Cuba Linda

June 1, 2017 - Comment

Cuba LindaOctogenarian Cuban legend Israel “Cachao” Lopez returns with Cuba Linda, another five-star album produced by actor Andy Garcia, who did the same for the earlier Master Sessions volumes one and two. Bassist-composer Cachao leads an outfit that near-magically blends subtlety and power; anyone with an ear for this meld of mambo, son, and other

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Cuba LindaOctogenarian Cuban legend Israel “Cachao” Lopez returns with Cuba Linda, another five-star album produced by actor Andy Garcia, who did the same for the earlier Master Sessions volumes one and two. Bassist-composer Cachao leads an outfit that near-magically blends subtlety and power; anyone with an ear for this meld of mambo, son, and other classic styles will be hooked within the first two cuts. “Goza Mi Mambo Cubano” (“Rejoice with My Cuban Mambo”) hits its height with a flurry of percussive devices midway through, while the lyrics of “A Francisquita le Gusta el Cusube” (“Francisquita Loves the Cusube”) turn on playful sex/food metaphors as trumpeter Feliciano “Pachu” Gomez unleashes some mighty wails. It’s also easy to appreciate how the band rips through “Bailalo Si Puedes” before leaning into a tropical take on Rhapsody in Blue: Cuba Linda’s melange of textures, rhythms, and unique soloists is indeed in the Ellingtonian tradition the disc’s liner notes claim for Cachao. –Rickey Wright

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