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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America


Published April 19, 2006

Cuban Jazz
Naxos World

The Buena Vista Social Club project sparked an unprecedented embrace of Cuban traditional music, while regrettably overshadowing many equally gifted island musicians. Among them, Havana-born, Paris-based Alfredo Rodriguez is a classically trained pianist, composer and arranger who some may recognize from his spirited work on the first Cubanismo! releases. In the mold of celebrated Havana bandleader Pedro “Peruchín” Justiz Rodriguez, furthered by study with Bill Evans in 1960s New York, Rodriguez has played with Cachao, Joe Cuba, José Fajardo, Dizzy Gillespie, Patato Valdés and Tito Puente, among many others. Cuban Jazz unites some of Cuba’s finest, including the wonderfully expressive singer Bobby Carcasés (who scats with the best), and percussion masters José Luis Quintana “Changuito” (timbales, of Los Van Van fame) and Tata Güines (tumbador). Ranging from Cuban danzón, descarga, guarachón, rumba guaguancó, and son montuno to a startling reworking of “Caravan,” the Ellington-Tizol classic, an ingenious transmutation of Jerome Kern’s “All The Things You Are,” and a tender danzón-like closing with Robert Schumann’s “Scène d’enfant,” the result is a convivial and compelling studio session from start to finish.