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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Juan Pablo Torres

By Matt Scheiner

Romantic Cuba
Malanga Music

Romantic Cuba brings trombonist Juan Pablo Torres’ Mangle Instrumental album together with Grupo Algo Nuevo for a fiery combination of compositions in the romantic bolero, son and Afro-Cuban styles. The Mangle Instrumental section features the Egrem Orchestra (directed and orchestrated by Torres) with special guest Pedro Coto Montalbán on piano, and the group steers through some nice boleros (such as Felix Reina’s “Si Te Contrata” and Torres’ composition “Mangle,” which he described as bolero tropical). But the Grupo Algo Nuevo section of this collection is where the real energy bursts through. Complete with Cuban sons, bright compositions and powerful solos, and augmented by Torres’ amazing trombone skills and trumpeter Adalberto “Trompetica” Lara’s brash and beautiful tone, the series also benefits from great group singing and ferocious batá drum and conga beats. Overall, Torres’ compositions are what make Romantic Cuba shine.