January 4, 2013
Santiago De Cuba: La Reina Del "Son"
TITLE: Santiago De Cuba: La Reina Del “Son”
LABEL: Fremeaux & Associes
In a word: AMAZING! If you liked the original Buena Vista Social Club studio recordings made in Havana in 1996, you will love this new CD. Recorded in Santiago de Cuba in 1992, these live recordings have an immediacy that leaps at your ears in a way that no studio can match. There are 15 songs by 7 combos. The compilers have, thankfully, grouped the songs in pairs by group and not in some random fashion. These pairings also feature songs that show the different strengths of each conjunto. The vocal harmonies, confident and creative guitar work and riveting trumpets throughout make this an outstanding compilation of Cuban music. My favorites include: 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11. I especially like tracks 6, 7 and 8 as they pair so easily with 50s and 60s music of Franco & L’OK Jazz, Docteur Nico and Grand Kalle (of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the former Zaire). Judge for yourself, though. Play them all. You will not be disappointed.
REVIEWER: David Noyes