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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Juan Pablo Torres

By Tom Orr

Algo Nuevo
Malanga Music

The late Cuban trombonist/composer/bandleader Juan Pablo Torres was keen on jazzing up and modernizing the traditional music of his native land, as this two-in-one reissue of his 1977 albums Super-Son and Con Todos Los Hierros shows. Sadly though, much of the music here doesn’t catch fire. While many of his peers used liberal amounts of funk, rock and psychedelia in their fusions, Torres often relied heavily on electric keyboards and synthesizers—not necessarily a bad idea, but they’re often so prominent in the mix that the other sounds in the smallish sextet format (including Torres’ own splendid trombone playing) get smothered. It merits mention that the second half of this set (the Super-Son sessions) is considerably better than the first, although even the cheesier selections have a hint of rare groove appeal that make this disc worth obtaining, but caution is certainly advised.