The Rough Guide to the Music of Cuba, Vol. 2

The Rough Guide to the Music of Cuba, Vol. 2

CD(Bonus CD)

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The nice thing about the Rough Guide releases is the incredible breadth that they attempt to shove into their albums. This album, focusing on Cuban music, is no exception. Campesina countryside styles are represented by people such as Celina Gonzalez. Cuban jazz is represented by Irakere and Bellita. Modern dancehall music is represented by the Orquesta Riverside. The thick synth sound of Los Van Van is present. Big band music is here, from Mario Bauza (Machito's trumpeter, later solo bandleader, later in Dizzy Gillespie's bands). What is essentially direct Santeria ritual music is also present, courtesy of Lazaro Ros. All, or most of, the major styles of Cuban music show up at some point in this compilation. To top the diversity, most of the music is well performed. Irakere is always a pleaser as far as jazz is concerned. The great Patato leads a charge of beauty with Ritmo Y Candela, etc. For a general starting point to the music of the island, this is a wonderful album. For a better look into specific subgenres, there are probably better compilations out there -- for campesina, perhaps From the Tobacco Road; for dancehall, perhaps Diablo al Infierno (which even includes Cuban heavy metal); for jazz or mambos, any number of Tito Puente, Chucho Valdes, Irakere, or other albums. Still a good introduction, though.

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