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.
70 Americas - (Colibrí) Released 2014
The original Orquesta América was the cradle of the chachachá, and the Cuban version (it's complicated, there are offspring in Mexico and the US) of this fine charanga orchestra celebrated its 70th Anniversary in 2012. 70 Americas won Cubadisco 2015 awards for Miscellaneous Traditional and Liner Notes for this new recording by a younger generation of members.
|CD||Orquesta el Macabeo||
Lluvia Con Sol - (Discos de Hoy) Released 2013.06.07
(Reviewed for our "Nuestros Primos Musicales" section) One of Puerto Rico's most innovative young Salsa bands returns with new targets and solid music.
Introducing Marialy Pacheco - (Neu Klang) Released 2014
A trio album with a subtle intensity by Marialy Pacheco, a Cuban pianist/composer now based in Germany. . The original compositions are the highlights of the recording.
|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.
Hablando con Juana - (Bis Music) Released 2014
Alain Pérez's 4th album (and his first for a Cuban label) is a very well put together special project - a solid dance album, part TImba, part Salsa Cubana, part ballad, all quite good. It was nominated for a Cubadisco 2015 in the category Música Popular Bailable - Novedades, "novedades" being relative here. Some of it has an early NG La Banda vibe.
Eleven (Big Label Records) Released August 2014
Rising percussionist Daniel Peña's debut solo album, Eleven, a Latin Jazz project, includes cameo appearances from the likes of Tito Puente Jr. Richie Ray and Marlow Rosado along with very well-crafted arrangements and considerable drive.
|CD||El Noro y Primera Clase||
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.
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.
Dactilar - (Cinquillo/Colibrí) 2015
The debut album by Cuban Jazz guitarist Hector Quintana, who is equally at home with Cuban and North American Jazz styles. Nominated for a Cubadisco 2015 in the Jazz category. Special bonuses are his pianists Jorge Aragon and Alejandro Falcon, and his drummer, Yissy Garcia, whom you are guaranteed to get to know a lot better in the future.
Viva Qva Libre (Bis Music) Released 2011
Qva Libre is one of Cuba's best alternative bands and will especially appeal to fans of groups like Interactivo. Viva Cuba Libre is their second album, which won Cubadisco (fusion) and Cuerda Viva awards in 2011.
La Canción Cubana - (Cinquillo/Colibri) Released 2012
This remarkable trilogy, a multiple award winner (including the Grand Prize) in Cubadisco 2013 and a Latin GRAMMY nominee the same year, spans eight decades of the Cuban songbook and illuminates the material in beautiful ways.
Alma de sonero - (Connector Records) Released 11/06/2013
Mayito’s familiar voice is the perfect vehicle to introduce a new generation
Dreaming (Colibrí) Released 2012
This swinging album by William Roblejo is relatively unique for Cuba - a Jazz violin soloist carrying the entire recording with a variety of stylistic influences. Deservedly nominated in three categories in Cubadisco 2013.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Caminos Abiertos -(EGREM) Released 2015
Caminos Abiertos is the stunning debut album of trombonist/bandleader/composer/arranger Eduardo Sandoval, who has nearly cured my years-long period of mourning over our loss of Juan Pablo Torres with this new release.
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.
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.
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||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/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.
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.
|CD||Soneros All Stars||
Lolo - (Soneros Records) Released 2014.03.26
Yanesito has hit this one out of the ballpark!
|CD||Soneros All Stars||
El Que Corta El Bacalao (Soneros Records) Released 25 January 2017
With "El Que Corta El Bacalao" Yanesito has set the bar high, releasing what will be one of the best albums of for Timba 2017.
Eggun - (OTA Records) Released 2013.02.01
An ingenious Afro-Cuban tribute to, but NOT a cover of, Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. Miles was here, but this recording is very much Omar's.
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.
ilé (Otá Records) Released March 10, 2015
ilé brings Omar Sosa closer to his Afro Cuban roots including guest appearances by Pedrito Martínez, Yosvany Terry and "Don Pancho" Terry, but there is also a heady mix of Flamenco elements, Jazz and West African ingredients.
|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.
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.
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||Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra||
Cuba The Conversation Continues -(Motema) released 2015
An historic recording in a very literal sense - recorded in Havana with several prominent Cuban guest artists, and the scope of the music ranges from the days of Gillespie and Pozo to the sounds of today (and perhaps even a taste of tomorrow). Currently a nominee for a GRAMMY for Best Large Jazz Ensemble and Best Instrumental Composition. If Jazz is part of your diet, this should already be on your shelf by now.
|CD||Tico's Mambo Drama||
Follow The Rhythm (Music Roots Records) - Released 2014
This recording by Tico's Mambo Drama captures the feel of both the New York Mambo craze and Cachao's early descarga period in the late 50s-early 60s. A nice mix of retro song styles.
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.
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...
La Timba pa' to' el Mundo - (Latin Power Enterprises) Released 2011
This recording was nominated for a Cubadisco award in 2012 in the Popular Dance Music category, a rare distinction for a dance band based in the United States.