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SpanishEnglishTe Lo Dije (Mack Avenue) -released 2020

CD Review: Te Lo Dije (Harold Löpez-Nussa)
Mack Avenue August 28, 2020
Review by Bill Tilford, all rights reviewed 

In Te lo Dije (in English:  "I told you so",  Harold López-Nussa reexamines popular music, both Cuban and non-Cuban, from a Cuban Jazz perspective using using his core quartet with sone special guests.  Although this was recorded before 2020's Jazz Plaza in Havana, in some ways  it is similar conceptually  to some of what took place there in the sense that it mines some popular music forms and elevates them.   It is not a simple collection of jazz covers of popular songs however - most of the compositions are Harold's. 
Habana Sin Sabanas was not composed as a tribute to Weather Report but occasionally evokes elements of it in an aural depiction of Havana.   
The title track, Te Lo Dije, is a mozambique, a rhythm created by Pello El Afrokan in the 1960s.  Pello used a small army of percussionists to project the rhythm, but Ruy Adrian López-Nussa, the drummer, rises to the occasion here to capture the beat. 
The Windmills of Your Mind is a composition by Michael Legrand and  reflects Harold's connections to France as well as Cuba.  It is one of the rare instances of an accordion participating in a Cuban jazz album.   This writer, who is himself an accordionist, approves.   
Timbeando is a timba-jazz fusion them that is also a tribute to Chick Corea's Elektrik Band. 
Un Día de Noviembre is a beautiful, pensive ballad composed by Leo Brouwer.  
Jocosa Guajira is an intricate 6/8 that has come of the best bass passages in the album and also features Kelvis Ochoa on vocals.  
As someone to viscerally dislikes reguetón on general principles, this writer wanted to be able to dislike JazzTón, a jazz-regueton fusion.  However, if reguetón normally sounded like this, it might be tolerable to those who prefer music made by musicians who are actually playing and singing,
It is an interesting experiment that is greatly helped by the extra percussion not normally found in the genre.      
Sobre el Atelier in inspired by his grandfather's studio (his grandfather was a painter) and was composed in his parents' apartment over the studio. 
The New Orleans - Cuba conversation which began is the late 1800s had resumed in earnest in recent years before COVID-19 paused travel.   Van Van Meets New Orleans reflects this in a composition that is not based on any song in particular but captures the spirit both of Los Van Van's style  and the sounds of New Orleans.  There is one Juan Formell composition, El Buey Cansao, which was a dance hit in the early 1980s.  Harold's updated  version is much more elaborate and features Cimafunk, whose star as a funk artist is rising both in and out of Cuba, and who has also performed with several musicians from both places. Cansa'o means "tired",  and there is enough activity in this version of the song to render the title ironic. 
The piece de resistance of the album is Lila's Mambo, a tribute both to Emiliano Salvador and Harold's daughter Lila, who introduces the song.  
Te Lo Dije is highly recommended both for the virtuosity of the group, which would be reason enough, and an opportunity to view different forms of popular music through an advanced jazz lens. 

TRACKS

1. HABANA SIN SABANAS (Harold López-Nussa)
2. TE LO DIJE (Harold López-Nussa)
3. THE WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND  (Michael Legrand)
4. LILA'S MAMBO (Harold López-Nussa)
5. EL BUEY CANSAO (Juan Formell)
6. TIMBEANDO (to Chick Corea) (Harold López-Nussa)
7. UN DÍA DE NOVIEMBRE (Leo Brouwer)
8. JOCOSA GUAJIRA (Harold López-Nussa)
9. JAZZTÓN (Harold López-Nussa, Ruy Adrián López-Nussa, Randy Malcom Martínez Amey)
10. SOBRE EL ATELIER (Harold López-Nussa)
11.  VAN VAN MEETS NEW ORLEANS (Harold López-Nussa, Mayquel González)

CREDITS FOR TE LO DIJE

Role - InstrumentName
Piano, Keyboards, Background Vocals (2,4) Harold López-Nussa
Trumpet, Background Vocals (2,4) Mayquel González
Bass, Background Vocals (2,4) Julio César González
Drums, Percussion, Background Vocals (2,4) Ruy Adrián López-Nussa
Guest Artists 
Accordion  Vincent Pierani (3)
Voice  Cimafunk (5), Kelvis Ochoa (8), Randy Malcolm (9)
Additional Percussion José Julian Morejón (9), Randy Malcolm (Timbales 9)
Trombone Heikel Fabián Trimiño (9)
Additional Keyboards  Jorge Aragón (9)
Technical Credits
Producer Harold López-Nussa 
Executive Producer Gretchen Valade 
Recording Engineers  Olimpia Calderón, Estudios Ojalá, Havana, Cuba; additional recording of Randy Malcolm and Kelvis Ochoa by Miguel Angel Barzagas at MB Sounds, Havana, Cuba
Mix Engineers  Alfonso Peña at π Professional Audio; Mixing of JazzTón & "El Buey Cansao"by QMILLION, Los Angeles, CA
Mastering Engineer  Alfonso Peña at π Professional Audio
Bill Tilford - Sunday, 04 October 2020, 05:04 PM