, the record store   A recent trip to Miami gave us an excuse to run through two of our favorites, the Museo del Disco on SW 70th Street (close to Calle Ocho) and Casino Records  (no website) on Calle Ocho. We also like Lily's on Calle Ocho for some things, but our best finds are usually at the first two.Yes, we know that most of you probably buy on-line these days, but you are missing out on some things when you don't do the physical experience.  For one thing, it's a lot harder to go crate-digging on line. When I'm in a real store, I usually walk out with finds that I was never looking for in the first place. Those finds are often better than the things I was looking for. You may also hear something over the loudspeakers that you never dreamed you might like. This has happened to me more than once.   

(Photo by Alejandro Azcuy)

Also, the physical CD, if done as well as it should be, will come with liner notes telling you more about the band, the musicians and the project.   If you truly care about the details surrounding the band and the recording, track downloads won't get you there from here, and if you hope to rely on the band's website, well, good luck with that. Some are better than others, and most websites aren't forever.

(Cover photo by Jose Ortega)

So, if you have one of these kinds of stores where you live, take the time to go check it out.   It's worth the trouble.  In the meantime, here are three reviews of interesting CDs we acquired recently; the last two came from the stores in Miami: 

For a review of Omar Sosa 's Eggūn,  click here.
For a review of Maykel Blanco 's A Toda Maquina , click here.
For a review of Leslie Cartaya 's No Pares , click here.  

Sat, 02 Mar 2013 18:21:28 -0500
Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival Program Fiesta del Tambor 2013

The schedule has now been finalized for the 2013 Havana Rhythm and Dance Festival. It is a five-day event including an international percussion competition, dance classes, percussion classes and dance and music performances by major groups in genres from foklore to timba to jazz. Some highlights of the timba concerts:
March 6 - Klímax & Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor @ Hotel Habana Libre
March 7 - 50th anniversary celebration for Los Papines  @ Teatro Mella 8:00pm - 11:00pm
11:00pm - 2:00am Adalberto Álvarez y su Son  @ Hotel Habana Libre
March 8 - Klímax and guests @ Casa de la Música Miramar 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Los Van Van & Havana D'Primera @Teatro Mella 8:30pm - 10:00pm
March 9 - Pupy y los que son son @ Hotel Habana Libre 11:00pm - 2:00am
March 10 - Klímax, Havana D'Primera, JG y su grupo & Oderquis Revé @ La Tropical

Click here for the full schedule and check out the Fiesta del Tambor website for more information.

Fri, 01 Mar 2013 13:24:52 -0500
Manolín Photos, Part II

Here's  Part II of Tom's Manolín photos. On drums was the electrifying Ángel "Pututi II" Arce from the original band that took Havana by storm in the 90s. Also from that band was trumpeter "El Niche" Romero, now a Bay Area resident, joined by Roberto Morris (ex-Sur Caribe).

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 15:44:47 -0500
Buena Fe in Miami Buena Fe @ Miami-Dade County Auditorium Photo courtesy of Buena Fe (Página Oficial)

It has been nearly a week since the big concert by Buena Fe February 22nd at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, and I have now posted my concert report which I was able to complete thanks to the cooperation of friend and fellow Buena Fe fan Líen Álvarez and Javier Otero of Blue Night Entertainment . Since we had such a build-up to the Karl Marx concerts, I start this report with a bit of a summary of the events n Miami beginning with the arrival of Israel and Yoel on February 18th and including their television appearences prior to the concert. There is also a short interview with Javier Otero as well as a playlist of songs from the concert. Click here to read the concert report.

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 17:08:13 -0500
Tom's Manolín Gallery is Up

Here's the first gallery from Manolín's incredible show with Jiovanni Cofiño and Ángel "Pututi II" Arce at Café Cócomo in SF.

Book News: Volume 1 of Beyond Salsa Bass should be out soon.

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 02:34:43 -0500
Elito Revé y su Charangón in Europe Elito Revé y su Charangón European Tour 2013

Timba fans, La Aplanadora de Cuba will be rolling through Europe again in just about ten days! They are touring for three weeks and will be in Italy, France, Spain and Germany. Click here to find a concert near you. In my opinion, El Charangón is the most hardcore timba band today! Check out Susel and tell me if I'm right. Todo lo que sube tiene que caer!

Susel sings "No debo explicarte nada" from the upcoming new release.

Maykel Blanco is also in Europe again continuing his solo promotional tour for the new CD "A toda máquina" in preperation for the summer tour with the entire band. He has the CD wth him on the tour so take some cash and get yourself a copy. I bet he'll even autograph it for you. The dates and locations of where you can meet Maykel are below.

Maykel Blanco y Salsa Mayor - A toda máquina
February 25 - Conference - Salerno, Italy
February 26 - Isola Verde - Pontecagnano, Italy
February 27 - Studio Uno - Castera, Italy
February 28 - Nada Más, Termoli, Italy
March 1 - Area Disco - Frosinone, Italy

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 15:48:59 -0500
Mi Salsa Cubana Mi Salsa Cubana Rumba Class in CubaRumba class with Mi Salsa Cubana in Havana

Mi Salsa Cubana has published the dates of their Cuba dance trips for 2013 and 2014.
2013: 23-24 of March to 6-7 of April, 5-6 October to 19-20  October, 28-29 of December 2013 to 4- 5 of January 2014 (half price 1 week)
2014: 4-5 of January to18-19 of January, 12-13 of April to 26-27 of April

There are classes for all levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced as well as for singles, guys, girls, ladies, men and couples. All participants get a Cuban dance partner. The 14 days intensive dance program offers classes in Salsa, Son, Rueda de Casino, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, and Rumba. It is also possible for participants to extend their stay. For more information on terms and prices see Mi Salsa Cubana's website.

Sat, 23 Feb 2013 10:26:55 -0500
New Release from Orquesta POMO - "El Juego"

La Orquesta Pomo toca un estilo propio de timba con un sonido especial. Con una gran dosis e influencia del soul/pop/jazz y la gran inspiración de la salsa de Cuba, Colombia y Puerto Rico. El material que interpreta la orquesta es original. El inicio de la orquesta fue en el 2011 con Jonas Pomo y Cecilia Ferrer. Jonas comenzó a componer la música y Celilia luego las letras. Los integrantes de la banda fueron luego elegidos detenida y cautelosamente por Jonas y consiguó los que él quería. La primera aparición en público de la "Orquesta Pomo" fue el 5 de abril en Estocolmo, Suecia.

Descarga "El Juego" de la Orquesta Pomo GRATIS aquí
Click here for the free download

Otro punto de interés es que Jonas fué uno de los cantantes de Calle Real en su reciente gira de Sur América. Un pianista de jazz y otros estilos, él ha trabajado con muchos otros artistas y grupos en Suecia como La Tremenda, Jorge Cordero, Gilito y su Clave y por supuesto Calle Real.

New Release from Orquesta POMO - "El Juego" - Cuban music news - noticias de musica cubana

Los miembros del grupo: Jonas Pomo piano & bandleader, Cecilia Ferrer lead vocals, Aksel Friberg bass, Linus Svanberg congas, Magnus Almqvist drums & timbales, Jonas Landolsi güiro, Cristina Pomo backing vocals, Cristian Guerra backing vocals, Alex Saltell backing vocals, Yuliesky Gonzalez Guerra trumpet, Johan Nordefeldt trumpet, Rickard Lindgren trumpet, Peter Fredriksson trombone, Nikolas Viisanen trombone.

Orquesta POMO on Facebook = www.facebook.com/orquestapomo

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 20:48:43 -0500
Pablo Milanés in Spain Pablo Milanes
Pablo Milanés will be back in Spain for two concerts in March before setting out on a world tour later this year. His long-awaited new CD will also be released later this year, and we will get back to you as soon as we have the details. For now the two dates in Spain are:
March 13, 2013  – San Sebastián, Spain  – Victoria Eugenia
March 15, 2012  – A Coruña, Spain – Teatro Colón

I finally saw Pablo live last October in Madrid and it was a thrilling experience. If you don't live in Spain, just take a a mini vacation like I did. You can read my full concert report here, including six videos of Pablo and two of opening act Andrés Suárez. If you don't have time for that right now, I leave you with one of the most beautiful songs in the Spanish language: "Si ella me faltara alguna vez".

Pablo Milanés performs "Si ella me faltara alguna vez" in Madrid 15 October 2013

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 12:16:55 -0500
Afro-Cuban All Stars in SF Thursday through Sunday cuban music, musica cubana

The brand new state-of-the-art SF Jazz hall plays host to Juan d'Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars for the next four nights. The acoustics are supposed to be absolutely sublime and the band definitely is. Juan will also give a lecture/demonstration (same venue) on Saturday afternoon. See you there!

Click here for more info and tickets.

Click here for the rest of the tour (WA, Canada, Arcata, etc.)

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 02:22:39 -0500
FIESTA DEL TAMBOR - 2013 Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival 2013 (Fiesta del Tambor)

In less than two weeks the annual Havana Rhythm and Dance Festival will kick off with an inaugural carnival at La Fuente de la Juventud. This is the biggest percussion event of the year with percussion conferences and classes, dance shows and concerts by the biggest timba bands, jazz groups and rumba/folklore groups.  The event includes the participation of international artists from Venezuela, Puerto Rico,Curaçao, Canada, the USA, Japan and Chile. Performances and conferences will be held at Palacio de la Rumba, Hotel Habana Libre, Teatro Mella, Hotel Occidental Miramar, Hotel Melia Cohiba, Casa de la Música Miramar and Salon Rosado de La Tropical. If you will be in Havana during this period don't miss this amazing event. It is a union of some of the world's greatest percussionists. All the information including the full program can be found at the Fiesta del Tambor website.

Wed, 20 Feb 2013 14:04:10 -0500
Two Historic Anniversaries February 19th is an important day in Latin music history. In 1932 Cuba's first all-women dance band, Anacaona, was formed by Cuchito Castro and her sisters Ada, Bola, and Ondina. Also part of the original band were Isabel Álvarez, Berta Cabrera, Elia O'Reilly. Despite prejudices in what was then an all-male industry, Anacaona developed a following and at the height of their popularity, they performed in New York, Europe and Mexico.


Eighty-one years later Anacaona is still releasing hit songs, although the band has a younger look and modern musical style. Congratulations Anacaona!

Anacaona 2013

Today is also the 50th anniversary of the passing of the great Benny Moré who died on February 19, 1963 at the age of 43 due to liver disease brought on by alcoholism. Born in Lajas, Cuba, Benny Moré was a self-taught musician who got his start playing for tips in Havana and by the time of his death was the leader of one of the most popular latin dance bands in the world. It was his voice that got him his first jobs with bands such as Sexteto Cauto and later Conjunto Matamoros with which he traveled to Mexico.... click here to read the full article >>>

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 17:47:45 -0500
The Chicago International Salsa Congress - A Timbero's Perspective Article and all photos by Bill Tilford -- All Rights Reserved

PRELUDIO As I type this, I can already hear the screams of some of my most hard-line Timbero friends and colleagues that I have committed the supreme blasphemy by writing an extended article here about a Salsa Congress, so please allow me to begin by addressing those dear friends. For quite some time now, I have been wandering about looking for insights into whether there are ways to effectively tackle the biggest challenge facing Timba music in the United States:  we as a community have basically failed to attract the levels of mass paying (that word "paying" is important) audiences that the music truly deserves, and at the very time when it is politically easier than it has ever been for bands to tour the United States from Cuba, the economic realities of the position of Timba music in the marketplace have slowed what could  be a flood of amazing bands touring the country to a relative trickle touring  primarily the East and West coasts.  Even in those places, the audience numbers have frequently failed to live up to initial expectations. What's more, many of the US-based bands that play Timba have either fallen upon hard times, adapted by playing more fusion and/or Salsa and/or survived by touring extensively out of the United States. There are a prosperous few, but they are exceptions that prove the rule. This problem is truly odd because much of the Salsa audience is already halfway home - many of the songs they listen to were written and originally performed in Cuba, and most of the most important roots of Salsa come from Cuban music..... click here to read the full article >>>

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 00:36:59 -0500
Tremenda Gozadera con La Charanga David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera - Stockholm 2013

On February 8, 2013 David Calzado y Su Charanga Habanera returned to Stockholm for the first time in four years, under the auspices of Latin Entertainment. During these four years the band has had time to release four CDs and Dantes Cardosa  "El Ricky Ricón" has again left the band, replaced this time by Pedro Nieto. La Charanga is more of a show, película and espetáculo than ever with Aned, Lachy, Junior, Heikel and Pedro on vocals and Randy joining in on vocals during the timbaton numbers. David as always directing the show, interacting with the audience and introducing the songs by singing the coros and getting the fans to sing along. Whatever you may think of the Old Charanga versus the New Charanga, the concerts are always a party and a guaranteed good time. In a room filled with pheromones and sweat people let go, dance, sing and scream and go home with a smile on their face and in their heart. For a full report of the concert with 6 videos including the estrenos "La bomba" and "Esta noche voy a partir el party" click here.

Sun, 17 Feb 2013 06:13:54 -0500
In Honor of Frank "Machito" Grillo

(Machito is in the center on maracas)

Francisco Raúl Gutiérrez  "Machito" Grillo was born on February 16, 19-something - the most commonly used years are 1908 followed by 1912, 1909 and occasionally 1915. Accounts also differ as to whether he was born in Havana or in Tampa of Cuban parents. A few things are certain:

1. For decades from the 1940s to the 1980s, he had one of the most important Afro-Cuban Jazz orchestras in the United States.  It was his brother-in-law and musical director, Mario Bauza, that introduced Dizzy Gillespie to Chano Pozo.  He also used Jazz musicians like Charlie Parker, Brew Moore and Howard McGhee to lay the foundations of a style that became known as Cubop. 
2. The powerful section work in his band inspired other big band leaders such as Stan Kenton to borrow elements of his music in their own work. 
3.  He made numerous recordings, and his 1975 album Oro, Incienso y Mirra with Dizzy Gillespie was nominated for a GRAMMY  and remains one of the acknowledged classics of AfroCuban Jazz recorded in the United States.   .  

In modern times, his son, Mario Grillo, carries on with a current version of the band.  You can learn more at their website, http://www.machitoorchestranyc.com/
The 75th Anniversary of the original orchestra will be coming up next year.   We salute this giant of the music on the one hundred and something-eth anniversary of his birth. 

Sat, 16 Feb 2013 13:13:38 -0500
La Maquinaria Cubana La Maquinaria Cubana Photos

Reports and videos are coming in from the debut preformance of El Yuma's newest timba band "La Maquinaria Cubana". It is a thrill for me that they did their first gig in Boulder, Colorado, my hometown. I was not able to be there myself but I have heard from other who were there. Carlos from Radio KUVO said:
"Fox Theater Boulder Colorado was worthy of admiration, Calixto and his team were over the top and chequendengue. We had a bit of Cuba in the Rocky Mountains, in addition to the music, the Cuban restaurant, Frijoles Colorado, was selling delicious Cuban sandwiches, media noches and pork sandwiches. In summary a chéverisima night. Thank Modupe-Thank You-Merci! KUVO live radio in Denver."

And my friend Eric Freeman, one of the great proponents of Cuban music and dance in Colorado and the USA, posted a short report at his Facebook group, Salsaville Dance Studios, where among other things he said "...they sounded real tight, energetic, and fun. The songs, all originals, were good."

You can enjoy this new band yourself since a number of amateur videos have been uploaded to YouTube already. I am impressed by the professionalism and level of muscianship in this fledgling band and the way the audience responds to them. Check out the videos below to see what everyone is talking about! The band also filmed an HD DVD so we should soon have high quality video and audio to enjoy. The band is planning a US tour in May and is also looking at Peru and Japan. We will keep you updated as tour dates start coming in.

Pepito Gomez sings "Inedita"

Lily D Oviedo sings "Manana"

Tue, 12 Feb 2013 15:54:15 -0500
Weekend Report Buena Fe & Havana Queens @ Karl Marx Theater for DIAL release concertBuena Fe & Havana Queens perform "La culpa" 
@ Karl Marx Theater 8 February 2013 
Photo courtesy of Buena Fe (Página oficial) & Gabriel Dávalos -fotógrafo-

It has been a busy concert weekend. On Friday Buena Fe held the first of three concerts for the release of their eighth studio CD "DIAL". I will publish a CD review soon. It is not available via the Internet yet. If you are going to the Miami concert on February 22, be sure to buy a copy because they may sell out the hard copy. Suena Cubana has published a great report on the Friday night concert and Buena Fe has published several pictures. Tonight the release concerts in Havana will conclude with a 6:00pm concert at Karl Marx.

Meanwhile in South America Calle Real is closing their tour this weekend. Last night they performed in Santiago de Chile at Club Amanda and tonight they are at Salsa King in Lima. Word is that they have also done some studio recording during their tour, and we are looking forward to hearing the results.

In my hometown of Boulder, Colorado today is the premier concert of the new timba band "La Maquinaria Cubana" with a concert at Fox Theater! Look at the names in this band! Armando Santoyo, Calixto Oviedo, Pepito Gómez, Lily D Oviedo,  Solange Guenier,  Gustavo Ramirez  Carlos Martin, Andy Crisman,  David Maynez, Johnny Jeymo, Juan Moreno, Dave McLoughlin and Ivan Nava. We are waiting for the video of this important concert!

Finally and closest to home for me, David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera were in Scandinavia this weekend with concerts in Stockholm, Sweden and Trondheim, Norway. There are 12 concerts left on the European tour. Tonight they play at Hotel Bayerisher Hof in Munich, Germany. I attended the Stockholm concert and am currently preparing a full report, but due to popular demand I have already published one of the estrenos that the band performed in Stockholm to YouTube. Stay tuned for the full report and in the meantime enjoy "La bomba"!