Personnel includes: Fernando "El Jibaro" Ferrer Rodriguez, Rolo Martinez (vocals); Efraim Rios (tres); Orlando "Maracas" Valle (flute); Yosvany Terry Cabrera, Cesar Lopez (alto saxophone); Leonardo "Nardy" Castelini (tenor saxophone); Jesus Alemany, Luis Alemany, Luis Alemany Jr., Manuel "El Guajiro" Mirabel, Adalberto "Trompetica" Lara, Yaure Muniz (trumpet); Carlos Alvarez, Sergio Luna Longchamp (trombone); Alfredo Rodriguez (piano); Carlos Puerto Jr. (bass); Miguel "Anga" Aureilo Diaz (bongos, congas); Julien Oviedo, Dave Pattman (bongos): Tata Guines (congas); Emilio Del Monte (timbales); Carlos Godines (guiro, claves, percussion); Roberto Vizcaino Guillot (percussion); Jorge Luis "Rojitas" Rojas (background vocals).
Producers include: Jerry Boys, Jesus Alemany, Nili Belkind, Joe Boyd, Mark Bingham.
Compilation producer: Joe Boyd.
Engineers include: Geronimo Labrada Fernandez, John Wood, Mark Bingham.
Includes liner notes by Joe Boyd.
Personnel: John Boutt‚, Luciano, Rolo Martinez (vocals); Ernest Ranglin (guitar); Efra¡n R¡os, Pancho Amat (tres); Orlando "Maraca" Valle (flute); Yosvany Terry Cabrera, Yosvany Terry, Cesar Lopez (alto saxophone); Clarence Johnson III , Alfredo Thompson, Leonardo Castellini Nardy, Tim Green (tenor saxophone); Reggie Houston, Javier Zalba (baritone saxophone); Jes£s Alema¤y (trumpet, percussion); Jos‚ Jerez, Carlos "El Bola" Betancourt, Adalberto Or‚ Lara, Luis Alema¤y (trumpet); Craig Klein (trombone, tuba); Carlos Alvarez (trombone); Glenn Patscha, Ignacio Herrera, Alfredo Rodriguez (piano); Herlin Riley (drums); Miguel "Ang " Diaz (congas, bongos); Tomas Ramos (congas, claves); Tom s Ortiz, Tata G?ines (congas); Alberto Hernandez (bongos, cowbells); Julia Oviedo (bongos); Carlos Godinez (claves, guiro, maracas); Quintana, Elilio del Monte, Roysel Riveron (timbales); Cornell Williams (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Jerry Boys.
Audio Remasterer: Simon Heyworth.
Liner Note Author: Joe Boyd.
Recording information: American Sector Studios, New Orleans, LA (05/1995); EGREM Studios, Havana, Cuba (05/1995); The Boiler Room, New Orleans, LA (05/1995).
Arrangers: Reynaldo Crespo; Ignacio Herrera; Jes£s Alema¤y.
Cubanismo! might have started a year before the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon, but there's no doubt the latter -- in addition to constant touring -- has helped them break through to real success. There's little that's revolutionary about Jes£s Alema¤y's Cuban blend, as it harks bark heavily to both the dance music of the '40s and '50s, as well as the chops that helped Cuban jazz stand out, simply supercharging the power and speed a little for modern audiences. That isn't to deny that it's appealing, successful, and very, very good. Alema¤y himself can blow like Dizzy Gillespie, and the band isn't afraid to improvise as well as work through some excellent charts. Their Cuba-New Orleans album, represented here by "Peso en Tampa" and the Crescent City tale of "Marie Laveaux," was inspired and was a necessary development in their sound. However, the two new tracks available here, exploring the connection between Cuba and Jamaican reggae, don't fare anywhere near as well. The angry anthem of "Get Up, Stand Up" comes across as anemic. Though it's cast with great musical sophistication -- plenty of key changes, complex harmonies, and solos -- its punch was in its simplicity. A basic message of human rights (in both English and Spanish here) gets lost amid the virtuosity. "Could You Be Loved," sung by Luciano, gets the Cuban big band treatment with a slightly timid rap, but again, the glory of a simple melody is covered in too much frosting. What Cubanismo! do well, they do very well indeed. And that makes it all the more obvious when they falter. ~ Chris Nickson