Reviews

Type Artist Product Date Author
CD Los Hermanos Colón Los Hermanos Colón Jpeg Sabor Colón

This 2014 release employs all the tried and true formulas that have made New York salsa great since the beginning, proving once again that one can’t go wrong with concise arrangements and A-list musicians. Each part fits together like a well-designed piece of architecture with every detail accounted for and nothing left out of place.

06/13/2014 Ian Stewart
CD Leyendas.com Sabroseandosmall Sabroseando - (Unicornio/Producciones Abdala) 2017

ENGLISH: Nominated in the Traditional Popular Music (later Conjuntos & Other Formats) category in Cubadisco 2017, Sabroseando by Leyendas.com is an impressive and enjoyable collection of sones and boleros. Highly recommended for fans of the part of the music spectrum popularized by groups like Rumbavana.
ESPAÑOL: Nominado en la categoría Música Popular Tradicional (convertido en Conjuntos y Otros Formatos) en Cubadisco 2017, Sabroseando por Leyendos.com es una colección impresionante y disfrutable de sones y boleros. Muy recomendable a los fanes de la parte del espectro musical popularizado por grupos como Rumbavana.

07/09/2017 Bill Tilford
CD/DVD Ernán López-Nussa Sacrilegiolargesmall 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.

06/01/2014 Bill Tilford
CD Marlow Rosado Salsanimal_marlowrosadosmall Salsanimal (Big Label Records) Released July 2014

Salsanimal is GRAMMY-winner Marlow Rosado's newest Salsa album. Once again, there is a distinguished supporting cast (including Mayito Rivera on one track and Larry Harlow & Richie Ray on another). Stands above so much of the industrial Salsa product that is coming out this days.

06/22/2014 Bill Tilford
CD Brian Andres Sf-cd-cover-300small San Francisco - (Bacalao Records) Released 2013

The Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel returns with a new release that represents some of the best of the California school of Latin Jazz.

08/25/2013 Bill Tilford
CD Melvis Santa Santahabanasmall Santa Habana -(Bis) Released 2012

Santa Habana is a project that features Melvis Santa's compositions and draws heavily from her colleagues in Interactivo (of which she was a member) and German Velazco, Telmary, Rumberos de Cuba and others. She was also a founding member of Sexto Sentido, and this recording helps reassure us that intelligent new music is still being made in Cuba even after incorporating influences from the US that could have proven unhealthy.

04/22/2015 Bill Tilford
CD Laritza Bacallao Laritzacover-icon Sólo se vive una vez - (Planet Records) Released 2014

The songs have the simplicity of merengue with the intensity of electronica, making it tempting and easy for even the most left-footed to dance along. It will appeal to the younger crowd and fans of that illusive Tropical genre.

07/12/2015 Michelle White
Concert Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Scenesfromlifesmall 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.

11/18/2015 Bill Tilford
CD David Calzado & Charanga Habanera Charanga_habanera_-_se_sufre_pero_se_goza_frontsmall Se Sufre Pero Se Goza - (EGREM) Released 2013.11.09

Charanga Habanera returns with a rousing Timba album that should appeal to its original fan base.

01/11/2014 Bill Tilford
CD Manuel Valera Manuelvalera_selfportrait Self Portrait (Mavo Records) - Released June 2014

Manuel Valera's formidable range of musical influences, his uncanny sense of swing in any meter and the emotional depth of his compositions combine to make Self Portrait full of a sense of wonder that listeners who enjoy any form of advanced music will find irresistible. This is every bit as distinctive among solo piano recordings as the New Cuban Express releases are among ensemble projects. This album brings more of his classical influences to light but still has plenty of Jazz.

05/30/2014 Bill Tilford
CD Omar Sosa Cover_senses Senses - (Ota Records) Released 2014.01.14

Omar Sosa's sixth solo piano CD is one of his most meditative, uses a concert grand piano and may also be of interest to Classical music listeners who are unfamiliar with his work.

01/11/2014 Bill Tilford
CD El Noro y Primera Clase Sinescalasmall Sin Escala - (Unicornio) Released 2015

Winner of the Música Bailable - Nuevos Talentos category in Cubadisco 2016, El Noro's debut solo album delivers. A tasty mix of retro and current touches.

07/03/2016 Bill Tilford
CD Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco Manolito_portada_sin_frenosmall Sin Freno - (Bis Music) Released 2013

Those of you who have been mourning the fact that the 80s and 90s are over can stop now. Sin Freno is a knock-you-flat-on-your-arse Timba recording (with one stray concession to the bachateros) that easily holds its own with anything we old-timers remember from our own versions of the "Golden Age".

05/01/2014 Bill Tilford
CD Pupy & Los Que Son Son Sin_limite_small Sin Líimite - (EGREM) Released 2013

Sin Límite, his latest release on EGREM, is one of Pupy's most innovative albums, full of stylistic twists and turns that you wouldn't normally expect in a recording that still contains some great timba.

04/20/2014 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 Buena Fe Icon-sobreviviente Sobreviviente (EGREM) Released 3 March 2017

“Sobreviviente” is quintessential Buena Fe – brains and beauty. Winner of the Grand Prize at Cubadisco 2017 as well as Best Fusion Album, this CD is highly recommended for fans of intelligent, beautiful music.

03/03/2017 Michelle White
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 Gerardo Contino Jpeg Somos Latinos

Former NG La Banda vocalist Gerardo Contino brings his band of A-list musicians into the studio to create his first solo album. The result is an explosive Timba paragon with state of the art instrumental work throughout.

06/16/2014 Ian Stewart
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
CD Sierra Maestra Sonandoyajpegsmall Sonando Ya - (World Village) Released 2010

This recording by one of Cuba's most prominent Son bands was nominated for a Latin GRAMMY in 2010 and includes a nice mix of different tempos.

01/12/2012 Bill Tilford
CD Buena Fe Icon-soy Soy (EGREM) 2015

"Soy" is a great introductory album if you want to introduce new fans to some of Buena Fe's biggest hits but the three new songs also give the long term fans something new.

06/30/2017 Michelle White
CD Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates Troubadours Spirit_warriorsmall Spirit Warrior - (Picaro Records) Released 2015

Trombonist/Composer/Bandleader Papo Vazquez has been experimenting with Bomba Jazz, which incorporates Puerto Rican Bomba and Plena with Hard Bop, since the 1980s. The mature results are VERY impressive.

06/28/2015 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 Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra Offensedrumsmall The Offense of the Drum (Motema) - Released May 2014

If one had to pick one album that captures the diversity of Latin Jazz in a way that will make you want to explore all of it, this would be it. A singular achievement.

12/11/2014 Bill Tilford
Concert Various Artists Fcblogmainweb1small 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.

08/08/2012 Bill Tilford
CD/DVD Manolin El Medico de la Salsa Tiene-que-ser-manolinsmall Tiene Que Ser Manolin - (Xplosion Entertainment) Released 2012

Manolin does a little bit of everything here, and different tracks may appeal to different listeners.

03/24/2013 Bill Tilford
CD Yosvany Terry Todaysopinionwebsmall Today's Opinion - (Criss Cross) Released 2012

Today's Opinion by Yosvany Terry won the Cubadisco award in 2013 for Jazz Cubano. Yosvany is a key figure in the colony of cutting-edge Cuban Jazz artists now based in New York.

05/20/2013 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
CD Orlando Valle "Maraca" Todoonadasmaller Todo o Nada - (Independent) Released 2013

Maraca got the need to do dance material out of his system with another recording released at roughly the same time, "¡Suspendan Los Comentarios!". "Todo o Nada" is as seriously focused on Jazz (including some straight ahead as well as Latin) as the other recording is on dance music.

01/06/2014 Bill Tilford
DVD Pablo Menéndez Mezclagraphicsmall 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.

01/08/2014 Bill Tilford
CD Various Artists Tonadas_campesinassmall Tonadas Campesinas - (Colibrí) - Released 2013

This imprerssive three-volume set of field recordings of tonadas, a form of campesino music, includes a video documentary and extensive musicological notes. It was awarded the Cubadisco for Folkloric Campesino Music in 2014 and was also nominated in multiple other categories.

08/05/2014 Bill Tilford
CD Ernesto Vega Tradbeyondsmall 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
ESPAÑOL: Tradition and Beyond, el nuevo lanzamiento del virtuoso de clarinete y compositor Ernesto Vega con unos de las mejores jovenes estrellas de Jazz en Cuba, es un tributo jazzistico sencillo con composiciones originales a algunos de los músicos a que Ernesto escuchaba en su infancia y juventud.

09/22/2019 BIll Tilford
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 Charanga Habanera Ch_td_front Tremendo Delirio - (Inspector de la Salsa) - Released 1997

By 1997, the Timba scene in Havana had reached the flash point. The innovations of NG La Banda and Charanga Habanera had been embraced and assimilated by a new generation of musicians and an exciting array of new groups had emerged... In the heady days of 1997, Timba was surging forward with dizzying momentum, and in the eye of that storm, in an atmosphere of tremendo delirio, the original Charanga Habanera released their eagerly-anticipated fourth album. Neither they nor anyone else would have dreamed that it would also be their last.

05/28/2002 Kevin Moore
CD Chucho Valdés Chuchoirakereportadasmall Tribute to Irakere [Live in Marciac] (Jazz Village) - Released 2015

This may not be exactly what many of us would have imagined for an Irakere anniversary tribute, but who would have imagined the original once upon a time? Faithful to the spirit and as riveting as the original. If Irakere had still existed today as a regular band, it might very well have sounded like this. New generations of virtuosos are at work here.
UPDATE: Winner of the 2016 GRAMMY for Latin Jazz

11/03/2015 Bill Tilford
CD TRIO ON Trioonsmall TRIO ON - (Big Music Jazz) Released 2014

This intense trio recording was nominated for a Cubadisco 2015 award in the Jazz category. The liner notes shout out to Miles and Trane, Woody Shaw and Wayne Shorter, and they are undoubtedly important influences, but some of Dave Holland's small combo work might be a better example of the part of the spectrum this inhabits.

07/06/2015 BIll TIlford
CD Cuban Salsa All Stars Tumbabailasmall Tumbao pal bailador - (Cubamusic) Released 2012

A "Cuban Salsa All Star" project with a massive cast of musicians including Betty y su Proyecto Tiempo, Lesmer Solenzar, Laritza Bacallao, Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor, Alexander Abreu, Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco, El Indio, Tania Pantoja and Pedrito Calvo.

05/10/2013 Bill Tilford
CD Septeto Santiaguero Septsantsmall Vamos pa' la fiesta - (Picap) Released 2012

This recording by one of Cuba's best son bands features an impressive international collection of guest singers and was awarded a Cubadisco award in Traditional Tropical Music in 2013.

05/19/2013 Bill Tilford
DVD Juan Formell y Los Van Van Vanvan40lsmalljpg 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.

01/16/2014 Bill Tilford
CD/DVD Various Artists Veinte-pianossmall 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.

01/19/2014 Bill Tilford