Fantastic in parts - buy the originals if you can,
This review is from: Afro Rhythm (Audio CD)
The NOT NOW label takes music that is out of copyright and reprints it, which I find a bit cheeky especially when they claim that it has been "digitally remastered". What a lot of nonsense. However there are some real gems on here.
The back says that this release includes the albums Our Man in Havana and 'Sabroso!' with some bonus tracks - NOT NOW haven't done their homework here, as 'Our Man in Havana' is a CD reissue of two vinyl LPs, 'Our Man in Havana' and 'Bembé', both recorded in Havana in early 1960. The first part is fairly typical of the era, but the second part ('Bembé') is a revelation - authentic afro cuban rumba music (i.e. drums, percussion and vocals only) played by the best drummers of the generation. The energy and excitement in tracks such as "Agua limpia" (famously recorded in Big Band Mambo style by Tito Puente around the same time on the awesome Dance Mania) is like nothing else I've ever heard, and it's fascinating to compare the two versions.
On this new release, the bonus tracks have some more of these unplugged tracks. Unmissable.