en-us Timba.com http://www.timba.com Cuban Music News. Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor Europe 2016 Maykel Blano & su Salsa Mayor in Rome Photo courtesy of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor Official Facebook page

Te escapaste

Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor are in full swing with their Summer 2016 tour of Europe . They have played three gigs in Italy where Dancer/Singer Maykel Fonts joined in performing his duet "Dale lo que lleva" with Maykel B and adding some spice to "Bembé" with his world renowned rumba moves. Tomorrow Maykel B and the boys will be at the "I am Cuban All Star Festival" in Corfu, Greece and they will be in my own town of Stockholm, Sweden this Friday May 27th where they will appear with our own Calle Real!

Calle Real in turn has already performed several concerts this year in Ethiopia and France. Both bands released their latest CDs in December of 2015. Maykel Blanco released his fifth studio album "Que no me quiten la fe", which is also Cuba's first Blu Ray disc and Calle Real finally gave fans a long-awaited third album "Dime que?!". Both are excellent CDs and highly recommended. Stay tuned for the reviews (I apologize for falling behind in that). In the meantime you can enjoy a little concert video of both bands performing songs from their new CDs.

Maykel Blanco & Calle Real May 27 Stockholm Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor & Calle Real in Stockholm May 27

Calle real - Te lo di

Mon, 23 May 2016 09:53:46 -0400
Los Van Van Return To New York & New Jersey As part of this year's Concert Cruises, S.O.Bs in New York is presenting Los Van Van in a special concert on the Infinity Yacht, Friday July 1, 2016. This is a 21+ show with doors opening at 9pm.

** For tickets click here or on the flyer below **

Los Van Van in New York - Infinity Yacht

The following day you can see Los Van Van in New Jersey at Schuetzen Park located at 3167 Kennedy Blvd. North Bergen, NJ 07047. Doors open at 8pm.

** For tickets click here or on the flyer below **

Los Van Van in New Jersey - Schuetzen Park

Sat, 21 May 2016 15:18:08 -0400
La Charanga Habanera US Tour Charanga Habanera @BBKing New York

David and the boys are back in the USA with their first concert tonight at Twelve in Miami. At the top of the eastern seaboard you can catch them Sunday May 22nd at B.B. Kings in New York City. Click here to book your tickets in advance. 

If you can't make either of these concerts, click here to find one near you!

David's personal invitation to B. B. King's

Fri, 20 May 2016 16:41:52 -0400
Orquesta Revé - 60th Anniversary Concert Elito Revé y su Charangón - 60th Anniversary

Tonight at Salon Rosado de la Tropical in Havana, Elito Revé y su Charangón will give a concert to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the charangón. It is also a part of the festivities surrounding Cubadisco 2016, which is appropriately themed Música Bailable this year. I hope our own Bill Tilford is able to attend this event and give us a first-hand report. This is a must-see concert for anyone who is in Havana. Special guests include Juan Carlos Alfonso, Issac Delgado, Mayito Rivera, Mandy Cantero, Paulo FG, Haila, Christian & Rey, David Blanco and Grupo Moncada.

The anniversary concert comes right on the heels of the release of "La salsa tiene mi son", which we have been awaiting for years. You can find it at digital retailers and if you're in Havana I bet they'll be selling in hard-copy at the concert.

Timba.com congratulates Elito and all of the members of the charangón - past and present - for their 60 year anniversary.

Elito Revé y su Carangón - La Salsa Tiene Mi Son Available now at online retailers!

Fri, 20 May 2016 07:57:20 -0400
Charanga Habanera US Tour Starts Friday! La Charanga Habanera Los Chamacos de La Charanga Habanera - photo courtesy of Linda van der Eems

David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera start their US tour in Miami on Friday May 20th with a concert at Twelve Club. I haven't seen them live since 2013 and there have been some changes since then such as Andy Fornet joining on timbales and the singer line-up is now Leisdel Gonzales Castillo, David Montes de Oca, Alexis David Zamora, Heikel Valdes and Chico de la Rosa.  The tour will also take them to California, Washington State, Texas, New York and New Jersey. Click here to find a concert near you.

To catch up with the band check out the new promotional video "A Lak Lak". Special thanks to Linda van der Eems for keeping everyone updated with "La última".


Tue, 17 May 2016 14:51:07 -0400
The Habana Dreams Sessions: Pedrito Martínez Group Tom has posted 8 videos and the first of 3 galleries from the 2015 Havana recording session that produced the Pedrito Martínez Group's second CD, Habana Dreams, to be released on June 10.

Click here for the photo gallery

Click here for an index of the videos 
(don't forget to like & subscribe)

Sun, 15 May 2016 02:06:45 -0400
SF Dance Alert!

Santiago based dancer master Jorge Luna Roque is bringing his amazing all-star rueda troupe to the Brava Theatre in San Francisco next weekend, May 21st & 22nd. As you can see in the clip above, these guys are amazing. 

Saturday, May 21st 
Vip Pre-Party 6:30-8:00 
Show 8:00-9:30 
Dance party at Brava 9:30-11:00
Sunday, May 22nd
8:00-9:30 Show

Click here for tickets

Click here for the full press release.

Fri, 13 May 2016 03:27:53 -0400
Siempre Que Llueve Escampa Siempre que llueve escampa

Maykel Blanco & Su Salsa Mayor have just released their new video for "Siempre que llueve escampa" - one of my favorite songs from the brilliant album "Que no me quiten la fe" . It is quite funny and the first time the band has done an animated video. Enjoy the video and get ready to catch the band live on their European tour, which begins in Rome on May 20th. Click here for all the concert dates.

Mon, 09 May 2016 15:21:09 -0400
Issac & Pedrito Tomorrow - Symphony Space, NY

                                   Click here for Information on Sunday's New York Show

Click here for Tom Ehrlich's Gallery from last weekend's SF Show

Click here for Kevin's Moore's review of the SF Show

Sat, 07 May 2016 14:31:29 -0400
Aisar Hernandez & El Expresso de Cuba Aisar & El Expresso de Cuba Havana Premier

Aisar Hernandez & El Expresso de Cuba will have their Havana debut tomorrow at 9:00pm in the Salón Juan Formell at El Sauce. The band performed previously this year in Varadero and has been busy with television and radio appearances, but this will be the first chance for the Havana audiences to see the band live. We at Timba.com are very excited to see what Aisar & El Expresso have in store for us. They recently signed an exclusive five-year contract with Bis Music, and we can expect their first CD, "lLlegó el Expresso",  to drop soon. If you're in Havana don't miss this historic first concert.

Thu, 05 May 2016 14:17:38 -0400
Issac & Pedrito Martínez Group Coming to NY

Click Here for Information on Sunday's New York Show

Check this space for Tom Ehrlich's Upcoming Photo Gallery

Issac Delgado and the Pedrito Martínez Group supplied a historic launch for this year’s Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, a 75-show, summer long series of free daytime concerts with exquisite sound in a gorgeous and relaxed setting. The second and final show in this mini-tour will be on May 8th at Symphony Space in New York City.

Issac Delgado’s bands have always been like finely tuned engines. After carefully choosing and integrating each component through months of rehearsal and touring, he takes to the stage with the steely control and yet reckless abandon of a Formula 1 racecar driver.

Most of the players in such a musical engine play the roles of cylinders, stroking in perfect and predictable synchronization. But like an engine, a great band also needs spark plugs – one or more explosive musicians who add bursts of creativity and unpredictable surges of adrenaline and aggressivity at just the right times. Sparking the first great Issac band were Giraldo Piloto, Tony Pérez and Andrés Miranda; next came Melón, Jimmy Branly and José Miguel; then the epic 1997 incarnation with Alain Pérez, Melón and Georvis Pico; then the Y2K powerhouse featuring Los Yoeles, Páez and Domínguez; then the great unsung 2000 band with Frank Rubio and Bombón Reyes.

Of course, the spark plug analogy applies to some extent to all the great bands: Van Van with Samuel Formell; El Trabuco with Riverón; the great late 1990s Charanga Habanera with Tirso Duarte, Yulién Oviedo and Orlando Mengual; their Bamboleo counterpart with Ludwig Núñez and Rafael Paceiro; and of course Paulito’s astounding combination of the aforementioned Yoeles, Sergio Noroña and Tomasito Cruz. We can hear this same “spark plug” dynamic at work in with bongosero Agustín Gutiérrez in the late-1920s Sexteto Habanero and Lilí Martínez in Arsenio’s legendary conjunto, to say nothing of the litany of great quinto and Iyá players of the folkloric realm.

But with the exception of Miles Davis, no one has assembled more of these monstrous bands than Issac, and he’s apparently got himself a new one in Havana, with his phenomenal pianist son Issacito and several young studs even I haven’t heard of, fresh out of La ENA – la nueva nueva generación.

In 1999, Issac had a dozen historically great bands chomping at his heels, but by the early 2000s, the timberos’ dreams of world conquest had come under withering attack at the hands of reguetón, sequencers, DJs, crippling emigration from Havana, the Bush Administration, and the MP3-driven collapse of the global recording industry. And there was further damage of the self-inflicted variety. Far too many jazz and Latin recordings of recent years suffer from what I call DTS: Dream Team Syndrome. Think how much of your hard drive or CD shelf is consumed with generic albums featuring all of your favorite legends; all playing together; all playing one rumba, one chachachá, one timba barn-burner and one danzón; all sounding remarkably like hundreds of other albums you’ve bought (all right, stolen) (all right, downloaded, possibly with some sort of minimal online monetization scheme involved).

It was in this depressing, debilitating, and very much ongoing musical environment that the rapidly shrinking number of actual working bands began to shrink rapidly in size: from four percussionists to two; from five horns to two; from dedicated coristas and tecladistas to utility men performing multiple roles. But out of this forced austerity, something extraordinary emerged: it was called The Pedrito Martínez Group. Birthed through a process of hundreds of gigs at a small mid-town Manhattan restaurant called Guantanamera, PMG was not a big engine stripped down for better mileage; it was a new kind of vehicle, built from the ground up to produce even more explosive energy at a fraction of the decibel level and with a clarity and precision of interlocking parts impossible with a 14-piece orquesta. If its mammoth predecessors relied on cylinders and spark plugs; PMG had only spark plugs – four of them – spitting fire into every beat. Gone were the horns; gone were the interlocking bells; gone were the guitar and second keyboard. PMG wasn’t even a conjunto – just congas with cajón, a dramatically reimagined hand bell, bass and piano – and yet the quartet played with the power of Van Van and the creative spark of one of Issac’s legendary timba big bands. 

Dream Team Syndrome notwithstanding, the idea of Issac Delgado & Son putting this new type of race car through its paces seemed like something that might just work brilliantly. And so it did. PMG is precisely the type of hyper-creative and wildly improvisational but rock solid rhythm section that Issac has spent his career soaring over. This may or may not herald the dawning of the next great era of Cuban music – probably not – but even if it never happens again, this Sunday's show is not something that should be missed by any sane New York Cubanophile (yes, an oxymoron, I know). [Kevin Moore] [video by Tom Ehrlich-more photos coming shortly]

Recording and Touring News: 

1. PMG’s latest album, Habana Dreams, which features Issac on the title track, is due out in a month but advance copies will be on sale at the New York show. Ned Sublette’s liner notes alone make it worth acquiring this one the old-fashioned way.

2. Issac’s latest album, Made in Havana, is also due in about a month.

3. Issac’s Cuban band is in the visa interview stage and likely to begin touring the US later this year.

Mon, 02 May 2016 22:04:00 -0400
Pedrito Martínez Group with Issac Delgado!

Wow - either one of these artists would be big news, but together it's a revelation. Issac is famous for his improvisation and his ability to soar over some of the greatest rhythm sections in Cuban music history and as we all know, PMG makes the short list in that particularly category. It's a marriage made in heaven at one of the great outdoor venues. Click here for more info.

Sun, 01 May 2016 01:24:39 -0400
Cuba on Tour

Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban all Stars kick their East Coast Tour off tonight at Landmark Theatre in Port Washington, New York. Juan de Marcos is known for working with the highest caliber musicians. This year's line-up featuresEmilio Suárez on lead vocals. The band will play 12 gigs so check out their updated list of tour dates to find a concert near you.

Manolito y su Trabuco Tour 2016

If you're in Europe you can catch Manolito y Su Trabuco at Kursalon in Vienna on the second day of their month-long European tour that will take them to ten countries. Click here to find the Trabuca date nearest you!

A taste of some first class timba from their latest album "No puedo parar"

Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:34:58 -0400
An Iris Blooms in Santiago
ENGLISH:   Santiago has a relatively small but EXTREMELY impressive Jazz scene, and its epicenter is the Iris Jazz Club, right next to the Plaza de Marte.  It was modeled after the best Jazz clubs in both Cuba and other countries including the United States, and both the ambience and the sound are very impressive. 
ESPAÑOL:  Santiago tiene una escena relativamente pequeña pero extremadamente impresionante del Jazz, y su epicentro es el Iris Jazz Club, justo al lado de la Plaza de Marte. Fue modelado segun los mejores clubes de Jazz en Cuba y otros paises incluyendo Estados Unidos, y tanto el ambiente y el sonido son muy impresionantes. 

ENGLISH:   The building had a few previous lives and began operating as a Jazz club in 2012.  It has live music six nights per week and features both local talent and groups from Havana and beyond.  (Arturo O'Farrill performed there one night during my sojourn in Santiago). 
ESPAÑOL : El edificio tenia unas vidas anteriores y empezó sus opercaciones como un club de Jazz en 2012.  Se presenta música en vivo seis noches cada semana y cuenta con talento local, grupos de la Habana y más allá. (Arturo O'Farrill toco allí durante mi estancia en Santiago). 

ENGLISH: There is a cafeteria, Jazznamá, and a bar dedicated to Emiliano Salvador
ESPAÑOL :  Hay una cafetería, Jazznamá, y un bar dedicado a Emiliano Salvador

ENGLISH:  I had the opportunity to record my conversation with the Director of the Club, Robier González Garbey, about the history of the club and the Jazz Scene in Santiago.  You can listen to that conversation (in Spanish) here. 
I did the same with the agent for the club, Raydelis Guibert, and you can listen to that conversation (also in Spanish) here. 
ESPAÑOL :   Tuve la oportunidad de grabar mi conversación con el Director del Club, Robier González Garbey, acerca de la historia del club y la escena jazzistica en Santiago.  Puede escuchar la conversacíón en español aquí. 
Hice lo mismo con el agente para el club, Raydelis Guiber, y puede escuchar la conversacion (también en español aquí)

ENGLISH:  For a closer  look inside the club, see two photo galleries:  Albertico Lescay & Formas ,  and Arturo O'Farrill and Others  and the review of Ivan Acosta
ESPAÑOL :  Para ver más de cerca el interior del club, vea dos galerías:  Albertico Lescay & Formas y Arturo O"Farrill and Others  y la reseña de Ivan Acosta

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 21:57:56 -0400
Daymé Arocena click here for full gallery

Daymé Arocena and her group, all living in Cuba, consists of Daymé on vocals and small percussion, Jorge Luis Lazarga on piano and Rafael Aldama on bass.  This young trio, all in their 20's, performed at The New Parish in Oakland California on April 3, 2016, played music which was an organic mixture of Afro-Cuban folkloric music, soul, salsa and jazz. [Tom Ehrlich]

Mon, 25 Apr 2016 02:04:59 -0400

ENGLISH:  Cubadisco 2016, Cuba's premiere awards program for recordings plus a week-long concert series, symposium and trade fair, will take place from May 14-22, 2016 and various locations in Havana.   This year's theme is Música  Bailable, and the Country of Honor is Mozambique.   We eagerly anticipate some special edition recordings in genres like Timba and can't wait to see what happens this year. 

In the meantime, we have prepared something special in the aftermath of Cubadisco 2015; our Cubadisco 2015 section now contains pages with links to reviews and videos of many of the nominees, especially in the dance music and Jazz categories.   This is an opportunity to dive deeper into these wonderful recordings, and the videos are (usually) excellent.   
You can visit the English language version of the section here. 

A program on shortwave radio which your servant hosts, From the Isle of Music, is dedicated to several different genres of Cuba's music and also features interviews with the artists in addition to the music.   One of the stations that transmits the program is in Germany, the other in the United States. 

ESPAÑOL: Cubadisco 2016, el programa de premiaciónes más importante en Cuba para la música grabada, además de ser una serie de conciertos durante una semana, un simposio y una feria comercial, tendrá lugar del 14 al 22 de mayo de 2016, en varios lugares de La Habana. El tema de este año es Música Bailable, y el País de Honor es Mozambique. Esperamos con muchisimo entusiasmo algunas grabaciones de edición especial en géneros como la Timba y no podemos esperar a ver qué va a pasar este año.

Mientras tanto, hemos preparado algo especial en las secuelas del Cubadisco 2015; nuestra sección de Cubadisco 2015 ahora contiene páginas con enlaces a reseñas y videos de muchos de los nominados, especialmente en la categorias de música de baile y el Jazz. Es una oportunidad para profundizar más en estas maravillosas grabaciones y los videos son (usualmente) excelentes.
Se puede visitar la versión en español de la sección aquí.

Un programa radial de onda corta, de lo cual su siervo es presentador, From the Isle of Music, se dedica a multiples géneros diferentes de la música de Cuba y también cuenta con entrevistas a los artistas, además de la música. Una de las emisoras que transmiten el programa está en Alemania, la otra  en los Estados Unidos.

Wed, 20 Apr 2016 22:22:41 -0400
Cubanismo Gallery From Tom Ehrlich

Click here for the full gallery.

Sat, 02 Apr 2016 16:56:47 -0400
El Baile de la Palangana - Video

Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad are currently touring Venezuela but yesterday they released the official video for "El baile de la palangana", a whimsical song that has been popular at concerts for months now. The new CD is going by the working title "Más Duro" and as we have mentioned before, it features a number of guest artists such as El Canario Issac Delgado and Alexander Abreu. The band will be touring Europe in May-June and will visit at least nine countries. Stay tuned. We will soon update the tours page with the full list of confirmed concerts.

Thu, 31 Mar 2016 13:51:40 -0400
Tom Ehrlich's Photo-Report on La Rumba Q' Tumba

[click here for the full gallery] For the past two years, DJ Leydis has been bringing a “little bit of Cuba” to the San Francisco Bay Area. Once a month, currently at The New Parish in Oakland, California, DJ Leydis and a group of her friends present a Cuban House Party (called La Rumba Q' Tumba), with DJs Leydis and Walt Digz spinning hot timba dance music, alternating with live performances by Bay Area rumberos. [Tom Ehrlich]

Sun, 27 Mar 2016 22:31:06 -0400
Cubanismo all Weekend at SF JAZZ!

After their successful show at Yoshi's last year, Cubanismo is back for a string of big concerts at SF JAZZ: tonight, Saturday and a Sunday matinee. Click here for the details. And here's Tom Ehrlich's gallery from the 2015 show.

Fri, 25 Mar 2016 19:23:02 -0400
Bábaro Fines y su Mayimbe in Europe Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe Europe 2016

Bárbaro Fines y suu Mayimbe - Te Vi Nacer

On the heels of the release of "Te Vi Nacer" - their third and hottest CD yet - Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe are in Europe and will kick off their month-long tour tonight with a concert at Palacio de la Salsa in Riccione, Italy. The tour will take them to Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Sweden.  Click here to find a concert near you. The band is also planning a tour of the US later this year, so stay tuned for more information.

Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad in Venezuela

Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdada in Venezuela

Also touring right now Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad are in Venezuela for three weeks. We have updated the tours page so check it out. We know that El Niño y La Verdad have been in the studio working on their next release, so stay tuned for updates about the new CD, which features a number of guest artists including José Alberto "El Canario" and Alexander Abreu.

Thu, 24 Mar 2016 09:41:20 -0400
¡Cubanismo! hits the SF Jazz Center tomorrow "History was made earlier this week when President Obama became the 2nd sitting American president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years, and while all eyes (and ears) continue to await the results of the recent thaw in US-Cuban relations, it is clear that the Bay Area has had a long-standing love affair with Cuban music for decades." -- Pianist & Composer Rebeca Mualeón, form an interview with Jesús Alemañy of ¡Cubanismo!, performing at the SF Jazz Center this week March 24-28. Click here to read the full interview. 

Jesús Alemañy & ¡Cubanismo! March 24-27 @ the SF Jazz Center

Jesús Alemañy & ¡Cubanismo!
March 24-27 @ the SF Jazz Center
7:30 pm every night
201 Franklin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Click HERE for tickets
Box office 415-788-7353

check out and listen to ¡Cubanismo! on youtube

¡Cubanismo! founder Jesús Alemañy came to fame as a brilliant 15-year-old trumpet player for the iconic Cuban group Sierra Maestra – the band that led to the formation of Buena Vista Social Club – and carries on in that fiery Cuban tradition. Alemañy’s all-star orchestra plays sizzling dance tunes full of swaggering horn charts and wild polyrhythms that recall the vintage big-band son sound of the 1940s and 50s, embracing traditional rumba, cha-cha, danzon and pa’ca rhythms arranged in the classic descarga, or “jam session” style. Their 1996 self-titled debut album was a global smash, listed in the Top Ten lists of Billboard, Latin Beat, and Afropop Worldwide that year. In the two decades that followed, ¡Cubanismo! have toured the world relentlessly, while releasing a series of recordings that have expanded the venerated son sound to incorporate influences from American music, in particular the swampy, second-line rhythms of New Orleans, as well as the dancehall sounds of Jamaica. Since its beginning, ¡Cubanismo! has been a proving ground for many of Cuba’s greatest young musicians including pianist Alfredo Rodríguez and bassist Carlitos del Puerto, and the current incarnation is no exception, presenting a blazing ensemble of horns, rhythm section and percussion that transforms a concert hall into a hot night in Havana. 

Jesús Alemañy & ¡Cubanismo! March 24-27 @ the SF Jazz Center

Wed, 23 Mar 2016 15:37:30 -0400
Ian Stewart Reviews Mike Eckroth's Piano & Rhythm

Click here for Ian's review of this exciting new album with a Who's Who list of New York-based guest musicians: Dandy Rodríguez, Pedrito Martínez, Pepe Espinosa, Rubén Rodríguez, and many more.

Mon, 21 Mar 2016 19:46:56 -0400
Ivan Acosta y su Grupo De Cuba Somos
ENGLISH:  One of the mainstays of the small but impressive Jazz scene in Santiago de Cuba is Ivan Acosta and his Grupo De Cuba Somos.   I had the opportunity to meet him, record an interview and listen to his music in December.   You can read a review, see some photos and listen to the interview (in Spanish) here.  You can also listen to the interview and some music by the group on the radio program From the Isle of Music on Monday night, March 21; for more information, see the From the Isle of Music Facebook page. 
ESPAÑOL:  Uno de los pilares de la pequeña pero impresionante escena del jazz en Santiago de Cuba es Ivan Acosta y su Grupo De Cuba Somos. Tuve la oportunidad de conocerlo, grabar una entrevista y escuchar su música en diciembre. Usted puede leer una reseña, ver algunas fotos y escuchar la entrevista (en español) aquí. Tambíen pueden escuchar la entrevista y la música del grupo en el programa radial From the Isle of Music el lunes, 21 marzo; para más infomación, visiten la página Facebook de From the Isle of Music

Sun, 20 Mar 2016 22:50:34 -0400
Conga Pa' Cerrar Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera have just released the official video clip for the single "Conga pa' cerrar" from their latest album "La vuelta al mundo". This is another blazing arrangement by these masters of Timba and cubanía . They have been working on their new CD and in February released a little teaser of the new song "Siempre sí" on the Havana D'Primera Facebook page . This month they perform in Venezuela, next month Peru, and Alexander has also recorded on the upcoming CD by Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad. 2016 is going to be a great year for timba releases!

And here is the teaser of "Siempre sí".

Sat, 19 Mar 2016 16:11:51 -0400
More Interesting Events in the US ENGLISH:  On Friday, March 18, a stellar collection of artists from Cuba will be performing at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas: TelmaryYissy Garcia & Bandancha, Dayme Arocena, X Alfonso y La Flota, Kelvis Ochoa. This is a "do not miss" lineup.   
ESPAÑOL:  El viernes 18 de marzo, una colección estelar de artistas de Cuba se presentará en el South by Southwest Festival en Austin, Texas: Telmary, Yissy García y Bandancha, Dayme Arocena, X Alfonso y La Flota, Kelvis Ochoa.   Se trata de una "no se lo pierdan " alineación.

And in Chicago.....

Master percussionist Joaquin "El Pulpo" Pozo will be in town to teach some master classes and to perform as a guest artist with the Angel d'Cuba Septet.   
The classes are:
1. Thursday, 3/17, 7:30pm:  Latin Music School, 2725 W. Division, Chicago,
Facebook page for event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/987941537947443/
2.  Saturday, 3/19, 12-2 PM;  Worlds of Music Chicago, 4161 N. Damen
For more information, see http://www.worldsofmusicchicago.com/#!events/c7bs

The performance with the Angel d'Cuba Septet 
Friday, March 18, 8:30pm
Old Town School of Folk Music
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago
For more information, see:


Angel d'Cuba's group is also sporting Roy McGrath on saxophone and Edwin Sanchez on keyboards.  This could be a great show.  

Thu, 17 Mar 2016 00:10:53 -0400
Pedrito Martínez Group with Issac Delgado!

Wow - either one of these artists would be big news, but together it's a revelation. Issac is famous for his improvisation and his ability to soar over some of the greatest rhythm sections in Cuban music history and as we all know, PMG makes the short list in that particularly category. It's a marriage made in heaven at one of the great outdoor venues. Click here for more info.

Mon, 14 Mar 2016 20:50:06 -0400
Cuba Está de Moda Yulién Oviedo has just released his new video for "Cuba está de moda" and it couldn't have arrived at a more propitious time with visits later this month by President Obama and The Rolling Stones who will give a free concert. An enjoyable salsaton with fun coros and even a tip of the hat to the US national anthem. Well played Yulién, well played.

Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:39:51 -0400
Some Interesting Events in the US This Weekend Miami:  This weekend, Global Cuba Fest returns to Miami. This year's theme centers on Cuban artists in Spain.  Of special interest to TIMBA.com readers is the March 12 concert by Ivan Melon Lewis, who has made his mark in both Timba and Jazz.  For more information and tickets, see http://www.fundarte.us/fundarte_event.php?id=221 

New York:
 On Saturday, March 12, Cuban Jazz giant Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Esperanza Fernández, one of the world's leading Flamenco singers, present Flamenco Meets Cuba (Oh Vida! A Tribute to Beny Moré and Manolo Caracol).  This will take place at Roulette in Brooklyn.   For complete details and tickets, visit 

Here is a video of Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Esperanza Fernández together:

Wed, 09 Mar 2016 23:32:58 -0500
Encuentro Internacional Danzónero Miguel Failde
Este encuentro, que tiene lugar del 30 de marzo al 3 de abril en la Ciudad de Matanzas,  incluye clases, conciertos, talleres, un concurso de composición y mucho más.   El tribunal de premiación incluye maestros como Joaquín Betancourt Jackman, Maria Victoria Oliver y Alejandro Falcón
Para ver la convocatoria y aprender más acerca del encuentro, haga clic aquí
Para escuchar un anuncio radial, haga clic aquí

El 30 de marzo se lanzará el nuevo álbum Llegó la Failde por Orquesta Miguel Failde (EGREM 2016). El lanzamiento tendra lugar en un evento especial desde la Tropicana Varadero, en vivo por TV Cubana. Pueden escuchar una entrevista con Ethiel Failde, Director de la orquesta,  en el programa radial From the Isle of Music el lunes, 7 de marzo en las Americas entre 7-8pm EST en WBCQ, 7490 KHz (onda corta), escuchable via Internet durante la hora del programa (y solamente durante esa hora) también. 

Sun, 06 Mar 2016 22:37:37 -0500
SalsaRueda Festival Photos from Tom Ehrlich

Tirso Duarte and Timbalive tore it up at the amazing 8th annual San Francisco SalsaRueda Festival

Tue, 23 Feb 2016 00:12:54 -0500
Tirso Duarte & Timbalive

(photos by Leonel Rogier) Tirso Duarte returns to California for the first time since November, 2000 at the 8th annual San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival at the Hotel Whitcomb in San Francisco, backed by Timbalive (Saturday night). Timbalive will also - as they do each year - play their own show of original material Sunday night to close the festival.

I'll be giving a lecture on Tirso and his piano style on Saturday afternoon (4:30 to 6:00). Here's a youtube video to give you a preview of some (but not all!) of the content:

Sat, 13 Feb 2016 01:40:21 -0500
New Timbalive Release / Nuevo Lanzamiento de Timbalive ENGLISH:  Timbalive has a new release, Gasolina de avion, with a number of guest appearances including Descemer Bueno, Robertón, Los 4, Maykel Fonts and others.  You can read the review in English and watch the official video here. 

:  Timbalive tiene un nuevo lanzamiento, Gasolina de avion, con un montón de invitados incluyendo Descemer Bueno, Robertón, Los 4, Maykel Fonts y otros.  Puede leer la reseña en español y ver el video oficial aquí. 

ENGLISH: For those who love most styles of Cuban music in addition to Timba, a new radio program, From the Isle of Music, features almost everything including Timba, Traditiional Son, Jazz cubano, Fusion, Rock, even a little classical.  More importantly, the program includes interviews (sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish) with different Cuban artists each week. The program airs every Monday night in the Americas (Tuesday morning in Europe and Africa) on WBCQ, 7.490 MHz on shortwave (it also streams on the Internet during the hour of the broadcast). For more info, visit the WBCQ website or the From the Isle of Music Facebook page. The latter mentions the special guest for each upcoming program. 

ESPAÑOL: Para los amantes de la mayoría de los estilos de la música cubana, además de la Timba, un nuevo programa radial, From the Isle of Music, cuenta con casi todo, incluyendo la Timba, Son traditiional, Jazz cubano, Fusión, Fock, incluso un poco Clásica de vez en cuando.. Más importante, el programa incluye entrevistas (a veces en Inglés, a veces en Español) con diferentes artistas cubanos cada semana. El programa se transmite todos los lunes por la noche en las Américas (martes por la mañana en Europa y África) en WBCQ, 7.490 MHz en onda corta (también disponible via Internet durante la hora de la emisión). Para obtener más información, visite el sitio web de WBCQ o la página Facebook de From the Isle of Music. El último menciona el invitado especial para cada programa siguiente.

ENGLISH: Finally, The 8th Annual San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival takes place February 11-14 at the Hotel Whitcomb in San Francisco.  Among many other things, Tirso Duarte will perform with Timbalive, and Kevin Moore will present a lecture about Tirso Duarte.  Complete festival details can be found here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Por último, el 8° Festival de Rueda de Salsa en San Francisco tiene lugar de 11 a 14 febrero en el Hotel Whitcomb en San Francisco.  Entre muchas otras cosas, Tirso Duarte va a actuar con Timbalive, y Kevin Moore va a dar una conferencia acerca de Tirso Duarte.  Todos los detalles del festival se puede encontrar aquí. 

Mon, 08 Feb 2016 06:28:14 -0500
Carnaval Cubano

MAYITO RIVERA - Carnaval Cubano 2016
Posted by Carnaval Cubano on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Today marks the beginning of the annual Carnaval Cubano in Wroclow, Poland. The Carnaval includes concerts by FClan on Friday and Jose Torres y Salsa Tropical featuring Mayito Rivera on Saturday. You can see a short clip from one of their rehearsals above. In addition to the concerts, parties and dance shows at night, by day you can take part in dance and music workshops, lectures, a culinary presentation and on Sunday don't miss the noon screening of "The Black Roots of Salsa: The Emancipation of Cuban Rumba". Click here for the full program.

Thu, 04 Feb 2016 06:02:48 -0500
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews...../ Reseñas, reseñas, reseñas....

ENGLISH:  EGREM has been very productive with some excellent new Jazz releases, all of which are worth listening to.  You can read reviews in English in our Reviews section
ESPAÑOL:  La EGREM ha estado muy productiva con unos excelentes lanzamientos del Jazz, todos los cuales que valen la pena escuchar.  Puede leer reseñas en Español en nuestra sección Reseñas. 
ENGLISH: Also,  a review of Gotas de Sabor by Magic Sax, Santiago de Cuba's answer to Habana Sax
ESPAÑOL:  Además, una reseña de Gotas de Sabor por Magic Sax, el equivalente santiaguero de Habana Sax

ENGLISH: Eliades Ochoa & Barbarito Torres entertained Chicago last weekend, you can read about it and view photos here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Eliades Ochoa y Barbarito Torres entretenieron Chicago el pasado fin de semana, puede leer al respecto y ver las fotos aquí.

Tue, 02 Feb 2016 21:25:41 -0500
TIMBA LA Calixto Oviedo - Soultone

Get ready salseros of Los Angeles! Calixto Oviedo and TIMBA LA are bringing classic 90s timba to the land of LA Style Salsa. Calixto has put together a team of ten musicians to offer the City of Angles an authentic taste of what timba was like when the Havana scene was at it's most creative. The rhythm section is drums with timbales, congas, bass and piano. The horns are two trombones and two trumpets, and the vocals are by Julio César Bouza (Orquesta Reve and Tumbao Habana) and Lily Hernnández. TIMBA LA will have their debut performance on Saturday March 6th at La Trattoria 25. Book your table now!

Sun, 31 Jan 2016 13:58:30 -0500
Tom Ehrlich's Septeto Nacional Gallery Septeto Nacional, a Cuban music institution since 1927, performed to a sold out crowd at Brava Theater in San Francisco on January 17, 2016, playing their exquisite form of son. Six out of the seven were members of Septeto Nacional, but because of visa problems of their tres player, Iván Camblor, band leader, composer and tres player played with the group. Iván, who is originally from Cuba, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and leads a local son group, Pellejo Seco. Tito González, local Cuban sonero, also sang vocals on a couple of songs.

Click here for the full gallery.

Fri, 29 Jan 2016 02:35:54 -0500
Some Things to Come in Havana in 2016 I was at Jazz Plaza in Havana (and also in Santiago de Cuba) in December, and in the near future I will be sharing a lot of what I learned and experienced.  For the moment, there are a number of important events during the next few months in Havana that deserve your attention:

1st Carnaval de la Salsa,  25-28 February, 2016. 
Maykel Blanco
is the producer of this street festival, which has a pretty stellar lineup:

For more information, there is a Facebook Page: Carnaval De La Salsa En Cuba

La XV Fiesta del Tambor Guillermo Barretto  (1-6 Marzo 2016, Habana) es un concurso y festival que atrae a más de 1000 músicos. 
El Centro Nacional de Música Popular convoca a la XV Edición del Concurso y Festival Internacional Fiesta del Tambor “Guillermo Barreto in Memoriam”, que se realizará en la Habana, del 1 al 6 de Marzo de 2016 y contará como sedes principales al Teatro Mella, Teatro Karl Marx, Sala Avenida, El Salón Rosado de La Tropical, Jardines del Teatro Mella
En este evento participarán importantes músicos y percusionistas nacionales e internacionales, las principales bandas de música popular bailable de Cuba, las compañías danzarias más destacadas del país, grupos de jazz, y grupos folklóricos, añadiendo que se impartirán Clases Magistrales de Percusión y Danza.
Como parte de las actividades del evento se realizarán dos Concursos Internacionales, uno de Percusión abierto a todas las edades y a todo el público, y el segundo de baile Casino también con carácter nacional e internacional para mayores de 15 años. Los ganadores de estos concursos recibirán premios de instrumentos musicales de firmas nacional e internacionalmente reconocidas como GON BOPS, SABIAN, PEARL, REGAL TIP, SONOC, EVANS, etc., y además la Cadena Hotelera Sol Meliá, la Agencia Paradiso y los sponsors del evento aportarán importantes reconocimientos tales como: estadía en sus instalaciones, diplomas acreditativos, etc.
La Agencia PARADISO es la receptora del evento.
Giraldo Piloto
Presidente Fiesta del Tambor

Para más información, el sitio web es http://www.fiestadeltambor.cult.cu/

Cubadisco 2016  (May 14-22, 2016) & 1st Fiesta Mundial de Casino "Casino de Todos" (May 19-22, 2016), both in Havana Cuba

Cubadisco is part music awards (which carry the same level of prestige in Cuba that the GRAMMY awards carry in the United States), part symposium, part trade fair, part concert series, and this year the theme is Música Popular Bailable (Popular Dance Music),  Parallel with the event will be the 1st Fiesta Mundial de Casino, which will include workshops, dance parties and exhibitions. 
For more information in English, click here. 
Para más información en Español, haga clic aquí. 

In the near future, the Organizing Committee will be putting out a call to dance schools and casino groups that may wish to participate in the festival.   If you have a school or group that would like to inquire about participating, The President of the Organizing Committee is Juan Gómez, and his email cubadisco.acad@cubarte.cult.cu

En un futuro próximo, el Comité Organizador publicará una convocatoria para las escuelas de baile y grupos de casino que deseen participar en el festival. Si usted tiene una escuela o grupo que desea preguntar acerca de la participación, el Presidente del Comité Organizador es Juan Gómez, y su correo electronico es cubadisco.acad@cubarte.cult.cu 


ENGLISH:   Beginning February 1, yours truly (Bill Tilford) will be doing an hour-long radio program every Monday night from 8-9 PM EST called From the Isle of Music, dedicated to most of the genres of music that you can hear in Cuba.  More information @
From the Isle of Music
ESPAÑOL: A partir del 1 de febrero,  su servidor (Bill Tilford) va a hacer un programa radial de una hora todos los lunes por la noche de 8-9 PM EST llamada From the Isle of Music, dedicada a la mayoría de los géneros de la música que se puede escuchar en Cuba. Más información @ From the Isle of Music

Sun, 24 Jan 2016 22:49:30 -0500
Llegó Aisar Hernandez Aisar Hernandez photo by Roberto Ruiz
Aisar Hernandez in the studio
Photo ©Roberto Ruiz. Used by permission

Today Aisar Hernandez, director, composer, arranger and bassist of El Expresso de Cuba – the newest group on Havana's popular dance music scene – held a press conference about this fledgling musical project. Sadly, Timba.com was not there. But Aisar did take time out of his busy schedule to do an interview for Timba.com. I also want to give a special thanks to Roberto Ruiz for allowing us to use some of his photos to bring some visuals to the interview.

For those of you who may be new to Timba, Aisar was musical director of the great orchestra Elito Revé y su Charangón for ten years, during which time they released the hit CDs "Fresquecito", "De que estamos hablando" and "La aplanadora de Cuba". In 2008 he also released four songs under the name El Expresso de Cuba, but Aisar stayed with Revé until December 2015 when he announced he would finally start his own band.

Knowing Aisar's talent as a composer and arranger and his command of Cuban popular dance music ranging from timba to more traditional music such as son, I have great expectations for this band. In the interview Aisar tells us not only about the band and how we can expect it to differ from the Charangón, but also about what it takes to be a good band leader and the difficulties of starting  a new orchestra in times such as these.
Click here to read the English translation of the interview.

Dale cliq aquí para leer la entrevista en el español original.

Thu, 21 Jan 2016 17:30:08 -0500
Septeto Nacional Returns to the US (Updated) UPDATE: The Sunday show was sold out and a clinic (with lots of performing) has been added for Monday. Click here for more details.

Septeto Nacional will be in New York at Lehman College on January 16th (Orquesta Broadway opens) and at Brava Theatre in SF on the 17th. Stay tuned for other dates.

Sat, 09 Jan 2016 21:15:34 -0500
Pepito Gomez New Single Pepito Gomez - Como le digo que no

One of the most iconic young Cuban voices is back with a new single. Pepito Gómez has released "Como le digo que no" as a single at CD Baby. The song is his own composition with an arrangement that combines the New York sound with Cuba. Pepito gave us a little interview.

Michelle: Tell us about the new single.

Pepito: I composed this song for people who are in love. When a relationship starts, your friends and family start giving their opinions, and even if people say that this relationship isn't right for you or that this partner is not for you, it's too late to say no to what is already in your heart. Neither age difference, nor color, nor race matter when there is love.

Michelle: Is this just a single or part of a future CD?

Pepito: This song is a single from a series of songs that I have composed with the intention of recording a CD in 2016. My goal is to go to sing in Europe to the audience that I haven't seen for a little while, and that write asking when I can go. I think this year will have the opportunity to return.

Michelle: Which musicians were involved in the recording?

Pepito: The song was recorded by musicians from different countries such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Peru and New York. We have the opportunity o live together and bring to the music a little bit of flavor from every corner of the world. I am very happy that it is like this and that music serves to unite countries and musicians - that people can enjoy it and feel happy.

Michelle: Are you working on other projects as well?

Pepito: I have also a project that will involve several orchestras. I have already spoken with some directors who have said yes. I think it will be interesting if everything turns out as we plan. I think there's no doubt that the people who will enjoy it the most will be the dancers.

Click here to buy "Como le digo que no"

Bass:  Daymar Calvario  ...Cuba
Piano & Arrangement: Junito Davila .. Puerto Rico 
Congas: Mauricio Herrera Tamayo  ... Cuba 
Timbal: Bobby Allende ... Puerto Rico
Bongo: Jhair Sala  ... Peru 
Trumpet: Anibal Martinez  ...Puerto Rico
Trombone: Hommy Ramos  .... Puerto Rico
Coros: Carlos Acevedo y Papote Jimenez .... Puerto Rico
Lyrics , Music, Electric Tres & Production : Jose "Pepito" Gomez ... Cuba 
Mix & Mastering: Rolando Alejandro  ....Puerto Rico
Recording engineer: Adam Perez .... Dominican & Puertorican
Recorded in: Allerton Estudio Bronx NY 
General Production: Guararey Entertainment... NY

Tue, 29 Dec 2015 15:13:22 -0500
Carnaval de la Salsa Carnaval de la Salsa - Havana

Maykel Blanco isn't content just maintaining his own band Salsa Mayor at the top of the charts year after year, as with their new release "Que no me quiten la fe" (review coming soon). He has also dedicated himself to finding new ways to promote Cuban music and dance, both on the island and internationally.

Part of this endeavor is the 1st annual Carnaval de la Salsa, which will take place in Havana from February 25-28. The program (which is still subject to change) includes concerts by the most popular timba bands in Cuba: Los Van Van, Issac Delgado, Klímax, Manolito y su Trabuco, Paulo FG, Tanja Pantoja, Havana D'Primera, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, El Niño y La Verdad, Elito Revé y Su Charangón, Bamboleo and of course Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor.

That is more than enough to make the Carnaval de la Salsa a must-attend event for any timba fan. But Maykel hasn't forgotten the dancers who want to work on their cubania . By day you can take part in workshops with well-known Cuban dance instructors and the special participation of Maykel Fonts.

For the parties, Maykel (Blanco) is also bringing in international DJs such as Jack El Calvo (France), El Samurai (Italy) and Patricia La Peruana (France), as well as Cuba's best-known timba DJ  - Mandy. There will  be comparsas every day, so this really is going to be an amazing event. I am tempted to ask for vacation, even though I just got back from Cuba three weeks ago. Book your plane tickets now before the prices go up! We will keep you updated, and don't forget to follow Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor at Facebook .

Mon, 28 Dec 2015 06:05:37 -0500
¡¿Dime Qué?! Calle Real's third CD is available today at on-line digital retailers, just in time for Christmas!

Dime Qué - on sale now!

It has been a long road - six years to be exact - but with patience, dedication and faith the guys from Calle Real will celebrate the release of their third album with a release party tonight at Scala Theater in Stockholm, Sweden. I happen to be out-of-town as often seems to be the case when we have timba events in Stockholm, so I will not eb able to report on the party. But I have already bought the CD and can recommend it as an important addition to any timbero's collection, be you DJ, dancer or simply someone who likes to listen. If you're lucky enough to be at the concert tonight or catch them in concert next year - bring some extra cash and pick up a hardcopy! Stay tuned for the full album review!

Mon, 21 Dec 2015 08:24:45 -0500
JAZZ PLAZA & OYE MI CANTO ENGLISH:   Jazz Plaza 2015, the 31st Edition of Havana's international Jazz Festival, will take place from December 17-20 in multiple venues in Havana.  This event includes classes, lectures and exhibits in the daytime along with multiple concerts every night in multiple venues in the city. This year's theme is Genres that Influence Jazz, and in addition to an excellent roster of Jazz artists, there will be a few invited guests from other genres including ZZ Top  and Kenny G  You can read a lot more about Jazz Plaza at the Decubajazz website. 
ESPAÑOL:    Jazz Plaza 2015, la 31a edición del Festival Internacional Jazz Plaza, se celebrará del 17 al 20 diciembre en múltiples sedes en La Habana. Este evento incluye clases, conferencias y exhibiciones durante el día junto con múltiples conciertos cada noche en multiples lugares en la ciudad.  El tema de este año es Géneros musicales que influyen en el Jazz, y además de una excelente lista de artistas de jazz, habrán unos invitados de otros géneros como ZZ Top  y Kenny G.  Pueden  leer mucho más sobre Jazz Plaza en  el sitio web Decubajazz.

ENGLISH:  Before that, the third edition of the vocal competition Oye Mi Canto concludes at the Complejo Cultural Heredia in Santiago de Cuba on Saturday, December 12.  This competition has been in progress since September. 
ESPAÑOL : Antes de eso, la tercera edición del concurso vocal Oye Mi Canto concluye en el Complejo Cultural Heredia en Santiago de Cuba el sábado, 12 de diciembre.  Este concurso ha estado en progreso desde septiembre.

Thu, 10 Dec 2015 09:02:42 -0500
Timba for the Holidays Just in time for the holidays, two long-awaited timba releases will be dropping in December. First out is Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor with "Que no me quiten la fe", which will be available on December 18th. They are being very hush-hush about the 10 tracks on the album other than the songs we've already heard of such as "Te escapaste" and the title track. Maykel promises us that we'll be surprised.

No me quiten la fe

Calle Real is also back after a six-year wait. On December 21st they will release their third CD - "Dime qué". The album contains an intro and 10 tracks (see below). We've heard some of the new songs in recent live performances. At this point you can really say that Calle Real has a sello . Some things that stand out are the laid-back groove and the unusual harmonies in many of the songs. I really enjoy the role of the horns in the new arrangements as well. ButI will leave the album review for later. For now just remember to save the dates December 18th and 21st!

Dime qué

Track list
Somos El Team
Te Lo Di
Película en color
Dime Qué
Entre La Espada y La Pared

Wed, 09 Dec 2015 11:18:47 -0500
58th Grammy Award® Nominations Announced Early yesterday, the 58th Grammy Award® Nominations were announced. Latin Grammy® winners Septeto Santiaguero & José Alberto El Canario are nominated for Best Tropical Latin Album for their collaborative tribute to Cuban music icons Los Compadres (No Quiero Llanto - read our review here) and singer-songwriter Alex Cuba (real name Alexis Puentes, twin brother of Adonis Puentes) is nominated for Best Lain Pop Album. In Best Latin Jazz Album, Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba is nominated with his record "Suite Caminos". Congratulations to all the Nominees! 

This follows good times in Las Vegas a few weeks ago at the 16th annual Latin Grammys. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Alden González (producer & manager) and Fernando Dewar (leader, tres) of El Septeto Santiaguero, our Beyond Salsa star and pianist extraordinaire Iván "Melón" Lewis (who was nominated for Best New Artist and Best Latin Jazz Album, and also performed in the pre-telecast) and our other Beyond Salsa star, bassist, composer, vocalist and all around virtuoso Alaín Pérez. As anyone who has visited the island and experienced the level of musicianship, it was interesting to get their viewpoints on what we were seeing and hearing at the Latin Grammy show compared to the performances in Cuba. It is a televised event after all, and it was GREAT, but my opinion is that after a while the general tendency to rely on flamboyant and pyrotechnic visual elements and stimulation starts eroding the music and sound. The Kennedy Center Honors have succeeded in staying away from this trap and continue delivering breathtaking musical performances. Also I was sad to notice that the Best Salsa Album category was removed from the telecast and into the not-televised part (the pre-telecast, now called "the premier"). We had one (1) single tropical number in the whole show. Jeez... that wasn't too cool.  

One soundbyte that has stayed with me from that night -- courtesy of Alden -- is that he mentioned that "precisely now that the Buena Vista Social Club is saying goodbye to the stage, Septeto Santiaguero emerges as a world-class group, taking the very best of Cuban traditional music to every part of the world". This is a translation from a Cuban newspaper (source), that leaves out the notion of the "passing of the torch" or "passing the baton". It's much better in Spanish: "...(Alden) aprovechó para agradecer a Alain Pérez y Sonlokos -- competidores cubanos en la misma categoría -- las muestras de admiración y respeto. “Lo más importante es que se ha impuesto la música tradicional cubana y ahora, que el Buena Vista Social Club ya no estará más en los escenarios internacionales, el relevo está garantizado”. Pretty cool. 

Here are some more highlights from the Latin Grammys in Las Vegas:

José Alberto El Canario accepts and thanks el Septeto Santiaguero for their Latin Grammy Award®José Alberto El Canario accepts and thanks Alden Gozález and Fernando Dewar from El Septeto Santiaguero for their Latin Grammy Award®

Latin Grammy® nomination medals presented to El Canario, Alden and Fernando (yours truly on the far left)Latin Grammy® nomination medals presented to El Canario, Alden and Fernando (yours truly on the far left - I had the honor of co-mixing and mastering the record)

Iván Melón Lewis performing at the Latin Grammy® Pre-TelecastIván Melón Lewis performing at the Latin Grammy® Pre-Telecast

Javier Monteverde, Iván Melón Lewis, Michael Lázarus, Fernando DewarJavier Monteverde, Michael Lázarus, Iván Melón Lewis, Fernando Dewar

Con el bárbaro de los bárbaros... Latin Grammy® Nominee Alaín PérezCon el bárbaro de los bárbaros... Latin Grammy® Nominee Alaín Pérez (left)

Latin Grammy® tickets, after-party and program materialsLatin Grammy® tickets, after-party and program materials

2015 Latin Grammy® Winner for Best Traditional Tropical Album2015 Latin Grammy® Winner for Best Traditional Tropical Album

Enough said.

Tue, 08 Dec 2015 04:27:12 -0500
NEW GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR RUEDA DE CASINO ESTABLISHED IN HAVANA ENGLISH:  On Wednesday, November 25, the Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde reported that 964 dancers established a new Guinness world record (14 minutes and 58 seconds) for dancing a giant Rueda de Casino en Havana, Cuba.   The previous record had been established in Greece in 2014. You can read the entire Juventud Rebelde article here. 
This is as good a time as any to mention the excellent instructional and historical video Bailar Casino es muy facil, which was made in Cuba about a decade ago.   You can read our review in English here. 

ESPAÑOL: El miércoles, 25 de noviembre, el periódico cubano Juventud Rebelde informaba que 964 bailarines habian establecido un nuevo récord mundial Guinness (14 minutos y 58 segundos) con una gigante Rueda de Casino en La Habana, Cuba. El récord anterior se había establecido en Grecia en 2014. Puede leer el artículo completo en Juventud Rebelde aquí.
Este es un momento tan bueno como cualquier otro para mencionar el excelente video instrucciónal  y histórico Bailar Casino es muy facil, realizado en Cuba hace una década. Puede leer nuestra reseña en Español aquí.

Sun, 29 Nov 2015 17:47:07 -0500
Pedrito Martínez Group at Yoshi's As promised, Tom's second PMG gallery from their recent tour.

Tue, 24 Nov 2015 13:00:31 -0500

ENGLISH:  Timbalive, one of the best and most authentic Timba groups in the United States, has just released a new single, Todo lo que tu quieras.   This will be followed in a few weeks by their new album, Gasolina de avion.  Timbalive has two new vocalists: Eylen Temon, a former member of Orquesta Anacaona, and Michel Marcos.  While we await the new album, you can purchase the single on iTunes here. 
ESPAÑOL: Timbalive, uno de los mejores y más auténticos grupos de Timba en los Estados Unidos, acaba de lanzar un nuevo single, Todo lo que tu quieras. Esto será seguido en unas semanas con su nuevo álbum, Gasolina de avion. Timbalive tiene dos nuevos vocalistas: Eylen Temon, un ex miembro de la Orquesta Anacaona, y Michel Marcos. Mientras esperamos el nuevo álbum,  puede comprar el single en iTunes aquí.

Photo: Darron Jones

ENGLISH:  A student orchestra from ISA and the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic collaborated in an excellent concert in Chicago last week.  You can read a full review here. 
ESPAÑOL: Una orquesta estudiantil de  ISA y el Chicago Jazz Philharmonic colaboraron en un excelente concierto en Chicago la semana pasada. Puede leer una reseña completa aquí.

ENGLISH:  Finally, congratulations to Cuba's Latin GRAMMY winners Pablo Milanés (Lifetime Acheivement Award), Septeto Santiaguero (Best Traditional Tropical Album), Silvio Rodríguez with Calle 13 (Best Short Form Music Video); cubanos Paquito d'Rivera (Best Latin Jazz Album) and Alex Cuba (Best Singer Songwriter Album); and of course TIMBA.com's Michael Lazarus, who co-mixed and mastered the Septeto Santiaguero album and mixed the winner in Best Children's Album, Mister G. Mike was in Las Vegas for the ceremonies, so we'll wait to hear from him before we say more.   
ESPAÑOL: Por último, felicidades a los ganadores cubanos del Latin GRAMMY:  Pablo Milanés (Premio de la Excelencía Musical), Septeto Santiaguero (Mejor Álbum Tropical Tradicional), Silvio Rodríguez con Calle 13 (Mejor Video Musical Versión Corta); cubanos Paquito d'Rivera (Mejor Álbum de Jazz Latino), Alex Cuba (Mejor Álbum Cantuator); y por supuesto Michael Lazarus de TIMBA.com, quien co-mezcló y masterizó el álbum de Septeto Santiaguero y mezcló el ganador en Best Latin Children's Album, Mister G.. Mike estuvo en Las Vegas en las ceremonias, por lo que no vamos a decir más hasta que el regrese. 

Sat, 21 Nov 2015 20:27:40 -0500
JOJAZZ & JAZZ PLAZA IN CUBA ENGLISH:  From November 19-22,  JoJazz 2015,, the 18th International Competition of Young Jazzistas, will take place in La Habana, Cuba. This event is a combination of competitions and concerts with two age ranges: 16-20 and 21-30, and for many years  it has proven to be a critical moment in the emergence of some of Cuba's best young Jazz tallent.. Joaquín Betancourt Jackman, a key figure in JoJazz, always assembles a special Jazz band which has made some interesting recordings in previous years. You can read a lot more about JoJazz at the Decubajazz website. 
ESPAÑOL: Del 19-22 noviembre, JoJazz 2015, el 18 Concurso Internacional de Jóvenes Jazzistas, se llevará a cabo en La Habana, Cuba. Este evento es una combinación de competencias y conciertos con dos rangos de edad: 16-20 y 21-30, y durante muchos años ha demostrado ser un momento crítico en la aparición de algunos de los mejores talentos jovenes del Jazz en Cuba. Joaquín Betancourt Jackman, una figura clave en JoJazz, siempre monta una banda especial de Jazz que ha hecho algunas grabaciones interesantes en años anteriores. Pueden  leer mucho más sobre JoJazz en el sitio web Decubajazz.

ENGLISH:  Jazz Plaza 2015, the 31st Edition of Havana's international Jazz Festival, will take place from December 17-20 in multiple venues in Havana. We'll have a lot more to say about this event, which includes classes in the daytime along with multiple concerts every night, closer to the date.  This year's theme is Genres that Influence Jazz, and in addition to an excellent roster of Jazz artists, there will be a few invited guests from other genres including ZZ Top and Kenny G You can read a lot more about Jazz Plaza at the Decubajazz website. 
ESPAÑOL:  Jazz Plaza 2015, la 31a edición del Festival Internacional Jazz Plaza, se celebrará del 17 al 20 diciembre en múltiples sedes en La Habana. Vamos a tener mucho más que decir acerca de este evento, que incluye clases durante el día junto con múltiples conciertos cada noche, más cerca de la fecha.  El tema de este año es Géneros musicales que influyen en el Jazz, y además de una excelente lista de artistas de jazz, habrán unos invitados de otros géneros como ZZ Top y Kenny G. Pueden  leer mucho más sobre Jazz Plaza en el sitio web Decubajazz.

ENGLISH: We don't have the inside track on who will win at the Latin GRAMMY awards, which will be announced on November 19, but one thing will definitely happen:  Pablo Milanés will be among the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award on November 18. One thing that many younger people don't know about Mr. Milanes is that in addition to his stellar solo career, he was also a member of the Grupo de Experimentación Sonora del ICAIC (GES), one of Cuba's most important progressive ensembles in its day. Congratulations to Mr. Milanés!
You can watch the presentation of the awards on Latingrammy.com;  remember that most of the genres of greatest interest to many of us are NOT covered on the network television broadcast
ESPAÑOL:  No tenemos "la pista interior" para quién va a ganar en los premios Latin GRAMMY, que se anunciarán el 19 de noviembre, pero una cosa sin duda va a pasar: Pablo Milanés será uno de los ganadores del Premio a la Excelencia Musical en noviembre 18. Uno cosa que muchos jóvenes no saben sobre el Sr. Milanés es que, además de su carrera como solista estelar, él era también un miembro del Grupo de Experimentación Sonora del ICAIC (GES), una de las más importantes agrupaciones progresistas de Cuba en su día. ¡Felicidades a Sr. Milanés!
Pueden ver la presentación de los premios en Latingrammy.com; recuerden que la mayoría de los géneros de mayor interés para muchos de nosotros NO están cubiertos en la teledifusión de red. 


Wed, 18 Nov 2015 01:37:16 -0500
Tom Ehrlich's Pedrito Martínez Group Photos Click here for Tom's gallery. PMG opened for Irakere at Sonoma State in Rohnert Park (see previous post). Photos from PMG's Yoshi's gig will be up soon. Also keep an eye out for their upcoming second CD, Havana Dreams, featuring Issac Delgado, Telmary and Descemer Bueno.

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 00:58:21 -0500
Tom Ehrlich's Irakere Photos

Click here for Tom's gallery of photos from Irakere's performance at Sonoma State. Pictured above are Gastón Joya, Dreiser Durruthy and Rodney Barreto.

Sat, 14 Nov 2015 20:48:03 -0500
ENGLISH:  The Chucho Valdés Irakere 40 tour gave an explosive concert at Symphony Center in Chicago on November 6 before moving on to Michigan.  You can read Bill Tilford's  review, which includes some photos, here. 
A few cities remain in the tour:  See our tour listing here.

ESPAÑOL: La gira de Chucho Valdés Irakere 40  dio un concierto explosivo en el Symphony Center en Chicago el 6 de noviembre, antes de pasar a Michigan. Pueden leer la reseña por Bill Tilford, que incluye algunas fotos, aquí.
Quedan algunas ciudades en la gira: Pueden ver nuestra lista de ciudades aquí

ENGLISH:  The excitement in Chicago is far from finished - on Friday, November 13, the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic will present Scenes From Life:  Cuba!, part of a much longer and broader exchange between the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and the Universidad de las Artes (ISA), one of Cuba's premier music education institutions.   This concert will include invited students from ISA. Watch the video below to learn more about the history of this wonderful project, and to purchase tickets for Friday's concert,  see the Auditorium Theatre website here

ESPAÑOL: La emoción en Chicago está lejos de haber terminado - el viernes, el 13 de noviembre, el Chicago Jazz Philharmonic presentará Scenes From Life: Cuba!, parte de un intercambio mucho más largo y más amplio entre el Chicago Jazz Philharmonic y la Universidad de las Artes (ISA), una de las instituciones de educación musical más importantes en Cuba. Este concierto incluirá estudiantes invitados de ISA. Pueden mirar el vídeo a continuación para obtener más información sobre la historia  de este maravilloso proyecto, y para comprar boletos para el concierto del viernes, consulten el sitio web del Auditorium Theatre aquí.

Sun, 08 Nov 2015 22:06:46 -0500
PMG's 2nd CD Recorded in Havana The Pedrito Martínez Group recorded their second CD in Havana last month, with guest stars Issac Delgado, Telmary, Román Díaz and Descemer Bueno (pictured below). Many more photos coming. Click here for the full gallery.

Sun, 08 Nov 2015 03:36:14 -0500
CD REVIEW / RESEÑA DE CD: TRIBUTE TO IRAKERE ENGLISH:  Some of you have been or will be fortunate enough to see the Irakere 40 tour in concert, which means that you may have this scorching new disc already.  For the benefit of everyone else, you can read our review here. 

ESPAÑOL: Algunos de ustedes han tenido o van a tener la suerte de ver la gira de Irakere 40 en concierto, lo que significa que ya pueden poseer este nuevo disco, que está en fuego. Para beneficiarse a todos los demás,  pueden leer nuestra reseña aquí.




Tue, 03 Nov 2015 22:59:29 -0500
Wil Campa in Havana Tom's photo series continues ...

Mon, 02 Nov 2015 16:38:03 -0500
Tom's Excellent Cuban Adventure

Wil Campa playing for several thousand frantic fans in Cienfuegos - click here for the full gallery - more coming soon.

Meanwhile, Irakere continues this week at SFJAZZ.

Fri, 30 Oct 2015 19:32:39 -0400
Irakere in Santa Cruz Tonight   photos by Tom Ehrlich - Sonoma State University - Oct. 25

Irakere and Pedrito Martínez played an incredible double bill at Sonoma State on Sunday. The new Irakere = hosted by Kuumbwa Jazz Center at Santa Cruz's El Río Theater -consists of a beefed up horn section with an extra trumpet and an insanely great rhythm section consisting of Gastón Joya on bass, Rodney Barreto on drums, Yaroldy Abreu on congas and an amazing batalero/folkloric vocalist named Dresiner Durruthy.

Tue, 27 Oct 2015 02:16:04 -0400

ENGLISH:  As the Chucho Valdés "Irakere 40" tour continues, it is worth taking a moment to remember a few reasons why Irakere is so important in the history of modern Cuban Jazz and dance music: 

1.  Irakere put Cuba back on the radar of Jazz fans around the world after it had more or less vanished from it for a time.  It's not that there wasn't any Jazz in Cuba, but it had no longer been getting serious  international attention until Irakere came along. 
2.  Many of Cuba's most important modern artists such as José Luis Cortés, César López and Maraca (to name just three of many) spent time in Irakere. In addition to being a world class ensemble in its own right, it was also an influence upon many of the important band leaders to come.  
3.  Irakere was taken equally seriously as a Jazz band and a dance band.  Before them, nearly everyone was perceived primarily as one or the other.   This made it possible for some subsequent artists such as Maraca to follow suit. 
4.  We take the use of batá drums in Jazz for granted now, but Irakere used these in a pioneering way. 
5. Almost a decade before anyone was using the word Timba for a musical style, Irakere was performing its precursors, and that music still holds up today. Without Irakere's musical DNA, Timba as we know it today would have been something different if it existed at all. 

The next stops for this tour are in Rohnert Park,  Santa Cruz and  San Francisco.  Yes, it is a new generation of musicians with Chucho.  So was the original once upon a time.  Arturo and Paquito did not start out as famous names either.   Don't miss this. 

ESPAÑOL: Mientras que la gira de Chucho Valdés "Irakere 40"  continúa, vale la pena tomar un momento para recordar algunas razones que Irakere es tan importante en la historia del Jazz y la Música Popular Bailable en Cuba: 

1. Irakere puso Cuba de vuelta en el radar de los aficionados de jazz de todo el mundo después de que el país había más o menos desaparecido de eso por un tiempo. Por supuesto había el Jazz en Cuba, pero el género no había estado recibiendo la atención internacional en serio hasta Irakere llegó.
2. Muchos de los más importantes artistas modernos cubanos como José Luis Cortés, César López y Maraca (por nombrar sólo tres de muchos) pasaban un tiempo en Irakere. Además de ser un grupo de clase mundial en su propio derecho,  fue una influencia sobre muchos de los líderes de agrupaciones importantes por venir.
3. Irakere fue tomada por igual en serio como un ensemble de jazz y un grupo bailable.  Antes de ellos, casi todo el mundo se percibía principalmente como uno u el otro. Esto desarollo hizo posible que algunos artistas posteriores como Maraca pudieron seguir su ejemplo.
4. Tomamos el uso de tambores batá en Jazz por hecho ahora, pero Irakere utilizaba ellos en forma pionera.
5. Casi una década antes de que alguien estaba usando la palabra Timba para un estilo musical, Irakere tocaba sus precursores, y la música aún mantiene hasta hoy. Sin ADN musical de Irakere, Timba como la conocemos hoy en día habría sido algo diferente si existiera en absoluto.

Los próximos lugares en esta gira están en Rohnert Park, Santa Cruz y San Francisco. Sí, es una nueva generación de músicos que trabajan con Chucho, pero este grupo siempre fue una incubadora importante desde el principio. Tampoco comienzaron Arturo y Paquito como nombres tan famosos. No se lo pierdan.   

ENGLISH:  Yoruba Andabo, one of Cuba's most exciting Afro Cuban folkloric ensembles, is performing in  Chicago  this week.  If you have the good fortune to be near the city, this is another event worth experiencing. 

Yoruba Andabo, uno de los más emocionantes conjuntos folklóricos afro cubanos de Cuba, está presentando en Chicago esta semana. Si tiene la suerte de estar cerca de la ciudad, este es otro evento que vale la pena experimentar.

Sun, 25 Oct 2015 19:16:43 -0400
Pedrito Martínez Group @Yoshi's Saturday Tom Ehrlich just returned from Havana where he photographed The Pedrito Martínez Group recording their second CD with a variety of guest artists including Issac Delgado, Telmary, Román Díaz and Descemer Bueno.

Pedrito's band will play Yoshi's, Oakland at 7:30, Saturday, Oct. 24 and open for Irakere in Rohnert Park on Sunday. Irakere plays Santa Cruz (no opening act) on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Fri, 23 Oct 2015 15:50:47 -0400

ENGLISH:  The Chucho Valdés tour of the United States, titled Irakere 40,  begins in Los Angeles today.   This tour uses a tremendous younger generation of Cuba's musicians (with the exception of Chucho himself, of course), honors the 40th anniversary of Irakere's work as a free-standing ensemble, and supports the release of the new CD Chucho Valdés Tribute to Irakere, which was recorded live at the Marciac Jazz Festival.  The clip above is this group live at Marciac.  

: La gira de Chucho Valdés en EEUU, titulada Irakere 40, comienza en Los Ángeles hoy. Esta gira utiliza una generación más joven de tremendos músicos cubanos (con la excepción del mismo Chucho por supuesto), rinde homenaje al 40 aniversario de trabajo de Irakere como un grupo independiente, y apoya el lanzamiento del nuevo CD Chucho Valdés Tribute to Irakere, que fue grabado en vivo en el Festival de Jazz de Marciac. El clip arriba es este grupo en vivo en Marciac.

For those of you who would like to go a LOT deeper into Irakere's  history, the documentary above is an excellent treatment of the original group.  The young musicians in the current touring group are profoundly influenced by Irakere.  You can see the entire US tour schedule here. If you are anywhere near one of the cities on the list, do not miss this.   (Kevin Moore asks that we remind those of you in or near Santa Cruz that it is one of the cities in the tour.) 

ESPAÑOL: Para aquellos de ustedes que les gustaría ir MUCHO MÁS profundamente en la historia de Irakere, el documental de arriba es un excelente tratamiento del grupo original. Los jóvenes músicos en el grupo de gira actual son profundamente influenciados por Irakere. Pueden ver toda la programación de la gira de Estados Unidos aquí. Si están en cualquier lugar cerca de una de las ciudades en  la lista, no se lo pierdan. (Kevin Moore pide que recordemos a aquellos de ustedes en o cerca de Santa Cruz que es una de las ciudades en la gira.)

ENGLISH:  Today is officially the Día de la Cultura Cubana in Cuba.  All of us here would like to take this moment to thank the Cuban people for its wonderful cultural contributions to the world, especially in music. 
ESPAÑOL: Hoy es oficialmente el Día de la Cultura Cubana en Cuba. Todos nosotros  nos gustaría aprovechar este momento para agradecer al pueblo cubano por sus maravillosas contribuciones culturales al mundo, sobre todo en la música.

ENGLISH:  Finally, Telmary Díaz is in Madison Wisconsin this week as part of the Passing the Mic Hip Hop Arts Festival.  She is participating in lectures, roundtables and performances including a concert on Saturday the 24th.  
ESPAÑOL:  Por último, Telmary Díaz está en Madison, Wisconsin esta semana como parte del Passing The Mic Hop Hop Arts Festival. Ella está participando en conferencias, mesas redondas y actuaciones que incluyen un concierto el sábado (24).



Tue, 20 Oct 2015 22:15:33 -0400
Yeni Valdés, Maikel Dinza & Sergio Vargas I had a little chat today with Luisin Martí, executive producer and president of Oye Mi Musica Records , and he told me about a few projects that they will release next year. Yeni Valdés of Los Van Van is recording her first solo album! The first single is called "Ya no me llevas de la mano".

Yeni - Ya no me llevas de la mano Yeni Valdés single "Ya no me llevas de la mano"
coming soon by Oye Mi Musica Records

Don't worry, Yeni is not leaving Los Van Van. Luisin tells us "It is nothing related to what people are used to hearing Yeni sing with Los Van Van. It's a salsa dance track and recording is currently underway in Havana and Puerto Rico with the participation of outstanding artists such as pianist José M. Lugo of Guasabara Group. The album will have 10 salsa songs and some surprises".  Luisin has promised to bring us back un cachito pa' huele when he gets back from Havana.

Another Oye Mi Musica project is Maikel Dinza's album "Regalando corazones" with the very sexy cover below. They expect to release it in January/February 2016. I've heard a number of his songs that are up at YouTube and am very much looking forward to his album.

Maikel Dinza Maikel Dinza - "Regalando corazones" should be released in early 2016

In 2016 Oye Mi Musica will also release a CD by Dominican singer Sergio Vargas. It is a collection of boleros he recorded in Cuba. Stay tuned for more info!

Sergio Vargas Dominican Sergio Vargas singing "Boleros en La Habana"

Sun, 18 Oct 2015 16:15:32 -0400
¡BAÍLALO! Baílalo Cuban Dance & Music Convention

Saturday October 24-28, Isla Margarita, Venezuela will host the ¡Baílalo! Cuban Dance and Music Convention. It is an initiative of dance schools and organized by Kala Entertainment. The Congreso is eight days of Cuban dance workshops with parties every night featuring the best DJs and the top Cuban orchestras. Check out the poster above to see the dates and artists. There will also be a couples dance competition. We found out about it a bit late so I don't know what packages are still available, but I imagine at least the day passes must be. Click here to check out the convention packages . This is supposed to be an annual event so hopefully we'll be able to get the word out a little earlier next year. For now we leave you with the promotional video from their Facebook site.

¡Báilalo! video promocional 2015

Video promocional de el congreso ¡Báilalo! Margarita 2015. Protagonizado por las diferentes academias de baile de la isla de Margarita en el estado Nueva Esparta. Organiza Kala Entertainment.

Posted by Bailalo - Margarita 2015 on Sunday, October 11, 2015
Sun, 18 Oct 2015 05:07:21 -0400
Early Grammy(R) Action for Cuban Artists The 58th Grammy(R) Awards process began today with the release of the official Entry List to it's academy members. Thankfully, this first round ballot acknowledges some truly great records by Cuban and Cuban music artists alike.

We begin with the already 2015 Latin Grammy(R) nominated and Cubadisco Winner "No Quiero Llanto - Tributo a Los Compadres" (click to read our review), a Tropical Latin double CD collaboration between world-wide salsa star José Alberto "El Canario" and El Septeto Santiaguero. The New York Times reported "The album, which came out earlier this summer as a double CD, reupholsters old music with relentless technical perfection." Sweet. 

Timberos del NorteOther notables in contention under Tropical Latin are Austin, Texas mega-timberos Timberos del Norte with their self-titled debut album, Singer Xiomara Laugar "Tears & Rumba", and Miami's Tiempo Libre "Pánamericano", Sonlokos "Locos Por El Son", and Leslie Cartaya "Llévame Contigo". 

Next we move to Latin Jazz -- a notoriously fierce and culturally important category -- where a not-to-be named album of midi sequences was somehow embarrassingly included under Latin Jazz in the Latin Grammys(R) and is fortunately not present here. Said controversy was avoided. Instead, we have a story of very interesting bedfellows.

Before getting to that we begin with Pure Mezcla, a live release from Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla. The record got a shining review in All About Jazz, who called it "Rare and beautiful music." Read it here. Another musician who left their soul in Cuba is Australian saxophonist Paul Van Ross, who recorded "Mi Alma Cubana" in Havana with the participation of slamming players including master percussionist José Luis Quintana "Changuito". Next we visit NATURA, by bassist and now residing in Denmar Yasser Pino & The Latin Syndicate. Interestingly, the entry list also includes records from fellow players of his Latin Syndicate: percussionist Eliel Lazo "Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine" (in which Yasser also performs) and drummer extraordinaire Calixto Oviedo "Como Suena". More on Calixto soon as he will play a CD release concert in New York at SUBROSA on Monday November 30. For tix and more info click here. Dang... they could form a grammy nominee band. Are we talking after-party? I hope so. 

Notable Cuban artists in Latin Jazz - 58th Grammys (R)

It is also important to note that one of TIMBA.com's favorite pianists -- Iván "Melón" Lewis -- who is already nominated for Best New Artist and Best Latin Jazz in this year's Latin Grammys (R), has a great record on the entry list "Ayer y Hoy". Here's a reminder why... enjoy!

More Grammy(R) news to come as we dig deeper into the list and report on other notable entries. ¡Que viva la música cubana!

Fri, 16 Oct 2015 03:54:04 -0400
SÓLO SE VIVE UNA VEZ Havana D'Primera & Los 4 in Stockholm

Tomorrow - October 13th in Madrid - Havana D'Primera begin their Autumn European tour, which will take them to 27 cities in 12 countries. Click here to find the concert closest to you. Los 4 are also currently on tour and will be in Bologna tomorrow. For the remaining Los 4 concert dates, click here . Both groups are at the height of popularity in their respective genres and both have relatively new albums they are promoting.

Here in Stockholm Cuban music fans will be blessed with a joint concert by Havana D'Primera and Los 4 on October 23rd. It will be the concert of the year and they are calling the event "Sólo se vive una vez". It will be held at Quality Hotel Friends and the technical details are in the hands of Stockholm's best light and soundmen. I will - of course - be reporting on it. Doors open at 8:00pm and close at 03:00am. It is simply going to be awesome!

Due to the popularity of the event the promoters and the hotel have arranged special pricing for concert-goers who are traveling to the concert from other countries or cities. For information on how to take advantage of the special pricing, click here. The pre-concert tickets are nearly sold-out, so get yours before the price goes up. To book concert tickets now click here. VIP tickets are also available for those who want to hang with the bands.

To whet your appetite I leave you with two recent videos. The first is "Regalito de Dios", is one of the most popular songs from Havana D'Primera's album "La vuelta al mundo".  The second is a recent collaboration between Los 4 and La Charanga Habanera "Lo que tengo yo". You've gotta love the Star Wars intro!

Havana D'Primera "Regalito de Dios"

Los 4 & La Charanga Habanera "Lo que tengo yo"

Mon, 12 Oct 2015 14:35:22 -0400
Photo: Francis Vernhet

ENGLISH : One of the most important ensembles of all time in Cuban Jazz AND Cuban Popular Dance Music is Irakere .   Although its first recording, Bacalao con pan , was made in 1973 while it was still a sub-group of the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna , it officially became a free-standing group in 1975 (hence the Irakere 40 ) and began to shake the world with its music from then until 2005, when it disbanded. One of the reasons that I am writing these lines today is that Irakere 's music kept me riveted to the shortwave radio in the 1970s, when Cuba's radio stations regularly broadcast their newest releases.  Here is a surviving video fragment of Bacalao con pan from the period that will help you understand the excitement of the time if you weren't around back then:

ESPAÑOL : Uno de los ensembles más importantes de todos los tiempos en el Jazz cubano y la Música Popular Bailable es Irakere . Aunque su primera grabación, Bacalao con pan , se hizo en 1973 cuando todavía era un subgrupo de la Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna , se convirtió oficialmente en un grupo independiente en 1975 (de ahí el Irakere 40 ) y comenzó a sacudir el mundo con su música desde entonces hasta 2005, cuando se disolvió. Una de las razones por las que estoy escribiendo estas líneas hoy en día es que la música de Irakere me mantuvo remachada a la radio de onda corta en la década de 1970, cuando las emisoras en Cuba emitian regularmente sus nuevos lanzamientos. Aquí está un fragmento de vídeo sobreviviente de Bacalao con pan de la época que les ayudarán a entender la emoción del momento si ustedes no estuvieron allí en aquellos tiempos:

ENGLISH:   Now,  Irakere 's founder Chucho Valdés , who celebrated his 74th birthday on Friday, has assembled a special 10-piece group consisting of his Afro Cuban Messengers and five of the best young Cuban Jazz trumpeters and saxophonists for a tour and CD release.   The tour in the United States will take place from October 20-November 16 (including Kevin Moore's favorite city of Santa Cruz, where they will be at the Rio Theatre for the Performing Arts ).  You can see the entire US tour schedule here.  You can also watch a video of this group in action at the Lugano Jazz Festival: 

ESPAÑOL : Ahora, el fundador de Irakere , Chucho Valdés , quien celebró su 74o cumpleaños el viernes, ha reunido a un grupo especial de 10 músicos que consiste en sus Afro Cuban Messengers y cinco de los mejores jóvenes trompetistas y saxiofonistas del Jazz cubano para una gira y un lanzamiento de CD. La gira en Estados Unidos tendrá lugar a partir del 20 de octubre hasta el 16 de noviembre (incluyendo la ciudad favorita de Kevin Moore, Santa Cruz, donde estarán en el Rio Theatre for the Performing Arts ). Pueden ver toda la programación de la gira de Estados Unidos aquí. También pueden ver un video de este grupo en acción en el Festival de Jazz de Lugano:

ENGLISH : A new CD, Tribute to Irakere (Live at Marciac)   will also be released on October 20 (Jazz VIllage/Harmonia Mundi), and we will review it here in the near future.  The roster for Irakere 40 includes Chucho Valdés (piano); Gastón Joya (bass); Rodney Barreto (drums); Yaroldy Abreu (percussion); Dreiser Durruthy Bombalé (batás & vocals); Manuel Machado , Reinaldo Melian & Carlos Sarduy (trumpets); Ariel Bringuez (tenor sax) & Rafael Aguila (alto sax).  
We'll be sharing more about Irakere and its role in modern Cuban Jazz and popular dance music during the weeks to come. In the meantime, Kevin Moore's history and discography of Irakere in the Timbapedia is worth visiting here. 

ESPAÑOL : Un nuevo CD, Homenaje a Irakere (Live at Marciac) también se dará a conocer el 20 de octubre (Jazz Village / Harmonia Mundi), y lo vamos a reseñar aquí en un futuro próximo. Irakere 40 incluye a Chucho Valdés (piano); Gastón Joya (bajo); Rodney Barreto (batería); Yaroldy Abreu (percusión); Dreiser Durruthy Bombalé (batás y voz); Manuel Machado , Reinaldo Melián y Carlos Sarduy (trompetas); Ariel Bringuez (saxo tenor) y Rafael Aguila (saxo alto).
Estaremos compartiendo más sobre Irakere y su rol en el Jazz cubano moderno y la música popular bailable en las semanas venideras. Mientras tanto, la historia  y discografía de Irakere por Kevin Moore en la Timbapedia vale la pena visitar aquí .

Sun, 11 Oct 2015 16:33:44 -0400
Timba y Salsa There is no question that Cuba está de moda with all the celebrity visits these days - most recently Mick Jagger. Who knows? Maybe Los Van Van - often called "The Rolling Stones of Cuba" -  will feature the Rolling Stones as guests on their next album, which is rumored to be a collaboration with both Cuban and international artists. But enough of my fantasias.

In the meantime, we have some very successful Timba/Salsa collaborations such as Marc Anthony and Gente D'Zona with a salsaton "La gozadera" and Septeto Santiaguero's third Latin Grammy nominated album "No quiero llanto - Homenaje a Los Compadres", which features a number of leading salsa artists from different countries. Amusingly, Bill just posted on it shortly before I did, so I will just direct you to scroll down and check out his post including video. You can also click here to read his full review of the Cubadisco-winning album. On November 19th we'll see if the third Latin Grammy nomination is the charm for the septeto.

Closest to my heart I am pleased to say that the official video of "Muévete pa quí" by Elito Revé y su Charangón featuring Gilberto Santa Rosa is now being promoted in Cuba, having recently been featured on Piso 6. While I feared that Gilberto's romantica voice wouldn't suit the sound of the Charangón, he really did a fantastic job and it is a version I highly recommend to dancers and DJs.

But the TImba/Salsa collaboration goes both ways. Here in Scandinavia Tito Nieves recently performed in Norway backed by a team of leading timberos residing here in Europe. The musicians adapted beautifully to Nieves style. The band included: Tony Moreaux, Peter Ehler, Jorge Egües, Richard Ortega, Yaser Morejon, Oslen Ceballo, Adam Rapa, Jakob Johansen, Andres Mena, Yemi Valdés and Henry Hourrutinier. 

With the normalization of relations between the US ands Cuba and the recent Sony licensing agreement with EGREM, I expect we will see international collaborations snowballing. Van Van and the Rolling Stones...it could happen.

Tito Nieves with Tony Moreaux & Friends in Norway

Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:08:07 -0400
Hecho en Cuba: New Release by Manolito Simonet & Dominic Miller ENGLISH:  As the future unfolds, we will be seeing more collaborative projects between Cuban artists and artists in other countries.  On Thursday, October 8, Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco and Dominic Miller will unveil their new album Hecho en Cuba at the Fábrica del Arte. Dominic Miller is perhaps best known for his work with Sting, and this new album includes some of his compositions arranged in a style suitable for Manolito.  You can read more about the background of that project in Spanish here.   
You can also hear some of Manolito's observations (in Spanish) in his studio in May 2015 here. 
ESPAÑOL: Como el futuro se desarrolla, vamos a ver más proyectos de colaboración entre artistas cubanos y artistas de otros países. El jueves, 8 de octubre,  Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco y Dominic Miller darán a conocer su nuevo álbum Hecho en Cuba en la Fábrica del Arte. Dominic Miller es quizás mejor conocido por su trabajo con Sting, y este nuevo álbum incluye algunas de sus composiciones en un estilo que cabe bien el sonido de Manolito.
Puede leer más acerca de los antecedentes de ese proyecto aquí
También puede esuchar unas observaciones de Manolito en su estudio en mayo 2015 aquí

ENGLISH:  Septeto Santiaguero is on the short list of Cuban ensembles that deserve a quality tour of the United States and have not had one yet.  They are one of the very best traditional Son groups in Cuba, and they have 3 Cubadisco awards (including this year for No Quíero Llanto - Tributo a Los Compadres) and 3 Latin GRAMMY nominations (also including this year, for the same album). Presenters in the United States:  When are you going to rectify this oversight????  I have seen them live in Cuba without guest stars, and they are the real thing.

Septeto Santiaguero está en la lista corta de los grupos cubanos que merecen una gira de calidad de los Estados Unidos y no la han tenido hasta ahora. Ellos son uno de los mejores grupos que tocan el Son tradicional en Cuba, y tienen 3 premios Cubadisco (incluyendo este año para No Quiero Llanto - Tributo a Los Compadres) y 3 nominaciones al Latin GRAMMY (también incluyendo este año para el mismo álbum).  A los presentadores en los Estados Unidos: ¿¿¿¿Cuando van a rectificar esta omisión???? He visto el grupo  en directo en Cuba sin estrellas invitadas, y ellos son la cosa real.

Wed, 07 Oct 2015 21:58:19 -0400
The Afro-Cuban All Stars & Los Hermanos Arango
ENGLISH:  Juan de Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All Stars gave concerts in Madison and Brookfield, Wisconsin during the weekend.  Bill Tilford attended the concert in Brookfield, and you can see the photo gallery and review here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Juan de Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All Stars dieron conciertos en Madison y Brookfield, Wisconsin durante el fin de semana.  Bill Tilford asistió al concierto en Brookfield, y puede ver la galería de fotos y reseña aquí.  

ENGLISH:  Los Hermanos Arango will give a concert at the Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 15. This group, which offers a potent mix of folklore, Fusion and Jazz, deserves a lot more attention than it receives in the United States.   A video with some highlights of their performance at the Berklee College of Music follows.  You can read about the history of the group and view more videos  at their website here.  
ESPAÑOL:  Los Hermanos Arango van a dar un concierto en el Catalina Jazz Club en Los Angeles el jueves, el 15 de octubre.  Este grupo, que ofrece una mezcla potente de folklore, Fusión y Jazz, merece mucho más atención que recibe en EEUU.  Un video con vetas de su presentación en el Berklee College of Music sigue.  Puede leer más acerca de la historia del grupo y ver más videos en su sitio web aquí. 

Los Hermanos Arango @ Berklee:


Sun, 04 Oct 2015 18:51:11 -0400
This Weekend: Juan de Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All Stars in Wisconsin ENGLISH: As part of his residency at the University of Wisconsin, Juan de Marcos is performing with The Afro-Cuban All Stars on Friday, October 2 at the Overture Hall in Madison, Wisconsin and on Saturday, October 3 at the Wilson Center in Brookfield, Wisconsin.   Both shows start at 8PM.   This ensemble is a spectacular interpreter of styles from the Buena Vista type to more modern Cuban popular dance music.   This is one of the don't-miss concerts in the Midwest this year. 

ESPAÑOL: Como parte de su residencia en la Universidad de Wisconsin, Juan de Marcos está realizando con The Afro-Cuban All Stars el viernes 2 de octubre en el Overture Hall en Madison, Wisconsin y el sábado 3 de octubre en el Wilson Center en Brookfield, Wisconsin . Ambos espectáculos comienzan a las 8PM.  Este ensemble es un espectacular intérprete de estilos,  del tipo de Buena Vista al estilo más moderno de la música popular bailable cubana. Es uno de los "No se lo pierdan"  eventos en el Medio Oeste de este año.

For more  information & tickets / para más información y boletos: 
The Wilson Center  Overture Hall

ENGLISH:  One of the best new Cuban Jazz albums this year comes from Ivan "Melon" Lewis. So far, his new release Ayer y Hoy has been nominated for a Cubadisco (Jazz Cubano) and  a Latin GRAMMY (Latin Jazz and Best New Artist).    You can read our review here. 
ESPAÑOL:  Uno de los mejores nuevo albumes de Jazz Cubano este año viene de Ivan "Melon" Lewis. Hasta ahora, su nuevo lanzamiento Ayer y Hoy ha sido nominado para un Cubadisco (Jazz Cubano) y un  Latin GRAMMY (Latin Jazz y Mejor Nuevo Artista). Puede leer nuestra reseña aquí. 

:  Within a few days, Gema Corredera, one of the best and most versatile voices on stage today, will release a wonderful new tribute to Marta Valdés, Feeling Marta. You can read our review here. 
ESPAÑOL:  En unos pocos días, Gema Corredera, una de las mejores y más versatiles voces en el escenario hoy, va a lanzar un nuevo tributo maravilloso a Marta Valdés, Feeling Marta. Puede leer nuestra reseña aquí. 

ENGLISH:  The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition on WSLR continues to feature new music from Cuba as part of each program. The latest show, which is archived for another week, includes  the music of Brenda Navarrete, who in addition to her work with Interactivo has her own fascinating Jazz and folkloric music projects (she is, among many other things,  an extremenly accomplished percussionist including batá).   You can also hear a conversation (in Spanish) that she recorded with Bill Tilford in Habana in May 2015 here. 

ESPAÑOL:  The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition en WSLR continua a ofrecer nueva música de Cuba como parte de cada programa.  El último show, que está disponible para la escucha en demanda una semana más, incluye la música de Brenda Navarrete, que además de su trabajo con Interactivo tiene sus propios proyectos en el Jazz y la música folclórica (ella es, entre muchas otras cosas, una percusionista muy consumada incluyendo batá).  También pueden escuchar una conversación (en Español) que ella grabó con Bill Tilford en la Habana en el mayo de 2015 aquí. 

Sun, 27 Sep 2015 23:12:39 -0400
BFM European Tour Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe

Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe are on the third day of their European tour that will take them to France, Italy, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. The band is as popular as ever with dancers and are performing the new hit "Te vi nacer". Click here to find a concert near you!

Bárbaro Fines y su Mayimbe están en el tercer día de su gira europea que les llevará a Francia, Italia, Alemania, Finlandia, Suecia, Suiza y España. La banda es tan popular con los bailarines como siempre y está tocando el nuevo hit "Te vi nacer". Dale clic aquí para encontrar un concierto cerca de ti!

Mon, 21 Sep 2015 12:51:36 -0400
Juan de Marcos González Residency at UW-Madison   (photo:  Aaron Granat)

In September and October, Juan de Marcos González , whose resume includes Sierra Maestra , Buena Vista Social Club , Ruben González , Ibrahim Ferrer, and the Afro Cuban All Stars , will be in residency at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  There will be a series of lectures, workshops and concerts, and there will be some interesting special guests such as Telmary Diaz during the series.  For the complete schedule aof concerts and workshops, the residency page is here. 

Sun, 06 Sep 2015 15:58:09 -0400
Jane Bunnett & Maqueque, Palo! & Orquesta El Macabeo in the Midwest

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque, Palo! & Orquesta El Macabeo will all be in the Midwest the weekend of September 4-6, and all are don't-miss acts.  For more information and videos, see the Report From Chicago page.  (Palo! is in Louisville, but it's driveable).  Maqueque's drummer, incidentally, is Yissy Garcia, whose new single Última noticia we just posted recently. 

For those of you who are serious fans of Cuban Jazz, The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition has been including music by Cuba's most important Jazz artists along with interviews that yours truly (Bill Tilford) did with some of them in La Habana in May.   Frankie Pineiro, the host, puts together one of the best playlists on the planet, and you'll hear some new and recent Jazz from Cuba that you won't hear in other places, at least not yet.  You'll also be treated to the best Latin Jazz from everywhere else. The most recent guest was  Yasek Manzano, one of the most interesting Jazz artists in Cuba today.  Check out the Facebook Page to learn how to listen on demand; this program is on the front line of what's happening along with enough history to add perspective. 

Mon, 31 Aug 2015 19:46:46 -0400
Tom Ehrlich's Cubanismo Photos Cubanismo made a triumphant return to the US touring circuit this month. Click here for Tom's gallery.

Tue, 25 Aug 2015 02:38:03 -0400
New Single by Yissy Garcia & Bandancha ENGLISH: Yissy Garcia & Bandancha is one of the most refreshing new musical groups in Cuba.  Labels and categories are always hazardous, but their style is similar to what we once called Acid Jazz in the US with a more sophisticated Jazz element.   A new album will be coming out in the future, and they have released a single, Última noticia, in advance.

You can listen to it here.

This is a great time to be a Chicagoan. Several exciting and important concerts are coming to the area soon. You can read more here. 

ESPAÑOL: Yissy García & Bandancha es uno de los nuevos grupos musicales más refrescantes en Cuba. Las etiquetas y las categorías son siempre peligrosas, pero su estilo es similar a lo que una vez llamamos Acid Jazz en EEUU con un elemento más sofisticado de Jazz. Un nuevo álbum saldrá en el futuro, y han lanzado un sencillo, Última noticia, por adelantado.

Puede escucharlo aquí.

Sun, 23 Aug 2015 09:57:03 -0400
Chicago's Festival Cubano Brings Miguelito Cuni Jr & Pedrito Calvo ENGLISH:  The 2015 edition of Chicago's Festival Cubano included Miguelito Cuni Jr. and Pedrito Calvo, the first musicians still living in Cuba to perform at this event. Click here for photos and video. 

ESPAÑOL:  La edición 2015 del Festival Cubano de Chicago incluyó a Miguelito Cuni Jr. & Pedrito Calvo, los primeros músicos que aún viven en Cuba para actuar en este evento.  Haga clic aquí para fotos y video. 

Wed, 19 Aug 2015 14:51:09 -0400
"Dime qué" Thomas Eby, Gunnar Thullberg & Rickard Valdés of Calle RealThomas Eby, Gunnar Thullberg "El Dony" & Rickard Valdés of Calle Real

Last night Calle Real performed at the 2015 Stockholm Kulturfestival and we got the first sample of what is coming on the new album "Dime qué" - Calle Real's first new album in seven years! We will soon upload a concert report including some concert video! They performed 4 new songs, and let me say that fans will not be disappointed. In my opinion there is some particularly cool bass and horns in the new songs, but more on that later.

Before the show the guys took a few minutes to tell us a little about the new CD and upcoming concert dates. 

Sun, 16 Aug 2015 09:08:11 -0400
Los Van Van click here for Tom Ehrlich's full gallery


Los Van Van gave us - as always - a powerhouse groove, tremendous charisma, and an endless repertoire of timeless hits from their 45 years at the top of the Cuban charts. The three young additions - Mandy Cantero on vocals, Pancho Chibás on piano and Yoel Cuesta on congas - were all extremely exciting and made it clear that even without Juan Formell, Van Van is still growing and improving, and in no danger of becoming a heritage act. I would dearly love to hear these new members in a better acoustic setting. The band played a long, powerful set - plus encore - to thunderous applause. That it occurred hours after the US flag was raised in Havana for the first time in 60 years added greatly to the ambience. There were at least 2000 in attendance - no small feat. It's one thing to get 500 people four nights in a row, because the core fans are likely going to attend every show - but 2000 separate individuals at one show was a new high for the Bay Area. Overall then, it was a great success, marred only by shockingly bad sound (see below for more on this). Hopefully Vegas and the other upcoming tour dates will provide sound to approach the quality of the music.


On Sunday, Van Van will double with Los 4 at Sam's in Las Vegas. The rest of the tour (ABQ, Miami, Denver, NY and Puerto Rico) is here.


As no other suitable venue was available, the concert was scheduled in a large hall designed for classical music. Sound reinforcement for a timba concert is a daunting task. I've only heard what I would call "perfect" sound at three venues: Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Yoshi's Oakland, and the main SFJAZZ facility, the latter often going beyond "perfect" and venturing into the realm of "magical". I had high hopes about this show, because Davies Symphony Hall would appear to have similar characteristics to SFJAZZ's Robert Miner Auditorium - high ceiling, multiple balconies, and large amounts of obscenely expensive state-of-the-art architectural features designed to create world-class sound. I went in expecting to hear timba with Deutsch Grammophone clarity, but sadly, the sound was really, really bad. It wasn't the worst sound I've ever heard - it had no distortion and wasn't oppressively loud or grating to the ears. Thus, it wasn't in the same universe of sonic pain that we experienced, for example, at the Oakland appearance of Gente d'Zona, or at Café Cócomo on a regular basis. The problem at Davies was that only a thin slice of the frequency range was clear. The güiro was fantastic, and I thought the congas were as well, although I talked to some congueros who didn't agree. Other than that, everything else was pure mud - not distorted - not too loud - just mud - hard enough to hear the pitches, much less the timbres. When I heard Yeni Valdés sing at Yoshi's SF in 2010, her huge, luxuriously resonant voice sent chills down my spine and brought tears to my eyes. At Davies, I could barely make out what she was singing - it was that muddy. And I was dying to hear the details of Mandy Cantero's singing, especially on what looked like an epic and very personalized version of Soy todo. Alas. Hopefully they'll be back soon at a better venue - ideally SFJAZZ's Robert Miner Auditorium on Franklin Street.

Sun, 16 Aug 2015 03:24:37 -0400
A Visit to the Studio of Manolito Simonet
ENGLISH:  In May, Manolito Simonet was gracious enough to permit Bill TIlford to visit him and record an interview (in Spanish) at his home/studio in Vibora Park.  They conversed about a variety of topics including a new recording that you haven't heard yet (No Puedo Parar), upcoming tours and much more.  

For more in English (photos, audio, etc), click here.    
Manolito y su Trabuco are including a tour of the United States in their plans this year, and we will be sharing a lot more about him and the group in the weeks to come. 

ESPAÑOL:  En mayo, Manolito Simonet tuvo la amabilidad para permitir a Bill Tilford que visite a él y grabe una entrevista (en español) en su casa / estudio en Víbora Park. Ellos conversaron acerca de una variedad de temas, incluyendo una nueva grabación que ustedes no han oído todavía (No Puedo Parar), próximas giras y mucho más.

Para más en español (fotos, audio, etc.), haga clic aquí.
Manolito y su Trabuco está incluyendo una gira por los Estados Unidos en sus planes de este año, y vamos a compartir mucho más sobre él y el grupo en las semanas venideras

ENGLISH:  First,  Los Van Van; then, Buena Vista Social Club, and now (Sunday) Pedrito Calvo and Miguelito Cuni Jr.  These two are at Festival Cubano.  For more information, visit their website. 

ESPAÑOL:  Primero, Los Van Van; entonces, Buena Vista Social Club, y ahora (domingo), Pedrito Calvo y Miguelito Cuni Jr.  Los dos estarán en el Festival Cubano.  Para más, visite su sitio web. 


Sat, 15 Aug 2015 18:46:46 -0400
LOS VAN VAN cuban music, musica cubana

Por fin - Van Van hits the West Coast for the first time in many years. The LA show is advertised as having Pupy and Changuito sitting in. The SF show will be at Davies Symphony Hall. See you there!

Thu, 13 Aug 2015 19:36:14 -0400
At Last: Los Van Van in Chicago
ENGLISH:  After an absence worthy of Homer, Los Van Van finally returned to Chicago. 
ESPAÑOL: Después de una ausencia digna de Homero, Los Van Van, finalmente, regresó a Chicago.
More here / Mas aquí

Mon, 10 Aug 2015 23:28:05 -0400
Inside the Museo Nacional de la Música

ENGLISH:  The Cubadisco 2015 section of our website has just been updated to include a special article about the Museo Nacional de la Música, one of Cuba's cultural treasures. 
ESPAÑOL:  La sección Cubadisco 2015 de nuestro sitio web ha sido actualizado para incluir un artículo especial acerca del Museo Nacional de la Música, un tesoro cultural de Cuba.  

Sun, 09 Aug 2015 13:55:03 -0400

"The undisputed king of Cuban dance orchestras and one of the most influential forces ever in Afro-Cuban music" -- Los Angeles Times

2015 Los Van Van USA Tour

Formell y Los Van Van 2015 United States Tour

Thu, 06 Aug 2015 05:19:14 -0400
Los Van Van: US Tour Begins Friday
 The Los Van Van US Tour begins Friday in Washington DC with stops in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Denver, San Juan and Miami.  I saw them in Havana in 2014, and they are as excellent as ever.   See our TOURS page for links.   
ESPAÑOL: El gira de Los Van Van en EEUU comienza el viernes en Washington DC con conciertos en Nueva York, Chicago, Los Ángeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Denver, San Juan y Miami. Los vi en La Habana en 2014, y son tan excelente como siempre. Vea nuestra página de GIRAS para enlaces.

ENGLISH:  On Saturday, August 8, Los Van Van and Pablo Menéndez and Mezcla will appear together in a homage to Juan Formell during a prerecorded segment of 23 y M on Cubavision. The program starts at 7pm Eastern US time.  There are a few ways to stream Cubavision Internacional, one of which is here.   Worth watching these two bands playing together.
ESPAÑOL: El sábado, 8 de agosto,  Los Van Van y Pablo Menendez & Mezcla aparecerán juntos en un homenaje a Juan Formell durante un segmento pregrabado del programa 23 y M en Cubavisión. El programa comienza a las 19:00 (7pm) hora del Este de EE.UU.. Hay un par de maneras de ver Cubavisión Internacional a traves el Internet, una de las cuales esta aquí. Vale la pena ver los dos grupos tocando juntos.

ENGLISH: Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla, who released the new album Pure Mezcla in February, have been attracting a lot of attention lately.  Also on Saturday from 9am-10am Eastern US time, you can listen to a prerecorded interview of Pablo, his sister/tour manager Nina Menéndez and Bill Tilford (Pure Mezcla's Producer) along with a few songs in Janet Howard's wonderful program  Up Front  on WSHA, 88.9 FM, Shaw University public radio.  You can listen via the Internet here. There will also be a special segment about Pure Mezcla on WSLR next week; more about that in a few days. 
ESPAÑOL: Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla, que lanzaron el nuevo álbum Pure Mezcla en febrero, han estado atrayendo mucha atención últimamente. También el sábado de 9 a.m.-10 a.m. hora del Este de EE.UU., se puede escuchar una entrevista pregrabada de Pablo, su hermana / gerente (de giras) Nina Menéndez y Bill Tilford (Productor de Pure Mezcla) junto con algunas canciones en el maravilloso programa de Janet Howard, Up Front, en WSHA, 88.9 FM, la radio pública de la Universidad Shaw. Puede escuchar a través de Internet aquí. También habrá un segmento especial sobre Pure Mezcla en WSLR la próxima semana; más sobre esto en unos pocos días.


I have not had time to write about it yet, but I have listened to Horizontes, the new CD by Chuchito Valdés.  If you are in or near Los Angeles and love Jazz, you will definitely want to see this concert and buy the CD. For more information, see the Catalina Jazz Club website.  

:  No he tenido tiempo de escribir sobre ello todavía, pero he escuchado Horizontes, el nuevo CD de Chuchito Valdés. Si usted está en o cerca de Los Ángeles y es un amante de Jazz, sin duda deba ver este concierto y comprar el CD.  Para más información, visite el sitio web de Catalina Jazz Club

Wed, 05 Aug 2015 19:52:33 -0400
Scenes From Cubadisco 2015, Part III ENGLISH:  Part III of Scenes From Cubadisco 2015, a multipart series about this year's event, is now available here.  This includes a look at Estudios Abdala and a concert in honor of the centennial of the birth of Chano Pozo.
ESPAÑOL:  Parte III de Escenas de Cubadisco 2015, una serie en multiples partes acerca del evento de este año, ya está disponible aquí. Incluidos: una mirada a los Estudios Abdala y un concierto para honrar el centenario del nacimiento de Chano Pozo.

Mon, 03 Aug 2015 22:25:48 -0400
Calixto Oviedo Presents Calixto Oviedo - Como Suena

Tonight At Catalina Jazz Club Calixto Oviedo & his Cuban Jazz Train will present their new album "Como suena" with two sets starting at 8:30pm. The CD will be available for purchase at the concert for $10. Click here for tickets and more information. If you can't make the concert tonight, you can still order a signed copy of the CD from the Cuban Jazz Train website. From August 1st it will also be at CD Baby in digital format. Here's another look at what you can expect tonight and on the CD.

Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:10:02 -0400
Scenes From Cubadisco 2015, Part II ENGLISH:  Part II of Scenes From Cubadisco 2015, a multipart series about this year's event, is now available here.  This includes the International Symposium and the special reception for participants from other countries. 
ESPAÑOL:  Parte II de Escenas de Cubadisco 2015 , una serie en multiples partes acerca del evento de este año, ya está disponible aquí.  Incluidos: el Simposio Internacional y la recepción especial para los participantes extranjeros.   

ENGLISH: You may not be able to purchase it yet, but you can hear part of the wonderful new album Ruy Löpez-Nussa presenta La Academia on The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition on WSLR.  on their next program, which airs on Tuesday, July 28.  Visit the program's Facebook page for more details about when and how you can listen (yes, the station can be heard via Internet).  This album was nominated for a Cubadisco award in 2015 in the Cuban Jazz category.
ESPAÑOL:  Puede ser  que no sea capaz de comprarlo todavía, pero se puede escuchar parte del maravilloso nuevo álbum Ruy López-Nussa presenta La Academia en The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition en WSLR. en su próximo programa, que se emite el martes 28 de julio. Visite la página Facebook del programa para obtener más detalles acerca de cuándo y cómo se puede sintonizar (sí, la emisora está disponible a través de Internet tambien). Este álbum fue nominado para un premio Cubadisco 2015 en la categoría de Jazz cubano.

Sun, 26 Jul 2015 22:52:59 -0400
Cubanismo Returns to Yoshi's CUBANISMO

Cubanismo toured the US many times in the late 90s and early 00s with great success, but then dropped off the map. They're finally back in the game, playing Yoshi's (Oakland) on Sunday. The current lineup has several interesting timba musicians as well as Jesús Alemañy's usual cast of legends: Papiosco, who played brilliant and innovative congas with Klímax and on the Michel Maza albums; Cristóbal Verdecia, of Paulito FG and Havana d'Primera on bass; and Antonio Portuondo "Pachá", who played timabales with Issac, Pedrito Calvo and ACAS.

Fri, 24 Jul 2015 23:25:29 -0400
Laritza Bacallao - Sólo se vive una vez Laritza Bacallao - Sólo se vive una vez

Laritza Bacallao was born into one of Cuba's prominent music families. Both her grandfather and her father were singers with Orquesta Aragón, and as a child she toured and sang with the band on more than one occasion. Laritza also received formal music education attending the music schools Manuel Saumel and Guillermo Tomás. Add to this a natural talent and a powerful, versatile voice and you have the makings of a star.

While her family represents the best in Cuban traditional dance music, Laritza’s music is Pan-Caribbean electronica that freely mixes rhythms from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. In 2014 she released her first CD “Sólo se vive una vez”, Cubadisco 2015 winner in the category “Opera Prima”. She recently toured the US where she was nominated in Premios Juventud 2015 as “Revelation of the Year” and is currently touring Europe with Chacal & Yakarta.  Click here to read my review of “Sólo se vive una vez”.

Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:10:26 -0400
Plena Libre Returns to Kuumbwa

Plena Libre returns to Kuumbwa Jazz Center on August 7th. If you're not already a plena freak, consider that it's probably the single best way to get your head around the mysteries of clave alignment in timba. Plena Libre is one of the leaders in the recent wave of modernized plena groups from Puerto Rico.  Here's the rest of the tour.

Wed, 22 Jul 2015 21:04:25 -0400
Hennes Latin Stage 2015 Hennes Latin Stage on the river Waal

For the 9th consecutive year Dutch entrepreneur Henri van Woerkom (HENNES) has organized his free Cuban party on the river Waal in Nijmegen. It is a beautiful and intimate festival with participants traveling from far and wide to take enjoy the music. What could be bettr than a week-long Cuban party featuring DJs and live bands? The 2015 edition started Saturday and ends on Friday the 24th with a concert by Nils Fischer's Timbazo, who recently released their second CD - "Rumberos a montón" - to much acclaim.

One of the things that makes Hennes Latin Stage so unique is the fact that the headline band plays three consecutive nights. This year that band is El Niño y la Verdad, who are on their second European Tour and a must-see band for all Cuban music fans.

Rumours are already spreading that Hennes has big plans to celebrate the 10th Edition next year. Moreover, their 10th Anniversary coincides with the 100th Anniversary of 'the international 4 day marches Nijmegen', so expect a double celebration. If you're like me and can't make it this year, mark your calendars for the 3rd week in July 2016: 10 years Hennes Latin Stage anniversary! A great line-up is guaranteed!
Hennes gladly welcomes foreign guests in person !
As always… FREE entrance !

Here is the full 2015 schedule:
Saterday 18 july 2015:
06.00 PM: Dj Joost
08.00 PM: Orquesta Salsabor

Sunday 19 july 2015:
06.00 PM: Dj Lady Kizz & Dj Sigi
08.00 PM: Tomi y su Timbalight

Monday 20 july 2015:

06.00 PM: Dj Eric B
08.00 PM: Barbara y VaiVen Cubano

Tuesday 21 july 2015:

06.00 PM: Dj Leslie
07.00 PM: Barbara y VaiVen Cubano
10.00 PM: Emilio Frias El Niño y La Verdad

Wednesday 22 july 2015:
06.00 PM: Dj Leslie
07.00 PM: Pedro & his cuban experience
10.00 PM: Emilio Frias El Niño y La Verdad

Thursday 23 july 2015:
06.00 PM: Dj Joost & Lady Kizz
07.00 PM: Pedro & his cuban experience
10.00 PM: Emilio Frias El Niño y La Verdad

Friday 24 july 2015
06.00 PM: Dj Joost
08.00 PM: Timbazo

Henri van Woerkom (HENNES) organizer of Cuban festival "Hennes celebrates his annual party and everyone is invited."

Tue, 21 Jul 2015 13:44:35 -0400
Pedrito Martínez Group on the West Coast

Click here for the full gallery of both the SF JAZZ and Kuumbwa Jazz Center shows.

Tue, 21 Jul 2015 02:16:11 -0400
Scenes From Cubadisco 2015, Part I

ENGLISH:  Bill Tilford participated in Cubadisco 2015 in Havana, Cuba in May.  The first in a series of pieces about Cubadisco 2015 is now available here. 
ALSO:  You can hear Bill's interview in English of Jazz pianist Alejandro Falcón, who won two Cubadisco awards this year, in the radio archive of The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition with Frankie Pineiro on WSLR until Tuesday, July 28, when the show will run his special segment on the music of Ruy López-Nussa & La Academia.  The show before ACJE bleeds into the first two minutes of the archive, but stay with it.  You can listen here - look for the July 14 program
ESPAÑOL: Bill Tilford participó en Cubadisco 2015 en la Habana, Cuba en mayo.  El primero en una serie de articulos sobre Cubadisco 2015 ya está disponible aquí. 
TAMBIÉN: pueden escuchar la entrevista por Bill (en Inglés) de Jazz pianista Alejandro Falcón, quien ganó dos premios Cubadisco este año, en el archivo de radio The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition con Frankie Piñeiro en WSLR hasta el martes, 28 de julio, cuando el programa pondrá su segmento especial sobre la música de Ruy López-Nussa y La Academia. El programa antes del  ACJE sangra en los primeros dos minutos del archivo, pero quédense con ello. Pueden escuchar aquí - busque el programa de 14 de julio.

Sun, 19 Jul 2015 21:00:48 -0400
El Tren Cubano is Coming to Chicago

Por fin, a team of presenters has banded together to bring Los Van Van to Chicago!  They are coming to Thalia Hall on Sunday, August 9 at 8PM.  If you need me to tell you why this is a must-go, you must have stumbled onto the wrong website by accident. And yes, even with the loss of Juan Formell, they are still in a class all their own.  For tickets and details, see the Thalia Hall website. Needless to say, there are other US cities on the itinerary, which we think we have here. 

But hey, there's more!  For you traditionalists, the Adios Tour for the Buena Vista Social Club is coming to Ravinia on Wednesday, August 12 at 8:30pm.   Tickets and details at the Ravinia website. Supposedly this is their last trip out, but then I was at Flaco Jimenez Jr's "retirement concert" in Denton, Texas about a decade ago, and the last time I checked he was still playing.  These things happen when you are dedicated to your art. But why take a chance, eh?   

Tell you what, just take the whole week off.  Festival Cubano is happening Friday-Sunday, August 14-16, and that lineup includes Pedrito Calvo, Miguelito Cuni Jr.  and many others. Even the non-Cuban artists like Jose Alberto "El Canario" and Luis Enrique have for the most part been working with Cuban artists recently.  Full details at the Festival Cubano website. 

But Bill, what about RIGHT NOW, you ask?  Got you covered.  This Friday and Saturday,  the Chicago Latin Jazz Festival in Humboldt Park is happening. Complete details are at the Jazz Institute of Chicago's website.  I'll let Mr. Papo Vazquez explain why you should attend: 

Next case. 

Before you go, check out the photo gallery and interview with Jorge Gomez of Tiempo Libre, which was just here.  They tore up the block, and I think they made it to Madrid before they could be arrested for it....

Tue, 14 Jul 2015 19:05:54 -0400
Oderquis Revé Free Download! Oderquis Revé

Oderquis Revé is celebrating his 66th birthday by giving us all a gift. A new single recorded for the 500th anniversary of Santiago de Cuba is available for free download at El Ratón Rabioso's ReverbNation page . I did it first thing this morning and it was a great vitamin kick to start the day!

Oderquis Revé está celebrando su 66o cumpleaños, dándonos todo un regalo. Un nuevo single grabado para el 500 aniversario de Santiago de Cuba se encuentra disponible para descarga gratuita en la página de El Ratón Rabioso ReverbNation. Descargué el tema hoy por la mañana y fue una gran injección de vitamina para empezar el día!

Mon, 13 Jul 2015 10:41:07 -0400
Meet Ángel Batule Ángel Batule Ángel Batule music producer & DJ

If you've been listening to contemporary Cuban dance music at all over the past few years you have heard one name shouted out by a wide variety artists - "¡Batule!" Ángel Batule - also known as  "Batule DJ" - is a member of the hugely popular Cuban group Los 4 and also one of the most sought-after music producers, arrangers, composers of the new generation of Cuban musicians.

When the reggaeton craze first swept Cuba, it seemed that the younger musicians were leaving Cuban musical traditions behind. But recent years have seen a move back towards cubanía - a return to the Cuban talent for taking something foreign and making something Cuban out of it. Batule's music is a prime example of this. Having a father who was a sound engineer and a mentor named Tirso Duarte , Batule learned about the complexities of Cuban dance music and combined these with the beats that make the younger generation move - becoming a key figure in the timbaton movement. Although the songs rely heavily on electronic reggaeton beats, they also may incorporate rumba, salsa and even gears such as bomba.

To satisfy my own curiosity, I got in touch with Batule who is just finishing up a tour of Peru with Los 4. He agreed to do a little interview so we at timba.com could get to know the man behind the shout-out "¡Batule DJ!" Click here to read the interview in English .

Dale clic aquí para leer la entrevista en español.

Ángel Batule at work

Sun, 12 Jul 2015 12:08:57 -0400
More PMO Photos from Tom Ehrlich Click here for Tom's gallery on PMO's show at Stern Grove.

Sat, 11 Jul 2015 15:31:47 -0400
JG - Que no me controlen JG - Que no me controlen Juan Guillermo "JG" is on a roll. In addition to being everywhere on the radio and in video in successful collaborations such as "Hello Baby" by Cándido Fabré with Larizta Bacallao and "Subasta de amor" with Osvaldo Montero, his second album was nominated in Cubadisco 2015 for Best Popular Dance Album by a New Group.

With "Que no me controlen" JG has established his own sound. It is youthful, positive, fun and above all very danceable. Guest artists include Kelvis Ochoa, La Charanga Habanera and Los Extraterrestres. It has a wide appeal with a mix of timba, timba romantica, tropical fusion and timbaton.  I highly recommend it for dancers and DJs. Put this on at parties and watch the dance floor fill up! Click here to read the review .

Dale clic aquí para leer la reseña en español.

JG said the band will begin recording their third CD titled "Sí, soy yo" in December. For now I leave you with the 2014 Lucas Award-winning video "Que no que no".

Sat, 11 Jul 2015 11:47:36 -0400
HdP - La Vuelta al Mundo Havana D'Primera La Vuelta al Mundo Release Concert

Tonight at 9pm in Havana's Teatro Nacional Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera officially release their album "La Vuelta al Mundo". Guests at the concert will include Carlos Vareles, Osain del Monte and salsero Luis Enrique, who shares vocals the title track with Alexander. The album was released oustide Cuba by Pafata Productions and won both a Grand Prize and Best Dance Music Album - Maestros at Cubadisco 2015. I don't know if this official release concert marks the release of the Cuban version of the CD on the Unicornio label or if we still have to wait for that to become available. In any case, Teatro Nacional is the place to be tonight if you find yourself in Havana. For more information about the Pafata release and speculation about what may yet be to come, checkout Bill's review . If you don't have "La Vuelta al Mundo" yet, you can buy it from the digital retailers such as iTunes, Amazon and CD-Baby.

Havana D'Primera La Vuelta al Mundo

Fri, 10 Jul 2015 14:10:23 -0400
Como Suena - Record Release Event Como Suena - Cuban Jazz Train Click the link for the Cuban Jazz Train homepage

Calixto Oviedo's second Latin Jazz CD will drop July 30th with a Record Release Event at the prestigious Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood. The event begins at 8:30pm and will feature special guests. You can buy your tickets in advance .

Amazingly the album has not leaked to the public yet, but those who have heard it during production have given rave reviews. For example, independent journalist Angel Lopez says:

In 2015 Calixto Oviedo brings us a CD of pure Cuban Jazz in his second independent Jazz production. While we have only heard a few songs from this CD, even un-mixed they already carry the promise of a big prize. What artistry by this legendary drummer, timbalero, conguero, composer and bandleader - in short a living legend of all the best we have in this Latin world! I promise you will love it. Please follow him. He is one of the greatest musicians of Cuba and one of the most innovative drummers of all time. The compositions are masterful; there is guaracha, afro, Pilón - a little of everything for your enjoyment. Don't miss it Los Angelinos  - Como Suena .

Calixto Oviedo

Thu, 09 Jul 2015 16:55:28 -0400
Septeto Santiaguero & Alejandro Falcón in Cuba
While in Cuba in May, BIll Tilford had the opportunity to attend several concerts by important Cuban groups.   Photo galleries with commentaries are now available of two Cubadisco award winners: Septeto Santiaguero (here) and Alejandro Falcón (here).  On Tuesday, July 14, Alejandro Falcón will be the featured guest on The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition, a radio program in English hosted by Frankie Pineiro in which BIll Tilford participates,  on WSLR.  To learn more, you can visit the program's Facebook page here. 

Check out our Reviews section for some new CD reviews.  Also, two items of interest in Chicago and South Florida:  In Chicago, Tiempo Libre will be at the Square Roots Festival on Sunday July 12.  In the Sarasota, Florida area, tres phenomenon Renesito Avich will be giving a series of lessons and concerts during the next few weeks.  For more information about these, visit http://renesitoavich.com/

Mientras en Cuba en mayo, BIll Tilford tuvo la oportunidad de asistir a varios conciertos de importantes agrupaciones cubanas. Galerías de fotos con comentarios ahora están disponibles de dos ganadores de premios Cubadisco: Septeto Santiaguero (aquí) y Alejandro Falcón (aquí) . El martes, 14 de julio,  Alejandro Falcón será el invitado especial en The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition,  un programa radial en inglés conducido por Frankie Piñeiro en el que BIll Tilford participa, en WSLR. Para obtener más información, puede visitar la página de Facebook del programa aquí.

Eche un vistazo a nuestra sección de Reseñas para algunas nuevas reseñas de CD. Además, dos itemes de interés en Chicago y el sur de Florida: En Chicago: Tiempo Libre tocará en el Square Roots Festival el domingo,  12 de julio.  En el área de Sarasota, Florida, fenómeno del tres Renesito Avich va a dar una serie de lecciones y conciertos durante las próximas semanas. Para obtener más información acerca de ellos, visite http://renesitoavich.com/

Wed, 08 Jul 2015 22:25:42 -0400
Tom Ehrlich on PMG & PMO Mala maña is a brilliant new arrangement from PMG's new pianist Edgar Pantoja:

Tom also filmed Pedrito's unaccompanied conga tour de force at the Santa Cruz show:

And here's the first installment of photos from PMO's soundcheck at Stern Grove:

                                     Braulio Barrera and Omar Ledezma of Pacific Mambo Orchestra

More PMO photos (from the concert itself) will be posted later this week.

Mon, 06 Jul 2015 03:21:59 -0400
Radio Interview in English With Ernán López-Nussa ENGLISH:  On Tuesday, June 30th, The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition will run an interview in English of Ernán López-Nussa (seen here at the Cubadisco 2015 awards ceremony holding the latest of a growing collection of prizes) that Bill Tilford did with him last month in Havana. The program will also feature music from his latest album, Invencíon Lekszycki (you can read our review here), which won the Cubadisco for Jazz Cubano this year.  The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition runs from 1400-1600 UTC (10am-Noon Eastern in the US) on WSLR, and you can stream it here or listen on-demand for two weeks following the show. 
More CD Reviews:  See the Reviews section for some new reviews of CDs. 
ESPAÑOL: El martes, 30 de junio,  The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition pondrá una entrevista en Inglés de Ernán López-Nussa (visto aquí en la premiación Cubadisco 2015 con su último premio en una creciente colección) que Bill Tilford hizo con él  última mes en La Habana. El programa también contará con la música de su último disco, Invención Lekszycki (puede leer nuestra reseña aquí), que ganó el Cubadisco para Jazz Cubano  este año.The Afro Cuban Jazz Edición se transmite desde 1400-1600 UTC (10am-mediodía hora del Este en los EE.UU.) en WSLR, y se puede sintonizar el programa aquí; también  puede escucharlo en demanda durante las dos semanas después.
Mas reseñas de CD: Vea la sección Reseñas para más nuevas reseñas de CD.

Sun, 28 Jun 2015 18:29:13 -0400
Tonight El Niño y La Verdad & El Canario Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad & El Canario in concert

The long-awaited date has finally arrived! Emilio Frias "El Niño" y La Verdad celebrate their 2nd Anniversary at Salon Rosado de la Tropical Benny Moré with the great José Alberto "El Canario" . Other guest artists include Manolito Simonet , Alexander Abreu , Septeto Santiaguero and Osain del Monte .

El Canario arrived Thursday and has been rehearsing with the band since then, so get ready for an amazing concert! I can't tell you how much it hurts that I was not in Havana this weekend. Tonight is also the final concert of three for the presentation of "Soy" - Buena Fe's new album at Karl Marx Theater. But more on that later.

Below you can enjoy a clip from rehearsal uploaded by Emilio to facebook yesterday. To all the timberos in Havana - enjoy the concert! To El Niño y La Verdad - happy anniversary!


Posted by Emilio Frias on Saturday, June 27, 2015
Sun, 28 Jun 2015 09:36:30 -0400
Cubans To Come To Chicago's Festival Cubano Now that Miami practically has a commuter culture of bands from Cuba coming up to play festivals and concerts without serious incidents, cultural events in cities like Chicago have been long overdue to catch up.  Therefore, it is a great pleasure to share the news from today's press conference held by the organizers of Chicago's Festival Cubano at the 90 Miles Cafe:  the performance lineup for the final day of the festival will include Pedrito Calvo and Miguelito Cuni Jr.    Pedrito sang for years with Los Van Van before starting his own band, La Nueva Justicia ,  As for Miguelito Cuni Jr ., he has been performing with Conjunto Chappottin.
The lineup also includes José Alberto "El Canario" .  It would have been even better to see him with Septeto Santiaguero , with whom he recently released No Quiero Llanto , but it is still nice to see him on the bill.  
Congratulations to Festival Cubano for finally crossing the bridge.  I'm  already looking forward to next year when the conversations will progress to which are the most worthy acts from Cuba rather than whether it''s time to start bringing some.  In the meantime, I look forward to Pedrito and Miguelito.
This is the sixth edition of Festival Cubano, and advance discounted tickets are now available at
You can see some pictures from the press conference in the Report From Chicago entry for July 23. 

Tue, 23 Jun 2015 22:50:43 -0400
Tiempo Libre: Back (with a k) to Havana OK, so Tiempo Libre didn't go back to Havana physically, but musically, their new recording, Panamericano, which will be released June 30, for the most part recaptures the feel of that wonderfully rowdy Timba band we all first met a decade ago.  As a lead-up to the CD release, they have rolled out two videos.    Here's the first one:  

To see the second one, go to my sneak preview of Panamericano, which you can read here
Tiempo Libre has some key tour dates coming up in July:
July 9-10:  Subrosa, NYC
July 12: Square Roots Festival, Chicago
July 19-30:  tour of Spain incl. Festival de Segovia
August 13, 2015: Pershing Square, LA
October 10-November 15:  Winnestad Theatre, Portland, OR*
* This is a five week run of a new musical, Cuba Libre. 
November 19-25: Tour of UK including London Jazz Festival

Miguel Zenón at the
Jazz Showcase in Chicago, Thursday, July 25-Sunday, July 28
No, it's not Cuban music, but it is some truly fascinating Latin Jazz happening in the US right now, so I'm going to cheat and sneak it in here.  Mr. Zenón brings his quartet to this four-night stand (two shows nightly plus a matinee on Sunday), which includes himself on sax, Henry Cole on drums, Luis Perdomo on Piano and Hans Glawischnig on bass.  These guys are deep. You can read my review of his last recording, Identities are Changeable, here. 

Mon, 22 Jun 2015 21:49:02 -0400
Pedrito Martínez in the Area

The most innovative timba band in the world has finally returned to California. You can see them in two shows at SF Jazz on Sunday, June 21st, and at Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz Monday night, June 22nd..

Sun, 21 Jun 2015 01:59:53 -0400
Pacific Mambo Orchestra + Sheila E, Marlow Rosado & Salsamania Is there a better way celebrate this upcoming Father's Day, Sunday June 21? I don't think so. The Stern Grove Festival continues its series of FREE concerts with the home team PACIFIC MAMBO ORCHESTRA plus special guests Sheila E, Marlow Rosado and the Salsamania Dance Company.

Concert starts at 2pm. Be sure to get there early to get a good spot. Be prepareed to arrive extra early if you need to grab a parking space. Bring your sunscreen, plenty of water and chairs. Capacity is 10,000 people.

¿Hay una mejor manera de celebrar este Día de los Padres, domingo 21 de junio? No lo creo. El Festival Stern Grove continúa su serie de conciertos GRATUITOS con el equipo natal la PACIFICO MAMBO ORCHESTRA más invitados especiales Sheila E, Marlow Rosado y el grupo de baile Salsamania.

El concierto comienza a las 2 de la tarde. Asegúrense de llegar temprano para conseguir un buen lugar para poner sus sillas. Estén preparados para llegar más temprano si necesitan estacionarse. No se olviden de traer su sombrero, agua y lociones para portegerse del sol. La capacidad es de 10,000 personas.

Thu, 18 Jun 2015 20:07:04 -0400
Radio Waves and New CD Reviews ENGLISH:   Pablo Menéndez of Mezcla on PRI
Earlier this year, Steve Paulson of To The Best Of Our Knowledge, a program on Public Radio International, interviewed Pablo Menéndez of Mezcla in Havana, Cuba. This segment, which aired on May 24,  is part of a longer program about Cuba and Cuban-American relations.  You can listen to that interview here.  Mezcla's most recent album, Pure Mezcla, was released in February, and you can read a "meta review" of that album here
ESPAÑOL: Pablo Menéndez de Mezcla en PRI
A principios de este año, Steve Paulson de To The Best Of Our Knowledge, un programa en Public Radio International, entrevistó a Pablo Menéndez de Mezcla en La Habana, Cuba.  Este segmento, que se emitió el 24 de Mayo, es parte de un programa más largo acerca de Cuba y las relaciones cubano-americanos.  Puede escuchar esta entrevista en inglés aquí.   El álbum más reciente de Mezcla, Pure Mezcla, se lanzó in febrero, y puede leer una "meta-critica" del álbum aquí.  
ENGLISH: Special Cuban Jazz and Fusion segments on The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition
Frankie Piñeiro has had one of the best Latin Jazz programs on radio for many years now, The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition, which airs every other Tuesday morning from 10am-noon Eastern Standard TIme on WSLR, (you can stream it on the Internet) and I will have the pleasure of sharing the new music coming out of Cuba with him in the weeks to come in a segment called Bill's Bag.   Tuesday,  June 16, the program will include an interview with Melvis Santa along with some music from her recent recordings. Then, in future shows (beginning June 30), there will be interviews with Cuban Jazz greats like Ernán López-Nussa, Alejandro Falcón, Yasek Manzano and others along with their most recent recordings which I brought back from Cuba. Frankie's program is "must hear" radio without me (yes, he includes some Timba and some Rumba in his playlists), but now you have two reasons to listen. 
ESPAÑOL:  Segmentos especiales de Jazz y Fusion cubano en la Afro Cuban Jazz Edition
Frankie Piñeiro ha tenido uno de los mejores programas de Jazz latino en la radio desde hace muchos años, The Afro Cuban Jazz Edition, que se emite cada dos martes por la mañana de 10 am-mediodía hora estándar del Este en WSLR, (se puede escuchar en Internet) y tendré el placer de compartir la nueva música que sale de Cuba con él en las próximas semanas en un segmento llamado Bill's Bag. El 16 de junio, el programa incluirá una entrevista con Melvis Santa, junto con un poco de música de sus recientes grabaciones. Luego, en los programas futuros (a partir de 30 de junio), habrá entrevistas con grandes del jazz cubanos como Ernán López-Nussa, Alejandro Falcón, Yasek Manzano y otros, junto con sus grabaciones más recientes que he traído de Cuba. El programa de Frankie es "hay que escuchar" radio sin mí (sí, él  incluye algunos Timba y algunos Rumba en sus listas también), pero ahora usted tiene dos razones para escuchar.
SPEAKING OF MELVIS SANTA.....  she'll be at Zinc Bar in NYC on Thursday, June 18 at 9pm and 10:30pm.  Details HERE.  She'll be leading a quartet.  I heard her in a small group setting in May in Chicago - this is worth checking out.

See our Reviews section for several new CD reviews of recent Cuban recordings
Vea nuestra sección Reseñas para muchas nuevas reseñas de recientes grabaciónes cubanas. 

Sun, 14 Jun 2015 19:33:48 -0400
Oderquis Revé New Single Oderquis Revé - Vacúnala & La Vida

Today Orderquis Revé y Su Changüí have released two singles: "Vacúnala and "La Vida". The songs are available at iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers worldwide. This is the first fruit of the new Tumbao Republika label based in Antwerp, Belgium and founded by two dedicated promoters of Cuban music. The single is a teaser for the album that will drop at the end of the year. 

Oderquis' music has all the raw power of changüí and the new songs are sizzling dance tracks, so buy yours now! As a friend of mine pointed out - "You can barely get a napkin at Starbucks for under $2". Get ready to be seeing a lot more about Oderquis Revé y su Changüí here at Timba.com as their long overdue section will soon be published.

If you still need convincing, here is a little taste of "Vacúnala" during a rehearsal in Havana. Enjoy!

Vacunala - ESTRENO 2015

Vacunala ....sonando en el local de ensayo de OderquisA partir de hoy a la venta por iTunes y todos las mayores plataformas digitales - un sencillo con 2 temas : VACUNALA + LA VIDA

Posted by Oderquis Revé y su Changüi on Monday, June 8, 2015
Mon, 08 Jun 2015 15:16:48 -0400
Back From La Habana
 Cubadisco 2015 was an intense and wonderful experience, and I have returned with a massive quantity of photographs and recordings.    In the near future I will begin sharing photos and observations here and the best of the Jazz recordings on the radio along with many reviews of recordings of different genres here.   Most of this will appear in the Cubadisco 2015 section

:  Cubadisco 2015 fue una experiencia intensa y maravillosa, y he regresado con una enorme cantidad de fotografías y grabaciones.  En un futuro próximo  voy a empezar a compartir fotos y observaciones aquí y lo mejor de las graciones de Jazz en la radio unto con muchos reseñas de grabaciones de diferentes géneros aquí.  La mayor parte aparecerá en la sección Cubadisco 2015. 

Mon, 01 Jun 2015 18:18:02 -0400
Llegó La Verdad - Cubadisco Winner 2015 Llegó La Verdad - caratula Winner of the Cubadisco 2015 Award
Best Popular Dance Album by a New Group

"Llegó la Verdad" was released in Spetember 2014 and nominated for three awards in Cubadisco 2015: Popular Dance Music by a New Group , Opera Prima and Best Recording . They faced stiff competition from the likes of  Alaín Pérez, JG, Alaín Daniel and Laritza Bacallao but took home the prize for Popular Dance Music. I can only agree with the judges decision. "Llegó la Verdad" has been at the top of my playlist for the past nine months. It is rare these days to find an album where you don't skip at least one or two songs. But El Niño y La Verdad have produced a killer dance album that is a true representation of all that is best in Cuban dance music. Click here for the review.

Aquí es el enlace para le la reseña en español.

Sat, 30 May 2015 12:21:55 -0400
Two New Singers for Salsa Mayor On May 19th Maykel Blanco announced at Facebook that singer Alexis David Zamora Garrido will be leaving Salsa Mayor. Word has it that Alexis David will be joining David Calzado y Su Charanga Habanera. Today Maykel announced that he has signed two singers: Yunier Pérez Enrique and Alejandro González Casanova who we know from Azúcar Negra. The announcement said that they will be recording their first TV program with Los Mayores today, and their first performance with the band will be in the middle of June. We wish Alexis David our best in his new role with the charangueros and are excited to see and hear the new Salsa Mayor with a four man front line!

Maykel Blanco presents new singers Yunier Pérez and Kasanova
Photo courtesy of Maykel Blanco @ Facebook

You have heard Kasanova singing lead on "Un beso y una flor" and "Maltratando la Tela" among other songs.

Alejandro González Casanova

Yunier is the voice behind the hit "A bailar con tacones" studied at El ISA.

Yunier Pérez Enrique
Yunier - also known as "El Chino"

Wed, 27 May 2015 15:31:07 -0400
Ian Stewart Reviews Peliroja Another promising development in the New York renaissance.

Wed, 20 May 2015 18:15:16 -0400
Cubadisco 2015 Bill is currently in Havana for Cubadisco and other events and will get back to us with a full report. In the meantime, the Cubadisco 2015 awards have been given and I'll just mention those closest to our hearts at Timba.com.

Havana D'Primera 2015 Cubadisco Awards
Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera won big, taking home the Best Dance Album award as well as Grand Prize, which they shared with Digna Guerra (choral music). These awards come as no surprise to anyone who has listened to Havana D'Primera's new CD "La vuelta al mundo". It is an exceptional album of which a review will be forthcoming from Bill after he gets back from Havana.

Trece RemixIf you missed it, Havana D'Primera has just released a remix of the song "Trece", available at CDBaby. A rap section has been added to the song. In terms of lyrics "Trece" is by far the most "urban" song Havana D'Primera has done. It makes references to the "charada china" or "la bolita" throughout the song. Doce, trece, cincuenta and noventa y seis each take their meaning from this popular yet unofficial lottery. Like many of you, I was ignorant of the whole charada, so I will share here the meanings of these numbers and it will give a whole new dimension to the song. 
12 - prostitute
13 - peacock (or a conceited man)
50 - police
96 - old prostitute

El Niño y La Verdad Cubadisco 2015

Another winner at the 2015 Cubadisco Awards was Emilio Frias "El Niño y La Verdad" who won Best Dance Album by a new group. I have to say that I am so glad Cubadisco had this category because honestly I would have found it very difficult, if not impossible to choose between "Llegó la verdad" and "La vuelta al mundo". My own review of the brilliant debut album by La Verdad will be published soon. "Llegó la verdad" was also nominated for Opera Prima (Laritza Bacallao took that category) and Best Recording, which went to Maykel Bárzaga for "Cuba now danzón". 

Septeto Santiaguero

Septeto Santiaguero took home the award for Best Traditional Son with their magnificent album "No quiero llanto - Tributo a los Compadres" featuring José Alberto "El Canario". Here is SuenaCubano's full list of winners while we await Bill's return with all the gossip from the event and what's up in Havana. Timba.com congratulates all of the 2015 Cubadisco winners!

Fri, 15 May 2015 08:42:42 -0400
OFFICIAL BOOK OF CUBADISCO 2015 AWARD NOMINEES ENGLISH: Thanks to the Publications Department of Cubadisco, you may download the official book of Cubadisco 2015 nominees here.  It is free but only available in Spanish. 
ESPAÑOL:  Gracias al Departamento de Publicaciones Cubadisco,  puede descargar el libro oficial de nominados premio Cubadisco 2015  aquí. Es gratis, pero sólo está disponible en español.

Melvis Santa was given a warm welcome at Sabor a Café in Chicago - you can view a photo gallery here.   
ESPAÑOL:   Melvis Santa se le dio una bienvenida afectuosa en Chicago en Sabor a Café -puede ver una galería de fotos y el comentario aquí.

Sun, 10 May 2015 20:25:00 -0400
Just Watch It - The Doors Are Opening

Sat, 09 May 2015 06:09:38 -0400
PACIFIC MAMBO ORCHESTRA - New Single Release Concert Come celebrate the release of Pacific Mambo Orchestra's new single and first official video -- the PACIFIC MAMBO DANCE -- at the best Friday night dance party in San Francisco.

The west coast gears up for the Pacific Mambo Orchestra's release party for their new single and first official video, the "Pacific Mambo Dance". After the closings of beloved venues Café Cócomo and The Addition (formnerly Yoshi's SF), Bay Area salseros and salseras are out in force seeking a new home-base. Let's hope this new Space 550 can rise to the occasion and accomodate this 20-piece powerhouse. The PMO will bring its legions of "música tropical" lovers to this new club next Friday May 15th.

Purchase advance tickets here =  http://pmo-dance-party.eventbrite.com
*This event will sell out and tickets are $10 more at the door. 

On related news, the PMO is set to perform at the Stern Grove Festival on Sunday June 21st with special guests and fellow grammy award winners Sheila E. and Marlow Rosado. The event should be called Grammys on the Grove if the Academy would allow it. The concert is sponsored by KPFA 94.1 FM. The Stern Grove Festival is FREE and takes place at the Sigmund Stern Grove, a 10,000 audience capacity, beautiful outdoor amphitheater located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco. More to come on this story. Mambo's gonna rock your world!

Fri, 08 May 2015 04:19:06 -0400
CUBADISCO 2015 NOMINEES ANNOUNCED ENGLISH:  Cubadisco 2015, a combination of Cuba's equivalent of the GRAMMY Awards, a music symposium, a trade fair, concerts and exhibitions, will take place in Havana Cuba from May 15-24, 2015.  The nominees for Cubadisco 2015 were announced at a special gala at the Cabaret Tropicana on April 30.   Bill Tilford will be covering Cubadisco in a special section of the From The Studios Report.    You can see the nominees here, and special video links have been added to the list when these were available ("pirated" links were not included).  
There is a special Video Clip category in Cubadisco, and the nominees are:
ESPAÑOL:  Cubadisco 2015, una combinación del equivalente cubano de los Premios GRAMMY, un simposio de música, una feria comerciál, conciertos y exposiciones,  tendrá lugar en La Habana, Cuba a partir de 15 a 24 mayo, 2015. Los nominados a Cubadisco 2015  se anunciaron en una gala especial en el Cabaret Tropicana el 30 de abril.  Bill Tilford estará cubriendo Cubadisco en una sección especial de From The Studios. Puede ver los nominados aquí, y enlaces de vídeo especiales se han añadido a la lista cuando disponibles (no incluimos enlaces "pirateados"). 
Hay una categoria especial, Video Clip, en Cubadisco, y los nominados son: 

1.  Oshún (Adrián Berezaín)

2.. Hablando con Juana (Alaín Pérez)

3.  Canción fácil (Haydée Milanés)

4. Cuando tú dices que me amas (QVA Libre)

5. La Moda (Los Van Van) 

ENGLISH: Congratulations to TIMBA.com's Michael Lazarus; he co-mixed and mastered Septeto Santiaguero's album No Quiero Llanto, which is a nominee in the Traditional Son category. 
ESPAÑOL:  Felicitaciones a Michael Lazarus de TIMBA.com; él co-mezcló y masterizó el álbum No Quiero Llanto de Septeto Santiaguero, que es nominado en la categoría Son Tradicional. 

Sun, 03 May 2015 14:37:32 -0400
Peter Maiden Update

"¡Ahora sí!" Andy Montañéz at Roccapulco in 2001, one of the multitude of photos Peter Maiden took of Salsa and Timba giants during his intensive 17 years of coverage of the scene. He is stepping down from regular work in music, but says he will definitely still be around. "If you can handle the time involved, the crowds, if you have fast lenses, this work is incredible, and the familiarity with the musicians is wonderful." Peter is currently working on a fiction project as he recovers from a bicycle accident, and he is mastering iPod Touch photography.

Meanwhile, I've finished the latest Beyond Salsa video - this one on Salsa, Songo & The Roots of Latin Jazz - featuring a priceless video of Dizzy Gillespie talking about meeting Chano Pozo, the creation of Manteca, and the importance of Chano's legendary bass tumbao in the development of North American music.

Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:55:47 -0400
Irakere with Paulito, Carlos Manuel, José Miguel

Filmed by Michael Croy in Feb. 1996, this was part of a special concert at Casa de la Música.

Wed, 29 Apr 2015 07:24:40 -0400

Live Los Van Van from their peak late-90s period with the epic front line of Pedrito Calvo, Mayito Rivera and Robertón Hernández - still several years before the departure of Pupy Pedroso and with all parts of their tremendous creative engine firing on all cylinders. This is a particularly hot performance with surprisingly good audio quality.

Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:08:57 -0400
Latin Jazz Train - Como Suena Latin Jazz Train - Cómo Suena

Master percussionist Calixto Oviedo is back with his second Latin Jazz album, due for release very soon. We have heard four of the songs that he has uploaded to his YouTube channel. Below you will find a short teaser with clips of some of the tracks that will be on the album. We have recieved this preliminary review from Miriam Dotls who has had the pleasure of hearing more than we have.

"Calixto Oviedo is finishing his second Latin Jazz production  with his band The Cuban Jazz Train. This new band, which is emerging in L.A. as the flag of Latin Jazz in California and one of the most noted in the USA these days, will present compositions by Yosmel Montejo (bassist), Joel Nunez (sax) Yasser Morejón (one of the great Cuban bassists who resides in Denmark), Calixto Oviedo as well as some classics of Latin Jazz. "Como Suena" is the name of a composition by Yosmel Montejo that also lends its name to the CD. Soon,  in late May, we will be enjoying The Cuban Jazz Train.

The musicians are Montejo Yosmel - bass, Joel Nunez - piano, Nathanael Molina and Alex Rivas -piano, Christian Moraga - congas, Lily D Oviedo - vocals and one of the great Cuban trumpeters of the moment guest star Josiel Perez on flugelhorn. It will for sure be an album that everyone will enjoy, and from now on with what little I have heard you can say Como Suena!" - Miriam Dotls

Mon, 27 Apr 2015 08:28:39 -0400
Controversia! Paulito & Manolín

Here's a fascinating live bootleg from Havana during the rage late-90s timba explosion. 

Paulito and Manolín had a feigned trash-talking rivalry that served to increase the popularity of each. They would frequently show up at each others shows to duel verbally on stage. For example, Paulito had a coro "ni médico, ni cantante".

Michel Maza also appears briefly and there's a trumpet solo from Carmelo Andrés, now best known as "El Abuelo" in Charanga Habanera's trumpet section.

This tape is also interesting in that it has three Paulito songs that were never released on any official album.

I've tried to get everything in the right order, but bear in mind that this came from an unlabeled cassette. "Cuál es tu trampa" seems to be from a different show and the two Manolín controversias may also be from different nights. Please add your insights to the comments section (en inglés o español, no importa)

Sat, 25 Apr 2015 03:07:07 -0400
Omar Sosa and Cuarteto Afrocubano at The Jazz Showcase
Omar Sosa
and Cuarteto Afrocubano are at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago every night until Sunday, April 25.  Unlike the album, which includes guest musicians that add some elements of Flamenco and other influences, this is the core quartet and is more down-to-the-bone Cuban in its execution.  BIll Tilford was there for the first set opening night - you can read more and see photos here

In 2012, Santa Habana by Melvis Santa was nominated for a Cubadisco award in the Fusion category.   Melvis has her own projects now but has also been a member of Interactivo (which appears here) and Sexto Sentido.   You can read a review of this recording in English here y en español aquí.

Best of all for Chicagoans, she will be in town May 9 to perform. See Report From Chicago  from April 19 for details. 

In the next month or two, you will be reading and hearing a lot about Ruy López-Nussa, who in no particular order is Ernán López-Nussa's brother, a phenomenal drummer, and the leader of the group La Academia, a group that has some killer recordings that are about to find their way to public notice.   If you were a fan of Grupo Afrocuba, watch this like a hawk.  This is not a reencarnation, but it is every bit as good, in some ways even better.   While we wait, here's a review of a Fusion project (Cuban music and Reggae) that they did with Everton Paul, Remembrance.  You can read it in English here o en español aquí

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:45:08 -0400
Venezuela Debut for Cerrando Filas

International Timba Month has hit Venezuela in the form of Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor. They will perform their Venezuelan debut concert this Saturday in Barquisimeto. Fans are thrilled to finally get an opportunity to see Los Mayores en vivo. Maykel has been working hard over the past few years to really put together not only a great musical repertiore, but also a well-rehearsed, fun performance that makes Salsa Mayor arguably the best timba show in Havana today.

Los Mayores will be in Venezuela for five concerts. Click here to see the list of concert dates. If you are not fortunate enough to be in Venezuela, you can console yourself with the brilliant new DVD/CD "Cerrando Filas" available at iTunes and other digital retailers. Here is a personal message for the Venezuelan fans from the Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor official Facebook page.


Posted by Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor on Thursday, April 23, 2015
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:07:35 -0400
New Mini-Documentary (Arsenio) A new Beyond Salsa mini-documentary and two musical treasures. The documentary is on Beyond Salsa Bass, Vol. 2: Arsenio, Cachao and The Golden Age of the 50s, but especially about Arsenio Rodríguez, the mid-century musical visionary whom I call "the first timbero". 

The second link is for a brand new demo from the most exciting lineup El Pikete has put together, featuring the great Reinier Guerra on drums and many other top Miami players.

Click here for El Pikete: Mi detalle.

Finally, we have two never-released-on-CD Arsenio tracks from his absolute prime.

Wed, 22 Apr 2015 14:10:50 -0400

Hay Un Run Run is the first single and video for Septeto Santiaguero's new double-album: No Quíero Llanto, Tributo A Los Compadres. The tune features José Alberto and a fantastic vocal-only breakdown with clever (mouth) percussion effects. A real hoot! 

The album is a collaboration with Dominican Salsa Star José Alberto (El Canario) -- who also co-produced the work -- and will be released on his record label. The songs are a tribute to the famous trova duo Los Compadres, of which Compay Segundo of Buena Vista Social Club fame was once tresero and singer. The release date is May 12. 

It also features a slew of incredible artists: Osacar D'León, Eliades Ochoa, Andy Montañez, recent Latin Grammy & Grammy Nominee Aymee Nuviola, Ismael Miranda, Tiburón Morales, Grupo Esencia from Puerto Rico (their track Sarandonga is gold!) and Edwin Bonilla.

Check out Bill Tilford's review (English and Spanish) here or click on the album cover below...

Also very cool is this "making of" video, in which José Alberto and the members of the septeto speak about Los Compadres and their influence on Cuban music and the "son" genre. I especially like the part that discusses the use of whistling that became a unique stamp of the classic santiaguero group that preceded the septeto. Here it is... 

Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:12:41 -0400
La Charanga Habanera - Arriba de lo mal hecho Not taking time to rest from their recent European tour, David Calzado y Su Charanga Habanera are touring Canada. They have performed in Toronto and Vancouver. On Wednesday they will be in Edmonton, AB and Friday in Montreal, QC. They are performing a mix of new songs, recent hits and classic medleys. The boys are always a great time so don't miss the show! Here is a link for Edmonton tickets. And click here for tickets to the Montreal show. As a little preview here is a clip form the new song "Arriba de lo mal hecho" performed in Vancouver.

Arriba de lo mal hecho

Posted by David Calzado y su Charanga Habanera on Sunday, April 19, 2015
Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:02:24 -0400
Some Important Upcoming US Performances Spring is here, and some dont'miss  performances are coming up in different cities in the United States: 

I. Omar Sosa y Cuarteto AfroCubano

Omar's newest group is currently on tour in multiple cities in the United States in support of their new release ilé, a return to Omar's Cuban musical roots. You can read my review of that album (in English) here.  I will have the good fortune to be able to catch them live during one of their many performances at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago from April 23-26; they also have dates in LA on the 19th, Washington DC on the 29th and Brooklyn NY on the 30th before heading off to Europe.  You can see the full tour schedule here. 

II. Melvis Santa

Melvis Santa already has an impressive resume - a founding member of Sexto Sentido, work with Interactivo as well as many Cuban Jazz artists, film work in Siete días en la Habana and her own projects Santa Habana and Achedi.  This Chicago performance (At Sabor a Cafe on May 9) has her collaborating with a hand-picked ensemble, three of whom took the roof off the place a few weeks ago when they played there with Eliel Lazo:  Cuban saxophonist and keyboardist Orlando Sanchez "Cubajazz",  bassist Joshua Ramos and guitarist/keyboardist Rob Block.  Melvis' voice is one of those that I would listen too even if she were singing the Chicago telephone directory.  But don't take my word for it - her YouTube channel is here. This is also an opportunity to buy her CD Santa Habana, which I have heard (I love it) and will be reviewing soon.  This is a small venue (with wonderful Colombian food incidentally), so make your reservations now.      

III.   Jane Bunnett  and Maqueque

This is hardly Jane Bunnett' s  first rodeo with top-tier Cuban artists, nor is it the first time that an excellent all-female ensemble has come together to perform Cuban music.  What is new is that the lineup includes heavy hitters like drummer Yissy Garcia, who recently stood a few US cities on their ears during a tour with her own project, Bandancha, and this group draws on the strengths of Yissy, Yusa and others to throw down an interesting mix of Cuban music, Jazz and Soul.  The group will be touring Canada and the west coast of the United States in May at the following locations: 

Jazz Bistro – Toronto Canada – Wednesday May 6 to Saturday May 9
PDX Jazz @ Jimmy Mak’s – Portland Oregon – Monday May 11
Jazz Alley – Seattle Washington – Tuesday May 12, Wednesday May 13
Piedmont Piano Company – In-Store Concerts – Oakland CA – Thursday May 14
Jazz Bakery Presents at Moss Theater – Santa Monica CA – Saturday May 16
MIM Music Theater (Musical Instrument Museum) – Phoenix AZ – Sunday May 17
Kuumbwa Jazz Center – Santa Cruz CA – Monday May 18

Sun, 19 Apr 2015 13:41:42 -0400
Michel Maza con el Charangón

After the tragic death of Elio Revé in 1997, his son Elito took over and within a few years had proven himself to be his father's equal in terms of assembling talent. Lele (now in Van Van) and ex-Trabuquero El Gallo each passed through the group alongside Revé's long-standing lead vocalist Dagoberto Vásquez and like his father, Elito employed a succession of brilliant musical directors - Jiovanni Cofiño, Arnaldo Jiménez and now Aisar Hernández.

This live show comes from the brief but wonderful period during which Michel Maza sang with Revé.

Sun, 19 Apr 2015 05:25:07 -0400
Feliz Cumple Manolito Simonet Manolito Simonet by Cristian MuñozManolito Simonet photo courtesy of Cristian Muñoz

For International Timba Month we honor not only anniversaries but also birthdays. Bandleader Manolito Simonet celebrates his birthday today and we wish him health, happiness and que haya trabuco pa' rato. Manolito hails from Camagüey and has been one of the main proponents of heavily son-influenced timba. His piano tumbaos are mesmerizing hooks that are irresistible to dancers. Who doesn't immediately recognize the opening tumbao of "Marcando la distancia"?

But Manolito is not just living in the past and neither are we, although we have posted a lot of classic timba and there is more to come. Timba is alive and well in Cuba and here is the recent official video of the collaboration between F-Clan and Manolito Simonet y Su Trabuco "Yo soy bueno". A tasty combination of urban Havana with the son sello of  Manolito Simonet, it is destined to be another big dance floor hit.

Sat, 18 Apr 2015 07:59:30 -0400
Happy Anniversary Klímax!

Today Giraldo Piloto & Klímax celebrate their anniversary. In tribute we offer fans this video filmed by the late, great Chuck Silverman, this is the original Klímax, playing at the famous "piscina" venue of the Hotel Riviera with the original lineup with priceless closeup footage of Piloto and Yonder de Jesús Peña Llovet (who has a great youtube channel of his own). They play half a dozen songs from the first album, Mira si te gusta (all of the brilliant original Eurotropical material is now downloadable on amazon), and some dramatic and riveting Latin jazz arrangements.

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:18:42 -0400
It was 20 years ago today ...

This concert took place about a month after the Montreux concert posted earlier. 

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 07:20:13 -0400
Charanga Habanera - Late 1998

This is quite a gem. Remember that after the Suspension Concert, only two members left the group - Dany Lozada and Juan Carlos González. The rest of the group returned to the scene and although they never recorded again, they developed new material. Some songs, like Se que ha fallado, were later done by Charanga Forever, while others, like La suegra, were never officially recorded. Then came the big breakup the following summer of 1998 that yielded Charanga Forever and left Calzado with only Michel Maza and the name "Charanga Habanera". In shockingly short order, he put together the band in this video - one of the greatest in Cuban history. I know I keep saying that about late-90s bands, but I'm tellin' it like is is - many of the great bands of all time were competing against each other on a nightly basis in this brief but magical era.

In any case, this is one of the very best of the Cuban TV documentaries, entitled Charanguero mayor, and including both of the above mentioned rarities, along with Charanguero mayor sung by Michel, Usa condón sung by Tirso and much much more.

For more on all of this:

Thu, 16 Apr 2015 06:55:34 -0400
Pupy y Los Que Son Son Pupy y Lso Que Son Son Tour 2015

Pupy y Los Que Son Son will soon be gracing the stages of Europe. The tour begins in just over one month and will take them to eleven countries including their first-ever concerts in the UK! Pupy will be bringing his legendary music to Glasgow on May 29th and London on the 30th. The London tickets are going fast so please get yours in time. I've seen Pupy in Europe twice and both concerts were sold out. Click here to find a concert near you.

If you've been following our International Timba Month posts, you've seen the 2001 videos of Pupy y Los Que Son Son with Tirso, Pepito and Mandy as well as a guest appearance by Mayito. Here is their most recent video "La Conga Pelotera" from the album "Sin Límites". You can keep up with the latest news about Pupy y Los Que Son Son at their official Facebook page. Dale Like!

Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:09:43 -0400
2 Nights at the Casa de la Música Miramar
During Cubadisco 2014, EGREM was kind enough to give me permission to photograph NG La Banda and Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco in the Casa de la Música Miramar.  The Casas are one of the best options for tourists to enjoy some of the best current Timba bands. You can view the photo gallery here. 

Also, see the Reviews section for new reviews of recordings by NG La Banda, Elito Reve y su Charangón and Moncada. 

Durante Cubadisco 2014, EGREM tuvo la amabilidad de darme permiso para fotografiar NG La Banda y Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco en la Casa de la Música Miramar. Las Casas son una de las mejores opciones para los turistas a disfrutar de los mejores grupos que tocan la Timba en la actualidad. Puede ver la galería de fotos aquí. 

Además, vea la sección Reseñas para nuevas reseñas de grabaciones de NG La Banda, Elito Revé y su Charangon y Moncada

Mon, 13 Apr 2015 22:44:20 -0400
Latest Documentary

This one covers the early history of the bass tumbao up through 1950 and Arsenio Rodríguez. Lots of interesting stuff on changüí.

Mon, 13 Apr 2015 22:43:30 -0400
Manolín & Pututi II at La Cecilia

This is flat-out one of the hottest things I've ever seen. It's probably February 1997 but I'm not sure. Pututi II looks a bit older than he does here. Apparently Pututi I, who was playing drumset on the Marianao video, was out sick with la gripa, so his brother, who normally played timbales, had to play both drums and timbales on short notice. This is itself is not such a feat - many bands, like Van Van and el Trabuco, require their drummers to do this every night, but to do it on the fly - and to do it like THIS is just mind-boggling. Pututi II, and the güiro player, and the whole band, are just out of their minds. I saw Manolín at this same Quinta Avenida outdoor nightclub the very first night I ever spent in Cuba (Feb. 1999) - a concert that led to the creation of timba.com (and the loss of my sanity). There was something truly magical about that outdoor venue that seemed to set every band on fire. The camera stays on the percussion but if you listen carefully you can hear that Issac Delgado is sitting in on two songs.

Mon, 13 Apr 2015 09:35:55 -0400
El Médico de la Salsa

This video captures the rapture of the Havana public during the Manolin-mania period better than any other I've found. It took place at the massive, outdoor Anfeteatro de Marianao in 1996 as el Médico and his crack surgical team were in the process of pouring an ocean of kerosene on Havana's already raging live music scene. It's also priceless for its documentation of the wicked hot rhythm section of Mipa, Nápoles and the Pututi brothers.

This reconstruction uses film from the cameras of two participants in Caribbean Music & Dance Programs' yearly February pilgrimages to Havana. The main camera is by Michael Croy, who, among other things, filmed the legendary Issac Delgado Valentine's Day concert the following February. I forgot who sent me the other angle (please send me an email if you're reading this!), but I've spliced them together, in some cases repeating sections. 

Sun, 12 Apr 2015 04:57:33 -0400
Issac Delgado - 25th Anniversary Issac Delgado 25th Anniversary

As I mentioned in a previous post, April is International Timba Month because of the number of significant timba anniversaries. Kevin's ITM post for today is a great concert by NG La Banda at the Montreaux Jazz Festival from 1994. Issac Delgado was part of NG for the first couple of years, but left NG to form his own band around 1990. He recorded his first CD "Dando la hora" in 1991, winning the 1992 EGREM award. Today is Issac's 53rd birthday, which he is celebrating with a red-carpet anniversary concert at La Cecilia.

April 2nd, Kevin posted the full Issac Delgado Valentine's Day 1997 concert - "The Croy Concert", which is one of the most exciting and inspiring concert videos from this great era of timba. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rm8HJ8QWY8I

Last month Havana Culture posted an interview with Issac. I think Issac's fans will enjoy it. It's in Spanish with subtitles. Happy birthday Issac!

Interview with Issac Delgado by Havana Culture

Sat, 11 Apr 2015 05:13:25 -0400
Gozando con el Mes Internacional de la Timba

There have been some lower resolution individual songs from this concert, but now we have the full 90 minute show in very high resolution. This is NG La Banda at the absolute peak of their second great style period - with Calixto Oviedo, Feliciano Arango, Los Metales del Terror, Pan con Salsa, Peruchín, Tony Calá et al.

Click here and here for documentaries on NG and Calixto.

Sat, 11 Apr 2015 04:39:55 -0400
Paulito in New York - December, 1998

This is the second set of the concert posted a few days ago. Highlights include a massive version of Y ahora qué, La última balá and the masterpiece No te lo creas.

Click here for Part One: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sbM6epQq-E

Fri, 10 Apr 2015 03:27:05 -0400
Ibeyi in San Francisco

Lisa Kaine Díaz and Naomi Díaz are the twin daughters of the legendary Irakere conguero Miguel "Angá" Díaz (who plays in an upcoming Intl Timba Month video coming soon). Tom caught their show at The Independent in SF and logged this report.

Thu, 09 Apr 2015 03:22:07 -0400
Happy Anniversary Leonel Limonta & Azúcar Negra! Azúcar Negra @ LatinoamericandoLeonel Limonta & Azúcar Negra @ Latinoamericando 2013

Today for International Timba Month  we celebrate the second group with an anniversary in April: Leonel Limonta & Azúcar Negra. Before starting his own orchestra, Leonel Limota wrote major hits for other bands: "24 días" for Issac, "Quítate el disfraz", "Nube pasajera", "El avión" and "Extraños ateos" for La CHaranga Habanera as well as almost all of the "Yo no me parezco a nadie" as manager for Bamboleo.

Haila Mompie sings "Vengo de estreno" shortly after the founding of the band in 1998

Now in full control of his own band, Limonta continued proving his extraordinary talent as songwriter with songs such as "Andar andando", "Vengo de etreno", "3 de azúcar y 2 de café", "Se acabó el pesca'o" and "Bailar con tacones". He also worked with many of the great female singers such as Haila Mompie, Monica Mesa, Tania Pantoja, and Ailyn Dallera. Recently he changed the format of the band to follow the times and has only male vocalists. Below is a clip of one of the new singles "Suave, Rico y Despacito" with Reiner Rojas on lead vocals.

Congratulations to Limonta and los chamaos de Azúcar!

Azúcar Negra 2015

Wed, 08 Apr 2015 15:21:45 -0400
Salsondria Tuesdays at Favela Cubana

Attention New Yorkers! Salsondria's Tuesday residency at Favela Cubana continues into the month of April. As always, the events showcase some of the best talent in Gotham's Cuban Music scene. Enrique Lopez and Nu D'Lux are among the list of prime artists that will be featured on the Salsondria roster this month. Favela Cubana is located at 543 LaGuardia Place in Manhattan. The party starts at 10pm with a $5 dollar cover.

For those who cannot make it out on Tuesdays, the party continues every Saturdays at Favela's sister restaurant Calle Dao, located in Midtown at 38 W 39th Street and also starts at 10pm ($10 cover). Few events in New York present live Cuban Music with this kind of regularity and accessibility in such an intimate yet high-energy context. A unique, "up close and personal" listening and dancing experience worthy of any Cuban Music lover's attention. Come show your support!

Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:24:51 -0400
International Timba Month Continues!

Maybe we'll make it International Timba Year.

Here's the second half of Los Que Son Son at la ENA - probably the second public performance of the group. Part One is here: http://goo.gl/1Y0kDB

Tue, 07 Apr 2015 03:41:25 -0400
Pupy y Los Que Son Son

Here's an intimate glimpse of one of the very first performances of the first great timba band of the 21st Century - Pupy Pedroso y Los Que Son Son - with the devastating front line of Tirso Duarte, Pepito Gómez and Mandy Cantero. Visitors to Havana will recognize the venue as the "Piano Bar", a converted house down the road from the ENA conservatory where students and visitors hang out. Changuito played regularly with the band at this point and various luminaries sit in - Mayito & Robertón of Van Van, Don Pancho Terry, etc. Part 1 highlights include a Changuito solo and Mayito sitting in on Seis semanas.

Click here for the history of Pupy Pedroso, and here for Tirso Duarte.

Mon, 06 Apr 2015 04:32:26 -0400
Paulito in New York - December, 1998

More historic footage from the final tour of one of Cuba's all-time greatest bands - the 1998 Paulito FG y su Élite. This video is everything that this one (http://goo.gl/DCsSCl) is not: it's not complete, has barely any songs that go all the way from beginning to end and doesn't stay on the tripod. BUT - it has better audio quality, substantially better video quality and some pretty amazing camera work. My suggestion is to study the Miami concert until you've got the gear system and then enjoy this one for the closeups and detail. This is Set 1 - Set 2 is here: http://youtu.be/v-gTbbQN9lQ

Sun, 05 Apr 2015 05:00:40 -0400
International Timba Month Why is April International Timba Month? Although one cannot put an exact date on the birth of Timba, people tend to go along with the idea that it was with El Tosco & NG La Banda that took the many innovations that had been present in Cuban music and brought them together also adding a few of their own creating what we now call timba. Today NG La Banda celebrate their 27th anniversary. That is the main reason that April was chosen as International Timba Month. However both Azúcar Negra and Klímax also celebrate anniversaries in April, which just makes it that much more appropriate.

Here is an excellent video - courtesy of ex-NG drummer Calixto Oviedo - of one of my favorite NG songs "La Bruja", filmed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. If you will be in LA this month, don't miss Calixto Oviedo & The Cuban Jazz Train at Trattoria 25! It will be a great way to spend an evening for International Timba Month.

Sat, 04 Apr 2015 06:15:24 -0400
Paulito in Miami - December, 1998

The audio and video quality is not quite ready for IMAX, but this is a truly historic document - the final concert of the final tour of one of the greatest bands ever assembled. After this December 1998 show at Café Cristal in Miami, conguero Tomasito Cruz and future Tiempo Libre vocalist El Kid Díaz left the group to stay in Miami, and after returning to Havana, bassist Joel Domínguez, drummer Yoel Páez and pianist Yaniel "El Majá" Matos left to join the 1999 incarnation of Issac Delgado's band (the band that played the Y2K Concert posted a few months back). The rest of the band includes El Bola Betancourt on trumpet, Carlos Pérez on trombone Juan Ceruto on sax and arrangements. and of course three future members of Havana d'Primera: Alexander Abreu, Rogelio Nápoles and Yosvel Bernal. When we discuss HdP's "resumen de los 90" mission statement - rekindling the brilliance of the timba era - there's no doubt that the PFG 98 band was their overarching inspiration. You can hear all three of these guys solo on Estamos en escena (use the hyperlinks in the video description for quick navigation).

What sets this band aside from all others is their unique approach to timba gears - Paulito quite literally "calls" each gear change with a sophisticated set of hand signals - explained in this youtube:

In 1997, when the classic album Con la conciencia tranquila was recorded (the source for most of the songs from this show), the rhythm section was the same except for Sergio Noroña on piano, but at that point they had two main timba gears - presión and bomba. In 1998 they added a third "masacote"-style timba gear dubbed (at least by Tomasito) "songo con efectos". They played this more and more over the course of 1998 and you can hear plenty of it in the Noche de Cristal audio concert posted a few months ago. That was about 3 months before this show - the last stop on the historic 1998 US tour. I will soon post another video from a few days before this one - at SOBs - it doesn't have complete songs but does have vastly superior video quality. This beauty of this particular video is that most of the songs are complete and there's very little fancy camera work so you can see Paulito and most of the rhythm section all of the time and you can watch as Paulito dishes out his hand signals and the band responds brilliantly. There's also a long version of Estamos en escena in which almost everyone gets a solo. Last but not least is the never-recorded masterpiece, Laura, and the original version of La última bala, later recorded as Una vez más on the 2000 album of the same name.

This is the same band that played this concert in Havana a few months earlier: 

Fri, 03 Apr 2015 20:21:25 -0400
New Live Videos In Honor of ... another of the greatest timba concerts ever preserved: Issac Delgado at Casa Cultura on Valentine's Day, 1997, featuring Melón Lewis, Alain Pérez, Daria Delgado, Georvis Pico, Joaquín Betancourt, Andrés Cuayo and many more. Some of the individual songs have been on youtube for a while but now we have the full concert in very high quality - dubbed directly from Mike Croy's original digital camera tape. 

Coming later this week are two epic Paulito FG concerts, including the final show before his stupendously great 1998 band broke up. If you want to get in the mood for this, here's a youtube segment that will teach you how to spot Paulito's inimitable hand signal method for changing gears spontaneously.

PFG is truly the Steph Curry of timba. And these concerts have never been on youtube in any form. Entonces ... prepárense!

Also, in case you missed it, we've also recently added the Charanga Habanera Suspension Concert Restoration Project. The idea here is to find all the various audio and video files of this historic 1997 concert and put everything in order with the best quality media in each case. The cool thing here is that the concert went on after the censors pulled the plug, so we have audio of several additional songs, including two great ones that Charanga Habanera never recorded in the studio. If you're not up to speed on the infamous suspension you can catch up on your charanga chisme here and here.

Thu, 02 Apr 2015 02:34:39 -0400
International Timba Month 2015 NG La Banda

Yes timber@s, once again it's time to celebrate the birth of our favorite music, which we have not-so-randomly placed in the month in which coincides with the founding of NG La Banda. As we gather again to congratulate ourselves on our excellent taste, let me point out that despite fears that timba is dying, the new generation if timberos has already given us two excellent new albums in 2015: "La Vuelta al Mundo" by Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera and Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor's live CD/DVD "Cerrando Filas" recorded at their 10th anniversary concert last year. Other indications of the health of the genre are the excellent 2014 debut album "Llegó La Verdad" by Emilio Frías "El Niño" y La Verdad - who will celebrate their anniversary on June 28th with guest José Alberto "El Canario" at La Tropical - and the young group Yadiel Bolaño y La Tabla who have just released their first CD, which is being highly praised by DJs.

And the established bands continue doing brilliant work. Los Van Van's "La Fantasía" released earlier this year is undoubtedly one of their best. And we hear more about the upcoming release by Elito Revé y Su Charangón - "La Salsa Tiene Mi Son" - an album with remakes of some of the Charangóns biggest hits from the 90s featuring national and international stars. We've been waiting for this one for a long time. It was recorded at Abdala studios under the musical direction of Aisar Hernández and direction of Elito Revé. It will distributed nationally by Bis Music and internationally by Sony. No, I still don't have the actual release date but let's hope it's this spring. In the video below Elito talks about the new album.

Also just in time for International Timba Month Kevin has released his "Restoration Project" Suspension Concert video (below). He has combined the best available audio with the best available video (VHS recording from television) to create the complete concert from start to finish. Because the television transmission was cut off during "Usa condón", the final part contains only the audio, but it's worth listening to. It brings home the passion and locura of the late 90s in Havana. So timber@s - enjoty the month of April as spring returns and we count the reasons we have to be thankful for having enriched our lives with Cuban music.

Wed, 01 Apr 2015 12:07:05 -0400
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.