|CD||El Septeto Santiaguero & José Alberto "El Canario"||
A mi qué - (EGREM) - Released 2018
ENGLISH: El Septeto Santiaguero is back with another collaboration with José Alberto "El Canario" and an impressive roster of both Cuban and foreign guest artists. Traditional and innovative simultaneously.
Mama Ina - (Unicornio) - Released 2018
ENGLISH: Bassist Gastón Joya's first commercially-released solo album, a trio project with some special guests, is the winner of the Jazz Soloist category in Cubadisco 2018
|CD||Formell y Los Van Van||
Legado - (EGREM) - Released 2017
ENGLISH: Legado, the latest by Formell y Los Van Van, is an exciting combination of material from the early days of the band with current compositions. It won a Special Prize in Cubadisco 2018 and as of this writing is also a nominee for Best Tropical Latin Album in this year's GRAMMY awards.
ENGLISH: The Arango Family has been a giant force in Rumba, Cuban Jazz, Afrocuban Folklore and Timba for decades. Bendita Guanabacoa by Hermanos Arango, nominated for a Cubadisco in 2019, brings it all together In a wonderful new recording that contains genuine surprises even for well-educated ears.
Tradition and Beyond
ENGLISH: Tradition and Beyond, the new release by clarinet virtuoso and composer Ernesto Vega with some of Cuba's best young Jazz stars, is a heartfelt Jazz tribute with original compositions to some of the musicians to which Ernesto listened in his youth
Vivencias en clave cubana (featuring Coco Freeman)
ENGLISH: VIVENCIAS EN CLAVE CUBANA is the exciting debut solo album of Kiki Valera, cuatrista of one of Cuba's most distinguished families of soneros, the Familia Valera Miranda. The album also features Coco Freeman whose resume includes lead vocalist for NG La Banda and Adalberto Álvarez y su Son."
ESPAÑOL: VIVENCIAS EN CLAVE CUBANA es el emocionante álbum debut en solitario de Kiki Valera, cuatrista de una de las familias de soneros más distinguidas de Cuba, la Familia Valera Miranda. El álbum también presenta a Coco Freeman, cuyo currículum incluye voz líder con NG La Banda y Adalberto Álvarez y su Son.
ENGLISH: El Viaje is Zule Guerra's first in-studio album, her previous releases being recordings of live performances. All of the compositions are hers, and with a stellar lineup of JoJazz winners plus Ernán López-Nussa's deft touch as producer, this is a thing of beauty.
Jazz Young Spirit (Series) (Colibrí) 2005- ?)
ENGLISH: The Jazz Young Spirit collection, released on Colibrí beginning in 2005, is among the crown jewels of Cuban jazz releases featuring young artists early in their careers. These are often their debut recordings.
La Esquina del Jazz (EGREM) 2019
ENGLISH: La Equina del Jazz is an audio memorial by the winners of the first improvisational jazz contest organized by the iconic radio program of the same name. An interesting collaboration of contest winners and established professionals, noteworthy also for its significant amount of North American style jazz standards.
Te Lo Dije (Mack Avenue) -released 2020
ENGLISH: In Te Lo Dije, Harold López-Nussa presents a bold jazz tribute to several genres of popular music, mostly but not exclusively Cuban, including a surprising jazz treatment of reggaeton in one track.
ESPAÑOL: En Te Lo Dije, Harold López-Nussa presenta un audaz homenaje jazzistico a varios géneros de la música popular, en su mayoría pero no exclusivamente cubana, que incluye un sorprendente tratamiento jazzístico del reguetón en un track.
Se llama sabroso (Ocho Music Group) 2021.03.07
ENGLISH: In a guest review by Mildred Gloria Aguilar Díaz written for Radio Cadena Habana and republished here, a look at a style called Changüi con flow by Zona Franka. A tasty mixture of traditional and urban Cuban music.
|07/25/2021||Mildred Gloria Aguilar Diáz|
|CD/DVD||Manolin El Medico de la Salsa||
Tiene Que Ser Manolin - (Xplosion Entertainment) Released 2012
Manolin does a little bit of everything here, and different tracks may appeal to different listeners.
|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.
Pas de Trois - (Colibri) Released 2009
This beautiful trio recording has Ernán at the grand piano and incorporates elements from much of the history of Cuban and US popular music and Jazz as well as his classical training. For those who only know of Ernán from his work with Afro-Cuban groups, this shows a different side of his talents.
|CD/DVD||Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro||
La Habana Tiene Su Son - (Bis) Released 2012
This distinctive CD/DVD set includes both live and studio recordings of the Septeto, an interview with musicologist Helio Orovio and liner notes that make this both an excellent musical production and a valuable historical document. Nominated in both the Latin GRAMMY awards and Cubadisco 2013.
Veinte Pianos - (Cinquillo/Colibri) Released 2011
Winner of the Grand Prize in Cubadisco 2012, this unique project features the music of Ernán López-Nussa in a way that also showcases the talent of some of Cuba's young generation of new pianists. The product also includes sheet music, a documentary, videos and a photo gallery with more than 3 hours of active content.
|CD/DVD||Los Hermanos Arango||
Los Hermanos Arango Y Las Estrellas del Folklor - (Bis Music) - Released 2011
This excellent folkloric fusion project won multiple Cubadisco awards in 2012 and is one of the best projects of its kind.
Sacrilegio - (Colibrí) Released 2014
Winner of 5 Cubadisco Awards (including the Grand Prize) in 2014, Sacrilegio is an extraordinary project by Ernán López-Nussa that may very well be the most ambitious blending of Jazz, Cuban and Classical music ever recorded by any artist to date.
Me dicen Cuba -(EGREM) Released 2014
You have probably already seen a piece of this due to the Havana D'Primera video clip that is all over the web, but that clip is part of a far larger, more ambitious project with a multitude of artists to be released to the general public in the months to come. This is a sneak preview of that project, which was awarded a Special Prize at Cubadisco 2014.
|CD/DVD||César López y Habana Ensemible||
César López & Habana Ensemble Live (Bis Music) - Released 2013
One of the very best Jazz combos in Cuba today in a CD/DVD combination package of a live concert in Havana in 2012. The music, audio and video are all superb. This was nominated for a Cubadisco in the Jazz Cubano category in 2014 and received a Cubadisco for best Live Recording.
Madre Tierra - (Colibrí) - Released 2013
This extraordinary Jazz recording would be remarkable in any country and represents the best of the youth movement in today's Cuban Jazz. It was nominated for multiple Cubadisco 2014 awards - Jazz, Audiovisual Concert, CD/DVD, Video Clip, Making of, and Liner Notes. It won the Audiovisual Concert category.
Identidad - (Bis Music) - Released 2012
Identidad was awarded a Cubadisco in the Documentary category in 2014. The CD portion of this CD/DVD combination includes reissues of two fascinating recordings (homenajes and Travesía) by Sergio Vitier, who was one of the key members of GES (Grupo de Experimentacion Sonora del ICAIC) before it disbanded. Indeed, these recordings, while all his own compositions, are reminiscent of some of the best work of that group.
Mal Tiempo - (Colibri) Released 2015
This Cubadisco 2015 winner (Jazz and Making of) fits perfectly in the part of the musical spectrum occupied by bands like the Yellowjackets, Weather Report, the Chick Corea Electric Band and some of Herbie Hancock's work. Very electric in more ways than one.
Cuba Now Danzón - (Colibrí) 2015
Cuba Now Danzon updates the Danzon with some modern touches, innovative arrangements (especially with brass) and a first-tier cast of musicians. It won Cubadisco 2015 awards for Instrumental Music and Recording (a technical category)
|CD/DVD||Luis Barberíá feat Sexto Sentido||
A Full - (EGREM) Released 2014
WInner of the Cubadisco 2015 in Fusion and a nominee in the Making Of category, A Full is not at all awful - pleasant, laid back, with some light R & B stylings courtesy Sexto Sentido's angelic voices. I would much rather hear this on the guagua than what many of the drivers are blasting.
Amnios 1407 - (Colibri) Released 2009
Better late than never dept: This came out long before we had a reviews section, but this Cubadisco 2010 winner for Jazz and Recording (and part of Colibrí's The Jazz Young Spirit Collection) is Mr. Manzano's first recording as sole leader and quite simply one of the best recordings of Jazz in Cuba ever made, so it would be a sin not to write about it here.
|CD/DVD||Estado de ánimo||
Estado de ánimo - (Cinquillo/Colibrí) Released 2014
This is like finding buried treasure - the best of an extraordinary Jazz/Fusion concert from the 1990s comes back to life. If you live outside of Cuba, you may not know about Estado de ánimo, but its members - Ruy López-Nussa, Roberto Carcassés, Elmer Ferrer and Descemer Bueno - made some of the best Cuban music of the decade together. Nominated for Cubadisco 2015 awards in Jazz and Musical Documentary.
|CD/DVD||Zule Guerra & Blues de Habana||
Blues de Habana - (EGREM) released 2015
This is the VERY impressive debut release by Zule Guerra & Blues de Habana, a relatively new presence in the Nu Jazz scene that is beginning to flower in Cuba. Yasek Manzano and Bobby Carcassés add additional firepower to an already formidable group. This hasn't really hit the US yet, but when it does it may make some waves.
Trayecto - (Ahí Nama) Released 2014
This 2015 Cubadisco nominee (Música Popular Bailable, Novedades) has not been officially released yet, but it is musically quite good.
Mirando al futuro from Havana jazz
ENGLISH: Mirando al futuro from Havana Jazz is an eloquent musical defense both of the quality of Cuban jazz generally and its rightful place of honor Cuba's musical culture specifically. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the right album is worth ten thousand where music is concerned. This is one of those albums.
Third Annual Festival Cubano in Chicago Illinois August 4-5 2012
The third edition of Chicago's new Cuban cultural festival shows continued progress and improvement, and there are opportunities for even more.
Mezcla - Live in Chicago 2013.06.29
Mezcla's tours in the U.S. have been limited to a few cities, it would be
Calle Real at El Palacio Real (Stockholm) - 2013.09.15
Back after a six month hiatus, Calle Real performed two hot sets for dedicated fans who braved the autumn rain in Stockholm and were rewarded with two new songs.
|Concert||Pacific Mambo Orchestra||
Pacific Mambo Orchestra - Concert in Gary Indiana - 26 October 2013
So many high-caliber bands are putting on good concerts these days that it is worth noting when one of them goes the extra mile and puts on a real Show (if you don't get the difference, that means you've never seen the latter). PMO did that in Gary, Indiana to help kick off their national tour.
Orquesta Aragon in Chicago 2014
Orquesta Aragón returned to Chicago after an absence of more than a decade for two shows at the Mayne Stage in Chicago. The venue was full and enthusiastic for their swinging performances.
Havana d'Primera at Logan Square Auditorium
This is a great band, and it should have been a great show, but the apparent indifference to production values on the part of the presenter led to an epic battle between the band and a hostile acoustic setting and sound system. The band fought bravely to the very end, but only moments of clear music emerged from the muddled audio, and were it not for the fact that the audience was composed almost completely of hard core fans who were happy to even see their faces, the evening could easily have been a disaster.
|Concert||Chicago Jazz Philharmonic||
Scenes From Life: Cuba!
An excellent collaboration between the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and ISA. Hopefully this will evolve into an expanded, continuous exchange between the musical communities of Chicago and Havana.
HdP @Kraken - Stockholm
The band played impeccably reminding me what an awe-inspiring experience it is to see one of Cuba's greatest bands live.
Todos Estrellas del Jazz Cubano - (Cinquillo/Colibri) Released 2013
If you think you know everything there is to know about Pablo Menéndez from his past recordings with Mezcla, think again - this intense Jazz DVD not only shows sides of him that you may not know, but it will radically change your perceptions of the current Jazz scene in Cuba as well.
|DVD||Juan Formell y Los Van Van||
Van Van 40 - (Unicornio) Released 2012
This DVD, which was nominated for a Cubadisco in 2013 in the live recording category, includes a 2006 40th Anniversary concert, extra footage of interviews and conversations, English subtitles in the spoken parts of the film, and some video and photo footage of the beginnings of Los Van Van.