Cubanismo! Biography

This all-star Cuban big band was formed in 1995 by Jesús Alemañy (14 October 1962, Guanabacoa, Havana, Cuba; trumpet, ex-Sierra Maestra), initially for a recording session at Egrem studios in Havana with producer Joe Boyd. Also in the line-up were Alfredo Rodriquez, veteran percussionist Tata Gianes, trumpeters Louis Alemañy and Louis Alemañy Jnr. (Jesus’ uncle and cousin, respectively) and various members of Irakere. Jesús Alemañy’s ¡Cubanismo! (the word ‘Cubanismo’ translates as ‘typical of Cuba’) featured a selection of mostly instrumental tracks, based around classic Cuban dance rhythms, all performed with the raw energy and improvisational flair of the best Latin jazz. Critical response to the album was highly favourable and it featured in many world music polls for 1996, in the Best Of Latin category. The band subsequently toured and recorded a follow-up, Malembe. Released in 1997, it utilized the same formula of Cuban dance rhythms performed in a big-band Latin jazz style. Reencarnación introduced pianist Nachito Herrera, who replaced Alfredo Rodriquez, and was a more straight ahead Latin album, with less of a big band feel and more vocals (singer Rollo Martinez had also been added to the line-up). The band promoted it with an extensive tour of Europe and the USA, which included performances at the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Montreux International Jazz Festival.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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