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Cubismo & Jazz Orkestar HRT-a: Tumbao

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Cubismo Croatian Band
CUBISMO: Croatian band with members from Croatia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba and Slovenia.

It should come as no surprise that the seduction of Afro Cuban music has turned up in the Balkan country of Croatia too. The delightful surprise, however, is how marvelously this music has been interiorised – and played by the group Cubismo. Admittedly, the pervasive influence of that vibrant music of the Caribbean island comes from band members who are Cuban/South American [Ecuadorean and Venezuelan], but it feels as if this [ubiquitous] musicality has percolated in the body and souls of the Croatian and Slovenian members of this ensemble as well.

The album Tumbao is also bolstered by gleaming brass and woodwind instrumentation provided by the [Croatian] Jazz Orkestar HRT, who have absorbed the complex Afro-Cuban harmonies and rhythms to the extent that when they dive into this repertoire with the members of Cubismo, the feeling is that you are basking in the fiery sunlight of a large Cuban ensemble broadcasting vociferously from somewhere on the streets of Havana – or better still, with this sleek recording – within an ornately decorated  baroque auditorium in Cuba.

Cubismo & Jazz Orkestar HRT-a: Tumbao
Cubismo & Jazz Orkestar HRT-a: Tumbao

The high finish of this music is admirable, and it pervades in the unconventional routes that this music traverses. There is vigour and spiritedness in the quick numbers – well in place, for example, in the outer movements of Tumbao and Tempera. The Yoruba heartbeat Cuban music is magnificently explored on the mighty chanting by Lazaro Amed Hierrezuelo Zumeta, on Iya Mi Ile on which the harmonic and rhythmic skill of these musicians is [also] on brilliant display for all to experience.

The aforementioned chart is the apogee of this recording – not only because of the naturalness of the playing, but also because the fusion of the spiritual and the secular is impeccably attained. That being said, there is no doubt that the music throughout is uniformly well performed – from the arrangements that are polished and hearteningly authentic. Questing vocals by Ricardo Luque, Lazaro Amed Hierrezuelo Zumeta, and by Grarijela Galant Jelenic, Mariajan Jelenic and Dean Vitasovic [who comprise the vocal group NOLA] complete the freethinking and adventurous nature of this inspired Afro-Cuban music.

Deo gratis…

Tracks – 1: Tumbao; 2: Ljubav, samo ljubav; 3: Son Veinte; 4: Lijepa si danas; 5: Krumpira; 6: Bailando cha cha cha; 7: Iya Mi Ile; 8: P.P. Club Blue Cha Cha; 9: Tempera; 10: Dani u Havani

Musicians – Ricardo Luque: vocals and chorus; Hrvoje Rupcic: conga [solo 1, 8], percussion and chorus; Davor Križic: trumpet [soli 1 – 3, 10]; Neno Grahovac: trombone [soli 1, 9, 10] and chorus; Mario Igrec: guitar [soli 6, 8, 10]; Mario Penton Hernández: piano [solo 2], keyboards and chorus; Kresimir Tomec: bass and baby bass; Zdravko Tabain: drums [solo 1]; Mladen Ilic: bongos [solo 1] and percussion [solo 10]; Lazaro Amed Hierrezuelo Zumeta: timbales [soli 1, 8], percussion, [lead vocals 7] and chorus. Jazz Orkestar HRT-a – Miro Kadoic [flute soli 3, 7; alto saxophone solo 10], Mihael Gyorek [flute solo 7], Mario Bocic [tenor saxophone solo 10], Vojkan Jocic [tenor saxophone solo 8]and Damir Horvat: saxophones [baritone saxophone solo 6], flutes and clarinets; Antonio Gezek, Darko Sedak Bencic [trumpet solo 3] or Zvonimir Bajevic, Davor Križic and Marko Solman: trumpets; Marin Ferketin or Miron Hauser [arrangement 5], Zvonko Kosak, Luka Zužic and Jure Urek: trombones. Special Guest – NOLA: Grarijela Galant Jelenic: [lead] vocal; Mariajan Jelenic: backing vocals; Dean Vitasovic: backing vocals   

Released – 2022
Label – Aquarius Records [CD 652-20]
Runtime – 52:21

YouTube Audio Playlist – Cubismo & Jazz Orkestar HRT-a – Tumbao

Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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