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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

BUENA VISTA

By MARIE ELSIE ST. LÉGER
Published April 7, 2006

Buena Vista: The Next Generation
Pimienta

The Buena Vista Social Club—a small vanity project dreamed up by Nick Gold of World Circuit Records and brought to fruition by American guitarist Ry Cooder—struck a chord with music fans worldwide. The outing sold more than seven million copies, inspiring a hit documentary and restarting the careers of several band members. There’s more calculation with this project, with the sons, grandsons, sisters and nephews of Buena Vista members hoping to make lightening strike the same spot twice. To his credit, musical director and respected Cuban trombonist Juan Pablo Torres doesn’t attempt to re-create the magic of the first project, letting the younger players inject an edgier spirit to the set. The injection doesn’t guarantee satisfaction, as with the disappointing “Rompe Saraguey” (although it does feature impressive piano playing by Ruben Gonzalez Jr.) or the lumbering ballad “De Todo un Poco,” but tunes like earnest closers “Que Rico Son” and “Pa’ Lo Rumbero,” featuring the vocals of Conchita Torres (sister of bassist Barbarito Torres), speak well of “The Next Generation.”