|CD||Giraldo Piloto y Klimax||
Mis 21 Años - (Dreadlocks Music/EGREM) Released 2016
ENGLISH: Mis 21 Años, which celebrates 21 years of Klimax, is a collection of new arrangements of several great selections from different musical periods of the group. The album uses a stellar collection of guest artists, and in addition to some Klimax-caliber Timba, it includes a couple of beautiful boleros. Mis 21 Años was awarded the Premio Cubadisco in 2017 in the Música Popular Bailable - Maestros category. Mr. Piloto still believes in Timba, and it shows here.
Mr. Many Moons - (Independent)
This independent recording, nominated for a Cubadisco award in the Jazz category, may not be released yet. We review it here for the sake of completeness. Musically, it is quite good, with most of it being Hard Bop and similar styles.
Musae - (Dafnison Music) Released 2012.09.04
Roman Filiu is part of the colony of cutting-edge Cuban Jazz artists who settled in New York. This straight-ahead Jazz project won the prize for Jazz in Cubadisco 2013.
My Secret Radio - (Sony Masterworks) Released 2011
Tiempo Libre returns to its dance music roots with a mixture of Timba and some of the North American Soul, Jazz and other dance music styles that the members listened to while still living on the island.
New Cuban Express - (Mavo Records) Released 2012
This album was nominated for a GRAMMY in the Latin Jazz category in 2012 and is one of the most exciting and inventive recordings of Latin Jazz in many years.
New Day - (Jazz Village) - Released 2013.10.08
Harold López-Nussa's newest album, New Day, brings more beautiful songwriting and virtuosic performing from this rising young member of the illustrious López-Nussa family.
New Throned King - (5Passion) - Released 2014
Nominated for both a GRAMMY (Best Latin Jazz Album 2015) and a Cubadisco Jazz Cubano 2015), New Throned King is a sublime blend of Arará cantos and Jazz. This is a heady brew indeed.
|CD||Yasser Ramos y 9 Milímetros||
Ni antes ni después (EGREM) July 2017
With his second full-length album -"Ni antes, ni después" - Yasser Ramos has begun to really find the direction of his new project. Keywords to describe this album are tumbao, groove, sabrosura, bailable, and great horns.
No Pares - (Independent Release) Released 2012.12.05
"No Pares" is Leslie Cartaya's debut solo project. Many listeners know of her work with Miami's Afro-Cuban Funk band Palo!; her solo project features her in a wide range of styles and genres from the traditional to the now. This has been nominated for the Best New Artist Category in the 14th Latin GRAMMY Awards
|CD||Septeto Santiaguero & José Alberto El Canario||
No Quíero Llanto -Tributo a Los Compadres
An exciting 2-CD release by Septeto Santiaguero, José Alberto "El Canario" and an impressive supporting cast - practically an extravaganza of Son. The final result is quite distinctive while respecting the traditions and remaining authentic.
|CD||Digna Guerra y Coro Entrevoces||
Oh Yes! - (Colibrí) Released 2015
This 2015 Cubadisco winner (Grand Prize and Choral Music) is a album of Negro Spirituals in English. Surprised? Don't be. This has been going on for quite a while in Cuba, it just managed to stay off a lot of North American radar screens until now.
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.
Pa' que se entere La Habana - (Inspector de la Salsa) - Released 1995
By 1995 Charanga Habanera and their second album, Hey You Loca, had become a major sensation in Havana. Their concerts were packed with young "Charangueros" who danced and dressed as they did and knew all of their songs, each of which became, in rapid succession, a huge radio hit. With the band's popularity reaching "mania" proportions....
|CD||Pacific Mambo Orchestra||
Pacific Mambo Orchestra - (Independent Release) Released 2012
Well-done big band Mambo from a rising band based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Firmly based in tradition but with some modern touches as well.
|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.
Palo! Live (Rolling Pin Music) Released 2014
This is a recording of a phenomenal concert by Palo! at the now-shuttered PAX Miami. Some video clips of this performance also appear in the PBS documentary Miami Boheme. Powerful vocals by Leslie Cartaya, serious Afro Cuban Funk beats, and Ed Calle goes insane on tenor sax.
Panamericano - (Universal) Released June 30, 2015
Timberos, it appears that Tiempo Libre really, really, really wants you back. That's b-a-c-k, NOT b-a-c-h. They are getting back to their origins at the very moment when some other Timba bands are running away from theirs for the promise of somethingorother. Exhibit A is the first video inside...
Parafrasear - (EGREM) Released 2014
Parafrasear by Frasis is a mostly-instrumental album of Cuban popular music by a Fusion group in Cuba centered about a string quartet and a rhythm section. Before you scoff, consider that in Finland, Apocalyptica is performing some very entertaining Heavy Metal with cellos. It works if you know what you're doing, and Frasis does.
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.
Pasaporte - (Colibri) Released 2012
Winner of the Cubadisco award for Popular Dance Music in 2013, Pasaporte is Timba (or Cuban Salsa if you prefer) at its very best.
Pentajazz - (Independent Release)
Pentajazz is an intriguing independent release by one of the best Jazz violinists in Cuba today, Julio Valdés Fuentes. It includes a few of the heavy hitters in the current Jazz scene in La Habana.
Perspectiva -(Independent) - Released March 2018
ENGLISH: Perspectiva is the auspicious (and audacious) debut album by one of the winners of JoJazz 2017, Marcos Morales. Mature beyond the years of its protagonists, Perspectiva provides the listener with an excellent panorama of many current trends in Jazz in Cuba.
Piano & Rhythm
Highly accomplished and acclaimed pianist Michael Eckroth offers up his most recent recording as a leader entitled Piano & Rhythm. Both a "nod to the piano masters of the past as well as a showcase for Eckroth’s own identity as a composer", this is an exquisitely recorded and performed album from top to bottom.
Planeta Planetario - (EGREM) Released 2014
Planeta Planetario features Diana Fuentes, an excellent vocalist, in a few different Pop music styles. It should be noted that the term "Pop" (as opposed to Nueva Trova) applies to music more or less similar to the rest of the world's use of the term.
|CD||Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla||
Pure Mezcla - (Tilford Productions) Released February 2015
Pure Mezcla is a live recording by Pablo Menéndez and Mezcla, recorded live at Yoshi's Oakland in 2013 and released in February 2015. Several critics and a battallion of Latin Jazz and World Music DJs love it. Since one TIMBA.com member produced it (Bill Tilford) and another mastered it (Michael Lazarus), we'll let those other critics tell you how good it is.
Quatro: The Definitive Collection - (Sony Music Latin) Released 2012
Tito Puente, while not Cuban himself, always made it perfectly clear that the music that he played was of Cuban origins. This 5-CD retrospective includes some of the best of his more Jazz-oriented work along with some of his greatest dance hits.
Que líndo es el amor - (Independent) - Released 2013
Interactivo's latest release puts a heavy emphasis on Funk, R & B and modern Cuban dance music, and it brings the roster of musicians to make it all work. The best of a series of excellent releases by this group, and - a bonus- even those who live in the United States can buy it on-line. Winner of the Fusion category in Cubadisco 2014.
Que no me controlen - (Ahí Namá) - Released 2014
JG's second album has has a contemporary, upbeat sound that epitomizes Cuba's youth culture. I highly recommend it for dancers and DJs. Put this on at parties and watch the dance floor fill up!
Que No Pare La Fiesta - (Independent Release) Released 2011
Shhh, don't tell anybody, but this "Progressive Salsa" band in LA plays some very good Songo and Timba too. We wouldn't want some of the "I don't like Timba" people currently dancing to this to freak out...
|CD||Manhattan School of Music Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra||
Que Viva Harlem
Bobby Sanabria and the Manhattan School of Music Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra hit it out of the park again with Que Viva Harlem, a relentlessly swinging tribute to New York's Golden Age.
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.
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.
|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.
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||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.
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.
|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.
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.
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.
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.