Reseñas

Type Artist Product Date Author
CD/DVD Alaín Daniel Trayectosmall 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.

04/10/2016 Bill Tilford
CD Ivan Acosta y su Grupo De Cuba Somos Ivanacostadecubasomossmall Cubaniando

A not-yet-released recording by one of Santiago de Cuba's best Jazz bands. Ivan Acosta's Grupo de Cuba Somos is one of the mainstays of the small but vibrant Jazz scene in Santiago. Review includes photos and links to an interview.

03/17/2016 Bill Tilford
CD Alfredo De La Fe Sinlimitessmall Sin Limites - (No Borders Entertainment) Released 2013.04.29

Alfredo de la Fe's new collaborative release with Rodry-Go mixes Charanga with multiple other styles and manages for the most part to do so successfully.

08/25/2013 Bill Tilford
CD Michael Eckroth Piano_and_rhythm 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.

03/16/2016 Ian Stewart
CD Chuchito Valdés & Eddy Navia Chuchitovaldesyeddynaviathumb Carnaval En Piano Charango - (Sukay/Pachamama) Released 2013.05.27

This is an innovative blending of Chuchito's Afro-Cuban and Jazz background with Eddy Navia's background in Andean folkloric music. The strongest ingredients in the mix are Andean, but the Cuban influences are unmistakable, and the final result is beautiful.

10/16/2013 Bill TIlford
CD Elito Revé y su Charangón La_aplanadora_de_cubasmall La Aplanadora de Cuba - (Bis Music) Released 2014

Another exciting Changüi released by Revé. An aplanadora is a steamroller, and this is one, in a good way, for good dancers. Drink plenty of fluids before starting to listen to this.

04/13/2015 Bill Tilford
CD Frank Emilio Frankemiliosmall Concierto de Frank Emilio -(EGREM)-

This excellent 1978 live concert was nominated for a Cubadisco in 2014 in the Música de archivo category. Part of EGREM's Cuba En Vivo series

08/06/2014 Bill Tilford
CD Augusto Enríquez Tedoyunacancionsmall Te doy una canción - (Colibrí) - Released 2013

This 3-CD set, which includes a short video documentary in one CD, is a Special Prize winner in Cubadisco 2014 and is a collection of Silvio Rodríguez compositions interpreted in various instrumental settings by Augusto Enríquez. More musically diverse than this writer was expecting when he first opened the package, and put together quite well.

05/08/2014 Bill Tilford
CD/DVD Estado de ánimo Estadodeanimosmall 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.

07/06/2015 Bill Tilford
CD Alejandro Falcon Claroscurosmall Claroscuro - (Cinquillo/Colibri) Released 2012

This 2013 Cubadisco winner in the Ópera Prima category (similar to Best New Artist in other countries) combines a variety of influences from Cuban music, Jazz and Funk. It's a Cuban Jazz album, but there are some Funk moments that will knock your socks off too.

01/10/2014 Bill Tilford
CD/DVD Alejandro Falcon Alejandrofalcon_copysmall 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)

06/09/2015 Bill Tilford
CD Pedro Luis Ferrer Pedroluisferrer_albumcovesmallr Final (Escondida Music) Released 2014.03.25

Final almost certainly is not Pedro Luis Ferrer's final album, but it is a great album to put on during a quiet weekend morning with a loved one.

04/01/2014 Bill Tilford
CD Roman Filiu Musaesmall 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.

05/23/2013 Bill Tilford
CD Roberto Fonseca Roberto-fonseca-yosmall Yo - (Jazz Village) Released 2012

This recording won the Cubadisco 2013 awards for Fusion and Recording (an engineering award), and it contains a potent mix of multiple genres.

05/23/2013 Bill Tilford
CD Alberto Lescay & FORMAS Escapesmall Escape (EGREM 2018) Released June 1, 2018

ENGLISH: Escape is the debut album of Alberto Lescay & FORMAS, a group that represents the best of the best of the NuJazz movement in Cuba. If you have been worried about the future of music in Cuba, this album is an instant cure.
ESPAÑOL: Escape es el álbum debut de Alberto Lescay & FORMAS, un grupo que representa lo mejor de lo mejor del movimiento NuJazz en Cuba. Si estuviera preocupado por el futuro de la música en Cuba, este álbum sería una cura instantánea.

06/03/2018 Bill Tilford
CD Frasis Parafrasissmall 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.

10/21/2015 Bill Tilford
CD Diana Fuentes Planetaplasmall 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.

06/25/2015 Bill Tilford
CD César López & Habana Ensemble Sonajerosmall Sonajero - (EGREM) released 2015

This new album by César López & Habana Ensemble is one of their best yet, and César, an alumnus of a later edition of Irakere, is putting out work that deserves a similar level of attention.

01/28/2016 Bill Tilford
DVD Ernesto Vega & Harold López-Nussa Portada_dvd_duosmall Dúo- (Colibrí) Released 2014

Dúo is a wonderful live performance film of a concert in 2012 by Ernesto Vega and Harold López-Nussa. The music and the productions values were both superb, and it is a special accomplishment to perform this well as a Jazz duet. Great chemistry here. Dúo was nominated for Cubadisco 2015 awards for Audiovisual Concert and Live Recording.

06/14/2015 Bill Tilford
CD Havana d'Primera Pasaportewebfront3small 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.

05/19/2013 Bill Tilford
Concert Havana d'Primera Hdpsmall 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.

08/09/2014 Bill Tilford
CD Alexander Abreu Havana D'Primera Vueltalmundo La vuelta al mundo (Pafata/Sello Unicornio) - Released 2015

HDP goes after new listeners here - there is still some Timba, but also a lot more Salsa Cubana that will be danceable by non-Cubans. Musically excellent, and it has a Grand Prize in Cubadisco along with the award for Música Popular Bailable - Maestros to show for it. Will it reach the new ears for which it is intended? Time will tell.

06/08/2015 Bill Tilford
Concert Havana D'Primera Icon_-alexander 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.

10/27/2017 Michelle White
CD Hermanos Arango Benditasmall Bendita Guanabacoa

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.
ESPAÑOL: La familia Arango ha sido una fuerza gigante en Rumba, Jazz cubano, Folclore afrocubano y Timba hace décadas. Bendita Guanabacoa por Hermanos Arango, nominado para un Cubadisco en 2019, lo reúne todo en una nueva grabación maravillosa que contiene sorpresas genuinas incluso para oídos bien formados.

09/22/2019 Bill Tilford
CD Gabriel Hernández Mrmanymoonssmall 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.

04/10/2016 Bill Tilford
CD/DVD Michel Herrera Madre_tierra 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.

08/03/2014 Bill Tilford
CD/DVD Ruly Herrera Maltiemposmall 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.

06/08/2015 Bill Tilford
CD Liuba María Hevia 937-liuba-ma-hevia-coleccion-30-anos Colección 30 años (Bis Music) Released 2013

This is an intriguing 8-CD box set covering 30 years of recordings by one of Cuba's best representatives of the Nueva Trova movement, Liuba María Hevia. It won a Special Prize in Cubadisco 2014.

03/23/2014 Bill Tilford
CD/DVD Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro Habanatienesuson_septetoignaciopineiro__1_small 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.

01/10/2014 Bill Tilford
CD Interactivo Interactivoqulindosmall 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.

06/03/2014 Bill Tilford
CD JG Jgcovelarger Empezar de cero - (EGREM) -Released 2011

This is the well-done debut Timba recording by a former member of Gente de Zona and includes some heavyweights like Alexander Abreu and Amaury Pérez in the brass section.

04/22/2014 Bill Tilford
CD JG Quenomecontrolen-icon 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!

06/19/2015 Michelle White
CD JG Jg-icon Hasta Que Salga El Sol - (Unicornio) - 2017/2018

El Dueño Del Party—JG Juan Guillermo—is back with another party-ready album. His trademark is timba and tropical/timba fusion with feel-good songs that embody the energy of youth. Highly recommended for anyone looking for something fresh.

05/07/2018 Michelle White
CD Germán Velazco & Jorge Reyes Duetto Duetto - (Bis Music) - Released 2011

This delightful musical conversation between saxophonist Germán Velazco and bassist Jorge Reyes won a Cubadisco award in the Instrumental Music category in 2012. Mandatory listening for bassists and saxophonists, recommended listening for everyone.

05/10/2014 Bill Tilford
CD El Septeto Santiaguero & José Alberto "El Canario" Portadasmall 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.
ESPAÑOL: El Septeto Santiaguero regresa con nueva colaboración con José Alberto "El Canario" y una lista impresionante de artistas invitados cubanos y extranjeros. Tradicional y innovador simultaneamente.

07/01/2018 Bill Tilford
Film Josué Joseph Lepocasmall La Época, Part I - The Palladium Era (2009) Directed by Josué Joseph

This film is a cinematic ode to the Palladium Era and the Mambo Craze in New York, a time before "Salsa" and simplified dance steps and rhythms took hold in the clubs. This film is not without its flaws but raises some good conversation topics including the degree of communication between dancers and bands then vs. now.

01/09/2012 Bill Tilford
Film Josue Joseph Laepoca2website2small La Época Part II: Lost Rhythms in Salsa (2012) Directed by Josué Joseph

Although this film has its imperfections, it is a valiant and earnest attempt to document and lament the loss of a number of distinct rhythms in the United States as a consequence of the "Salsa" marketing phenomenon.

01/16/2012 Bill Tilford
CD Gastón Joya Mamainares 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
ESPAÑOL: El primer álbum de bajista Gastón Joya lanzado en el mercardo, un proyecto en trio con invitados especiales, es ganador de la categoríá Jazz Solista en Cubadisco 2018.

10/14/2018 Bill Tilford
CD David Álvarez y Juego de Manos Juegodemanossmall Somos Cuba - (EGREM) Released 2014

Like the group's name, this album is deceptively basic. A good solid dance album, but while you think you are dancing guaguancó, for example, it sneaks up on you with Vallenato stylings and other odds and ends. Which won't stop you from dancing. This was nominated for a Cubadisco 2015 in the Música Popular Bailable -Maestros category.

07/02/2015 Bill Tilford
CD Klimax Todoestabiensmall Todo está bien - (Colibri) Released 2012

Nominated for a Cubadisco award in the Popular Dance Music category in 2013. In a different year when it would not have been competing with Pasaporte, it might have had an excellent chance of winning, musically speaking.

05/01/2013 Bill Tilford