Raíz - (EGREM) Released February 2017
This latest release by Septeto Santiaguero on EGREM greatly expands its collaborative scope including some Jazz musicians, a chorus and strings on a few tracks. There is still plenty of Son autentico here as well, and it swings despite the fact that projects this massive seldom do.
|CD||Everton Paul W/ Ruy López-Nussa & La Academia||
Remembrance -(Side Door Records) - Released 2012
I'm told that this very Cuban treatment of the music of Bob Marley drew a mixed reception from Reggae purists, but hey, it's not supposed to be an album of exact covers - it is a fusion of Cuban music and Reggae from a band that has the chops and arrangements to make it worthwhile. Get into Mr. Marley's frame of mind first, then listen - the band, Ruy López-Nussa and La Academia, and Everton "Pablo" Paul, the Jamaican lead singer, have put together a very intriguing album.
Ruy López-Nussa presenta La Academia -(Colibrí) 2015
This is not a revival of the music of the original Grupo Afrocuba, but fans of that group should go to the ends of the earth if necessary to find this music anyway. In many ways the sound is similar (not a big surprise since some of the same musicians are involved) , but La Academia is a step forward with deeper Afrocuban percussion fused with modern Cuban Jazz, Funk, Reggae and other music. The project is also designed to be educational for young people about percussion and rhythm in Cuban music. You probably can't buy this yet, but keep your eyes peeled. When this hits, it will turn heads. That shouldn't be too long since it was just nominated for a Cubadisco in the Jazz Cubano category.
Rolando Morales-Matos and Forward
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.
Reflections - (Music Roots Records) - Released 2014
Reflections, a new release by Chuchito Valdés, represents his most mature work to date as a composer and joins the ranks of some of the best recordings that have been emerging during the current Renaissance of Cuban Jazz, although this should be taken seriously as a Jazz recording with or without labels like "Cuban" or "Latin" attached.
|CD||Adalberto Alvarez y Su Son||
Respeto pa los mayores - (Bis Music) Released 2013
The style may be retro, and the lyrics may invoke tradition, but there's nothing old about the energy level. This is Adalberto's hardest-hitting album in decades. Take the energy from Son 14, augment the brass section, crank things up a couple of notches, and you're headed in the right direction.
Rafael Rosa - Portrait
Rafael Rosa is a Puerto Rico-born, New York residing guitarist who has been making a name for himself since arriving in NYC in 2011. His debut album “Portrait” consists entirely of original material and was produced by Rosa along with legendary bassist John Benítez. His line-up of musicians includes a nucleus of Rosa, Edmar Colón, Dan Martínez, Joel Mateo and Carlos Homs with special guests John Benítez, Kenny Werner, Jean-Michel Pilc, Michael Rodríguez, Melanie Lozano, Carlos Maldonado and Milton Barreto.
Renacer (Independent Release) Released 2014
This debut CD by Cuban-born singer-songwriter-keyboardist Alex Bia includes an explosive opening track with special guest Tirso Duarte. It isn't a Timba album (except for the first track), but the other styles that it contains (Salsa, Latin Pop/R & B) are solid.
Retro - (Pink Chaos) Released 2012
A tribute to the North American Salsa of the 70's that was played by groups like Eddie Palmieri's band, Retro won the GRAMMY for Best Tropical Latin Album in 2013.
|CD/DVD||Maraca & His Latin Jazz All Stars||
Reencuentros - (Independent Release 2011, EGREM 2012) Initial Release 2011
This Cuban Jazz recording by Maraca and a cast of supporting all stars received critical acclaim internationally including a glowing review by Downbeat in the United States.