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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

FRANK EMILIO FLYNN Y SUS AMIGOS

By Michael Stone
Published September 27, 2005

Barbarísimo
Milan Latino

Blind pianist Frank Emilio Flynn (1921-2001) apprenticed with Ignacio Piñeiro’s Septeto Nacional and sonero Miguel Matamoros, winning wide recognition from the 1940s onward. He accompanied Omara Portuondo in the 1950s and 1960s, defining the filin genre. Flynn combined Cuban strains with Bach, Chopin and Ravel, along with Art Tatum, Bud Powell, George Gershwin, George Shearing and Dave Brubeck. His Quinteto Cubana de la Música Moderna trailblazed for jazz-oriented groups Irakere and Los Van Van, and soprano saxophonist-flautist Jane Bunnett brought him to international attention in the 1990s on her superb Spirits Of Havana and Chamalongo. Joining Flynn on Barbarísimo (a 1996 re-release) are percussionists Miguel “Angá” Díaz and José Luís “Changuito” Quintana, Irakere alumni Orlando “Maraca” Valle (flute) and Carlitos del Puerto (bass), singer Eugenio “El Raspa” Rodríguez, and Enrique Lazaga’s charanga La Orquesta Ritmo Oriental. A uniformly fine outing includes Flynn’s rumba “Gandinga, Mondongo y Sandunga,” “Los Amigos” (a mambo) and “Leungó” (an Afro-Cubano), plus “Mi Ayer” (a stately bolero) and a pre-Cooder take of the Orestes López classic, “Social Club Buena Vista.”