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Emir Ersoy – Cuban Portrait (SFW Records 2009)

It should not, but it takes a several fleeting moments to get used to the idea that Cuban Portrait is a record by an accomplished Turkish pianist and musician, Emir Ersoy, who is partnered by other Turkish musicians. It should not and happily, these feelings fade away completely after the last three songs are heard. For the record, though, here is a thought [...]

2009 Art of Jazz Festival – Cuban Orchestra Anacaona

Seventy-seven years after the first band was formed, the spirit of the original members of Anacaona is still alive. Today the band's leaders -sisters Georgina and Dorita Aguirre- maintain the legacy they received from the Castro Zalarriaga sisters [...]

Tiempo Libre – Bach in Havana (Sony Classical 2009)

The title of this record – Bach in Havana – should not come as a surprise, after all there is a yet-to-be-fully-discovered European Baroque and Classical music tradition that bubbles and boils in conservatories just barely under the skin of Cuban life, nestling cheek-by jowl with Santeria worship. This culture is very real and continues to turn out a stunning number of brilliant musicians [...]

Venissa Santi: Bienvenida

The high art of this record, Bienvenida is no accident. This is because its principal performer is the miracle behind it all. Venissa Santi is one of those supremely talented new vocalists who blazes, comet-like, across the musical horizon, but once in a lifetime. She joins the likes of Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln, Sheila Jordan, Elis, Rosa, Celia, Flora Purim and fewer others [...]

Scott Oakley – Cancion Para Mi Amor (Invisible Music 2008)

How many times has this happened before? A jazz musician - and a very good one, at that - becomes seduced by the music of Cuba (and Latin America). Musicians from Bird and Dizzy to Archie Shepp were… This magnificent obsession continues unabated and is in flood today. A few, such as Toots Thielemans, Hendrick Meurkens, Jane Bunnett and Larry Cramer, and Steve Coleman [...]