|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.
Cubafonía - (Brownswood Recordings) Released March 2017
ENGLISH: Cubafonía is Dayme Arocena's third full album in her own name. Accompanied by several members of Cuba's young Jazz elite, it also has a healthy mix of Rumba, Mambo, Changüi, Jazz and Funk There is a chemistry throughout this album that wasn't as consistently present at the same level in her earlier projects, and Çubafonía could prove to be her breakout album.
|CD||Ivan Acosta y su Grupo De Cuba Somos||
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.
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.
|DVD||Ernesto Vega & Harold López-Nussa||
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.
De Nuevo En El Solar - (Salsaneo Records) Released 2013.09.19
(Reviewed for our "Nuestros Primos Musicales" section). This is the second CD by Nabori, a rising "Salsa Brava" band in the Midwestern US. Many of its members are "on-call" when touring acts visit the region and need musicians.
Derramando Luz (GC Music LLC) Released 2013.01.11
This beautiful and unique album is a rarity: a modern Filin recording released in the United States. It features stellar vocalist Gema Corredera with many of New York's Cuban Jazz elite. It was nominated for a Cubadisco award (Contemporary Song) in 2013.
Dial - (Blue Night Entertainment) Released 2013.02.18
"Dial", Buena Fe’s eighth studio CD, is a tribute to the 90th anniversary of Cuban Radio, which took place in 2012. It is also is an experimental project that goes in search of fresh sounds, marking a new phase in the band’s artistic development.
Dime Qué - (Calle Real Productions) Released 2015.12.21
"¿¡Dime Qué?!" has a rich instrumental texture: tres, piano, subtle synthesizer, elecric guitar, electric and acoustic bass and the horns, all woven together to create an irresistible dance album.
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.
|CD||Germán Velazco & Jorge Reyes||
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.
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.
El País de las Maravillas - (World Village) Released 2011
Harold López-Nussa may not be as famous as uncle Érnan yet, but if he keeps putting out recordings like his one, that will change in time.
|CD||Manolín, El Médico de la Salsa||
El Puente - (Ciocan Music) - Released 2002
Given the amount of water that's passed under "the bridge" for the amusingly enigmatic character known as "El Médico de la Salsa", it's no wonder that the historic release of "El puente" has rekindled the many controversies swirling around the current state of music and politics in Cuba and the United States. Fortunately, "El puente" also has the power to make us forget such annoyances and remember why we're drawn to this music in this first place. This live double CD captures the torrid adrenaline rush of the live Timba experience as no commercial recording ever has...
|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.
|CD||Juan Carlos Marín||
El Trombón de Santa Amalia - (Cinquillo/Colibri) Released 2012
This 2013 nominee for a Cubadisco award in the Jazz Cubano category showcases Juan Carlos Marín, who may now be Cuba's best Jazz trombonist, along with an excellent ensemble performing some modern Jazz and Jazz Fusion material. It is also yet another entry in Colibri's "The Young Jazz Spirit" series, which so far has consistently proven to be excellent.
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.
El Viaje - (Mack Avenue) Released 2016
The splendid new album by Harold López-Nussa is an intense blend of Afro Cuban, African and Jazz ingredients.
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.
Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine (STUNT) - Released December 2014)
Some of the best elements of the Cuban dance music of the 70s return with a vengeance, but with new compositions and fresh blood. The album's title is quite accurate: it is VERY funky, Cuban, and relentless.
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.
En el mismo lugar - (Colibrí) - Released 2012
This eclectic album, like the body of Moncada's work, incorporates a wide array of the different genres that have contributed to the evolution of Nueva Trova. Moncada, a multiple award winner in Cuba, is receiving an increased amount of attention in the United States after its recent appearance on Conan and an article in Rolling Stone. This review takes you a little deeper into their music.
|CD||José Luís Cortés & NG La Banda||
En la calle una vez más - (Bis Music)- Released 2014
A hard-hitting new release by NG La Banda. Excellent arrangements, funny when it wants to be, Los Metales del Terror are in action, some solid Timba with a dash of Cuban Jazz, Conga/Merengue, Rumba and Bachata in the album.
|CD||Alberto Lescay & FORMAS||
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.
|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.
Eterno Formell - (Bis Music) Released 2014
Eterno Formell, which won an Extraordinary Prize in Cubadisco 2015, is a very imaginative reworking of several classic Juan Formell compositions. Like Juan's personal musical experiments in life, some of these new versions stand out more than others, but the best of this project shows pure genius on the part of the arrangers, and the artists are superb.
Expectativas - (Mavo Records) Released 2013.09.03
This is the second album by Manuel Valera's New Cuban Express (the first was nominated for a GRAMMY in the Latin Jazz category and a Cubadisco in the Jazz Cubano category), and it is every bit as powerful and moving as the first. It has currently been nominated for a Cubadisco (Jazz Cubano)
Feeling Marta - (GC Music LLC) - Released 2015.10.05
Gema Corredera's second solo project is a powerful tribute to Marta Valdés.
|CD||Pedro Luis Ferrer||
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.
First Class to Havana - (Worldwide Entertainment) Released 2014
Nominated for a Latin GRAMMY (Salsa), a GRAMMY (Best Tropical Latin) and a Cubadisco (Música Popular Bailable - Maestros), this is an extremely solid dance album, and if that was its mission, then "mission accomplished". One does look at the guest artists and wonder what might have been...
|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.
Gasolina de Avion - (Latin Power Enterprises) Released 2015
Gasolina de Avion is a rousing new release from Timbalive that includes several guest appearances including Descemer Bueno, Robertón, Los 4, Maykel Fonts and others.
|CD||Magic Sax Quartet||
Gotas de Sabor - (Termidor) Released July 2013
Magic Sax is Santiago de Cuba's answer to Habana Sax, and they are every bit as good. This was nominated for a Cubadisco (Instrumental Music) in 2014.
Grand Piano Live - (Music Roots Records) 2013.05.01
This recording, which has been nominated in the Latin Jazz category for the 14th Annual GRAMMY Awards, is the result of a live solo performance of Chuchito at the Steinway at the 2012 Indy Jazz Fest in September 2012.
|CD||Eliades Ochoa & Alma Latina||
Guajira Mas Guajira - (Tumi) Released May 2016
The renowned Eliades Ochoa teams with his sister, Maria Ochoa, and the group Alma Latina, in a pleasant blend of Cuban country music and hints of other Caribbean styles like Soca and Ska.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Heritage - (Independent Release) Released 2012.03.28
Angel d'Cuba sang with a few groups including Mezcla back in Cuba. This is his debut solo album in the United States featuring mostly his own compositions and an eclectic variety of styles including a Funk Mozambique version of Can't Hide Love.