on 7 April 2003
Honestly, I can think only of two groups of people who will enjoy this recording, and if you're in either group, I urge you to order it immediately if not sooner.
If you're one of those totally or mostly unfamiliar with Cuban jazz, you'll love this. It's a celebration of life, full of good humor and vigor. The excitement of the music is bound to get to you, and you'll wonder why you've never given it a chance before.
On the other hand, you might be quite familiar with this sound, with the vocals of veterans such as Ibrahim Ferrer, Pio Leyva, Manuel 'Puntillita Licea, Raul Planas, Jose Antonio 'Maceo' Rodriguez, and Felix Valoy, and with the full sound of trumpets, teombones, enhanced by sax, flute, and piano. If so, you'll find this the best you've heard, and will insist on its being in your collection.
If you're in neither group, well, what can I say?
on 27 February 2007
A perfect album. Outclasses the more legendary Buena Vista Social Club in many respects: it's much more coherent, focusing primarily on big band styles such as guaracha and son montuno rather than spanning a diversity of Cuban genres; it features a better choice of singers for the task at hand, with Pío Leyva, Raúl Planas, Félix Valoy, Puntillita, and Maceo in as good a form as ever; and the sense of the recording is much more grand. If Buena Vista Social Club's first couple of pieces left you thirsty for more, this is it. Perfectly planned vocal improvisations intertwine with instrumental solos of masters such as Richard Egües, Rubén González, and Guajiro Mirabal, with Angá Diaz' energy added in for good measure. Cachaíto adds the necessary grooviness.
The album opens with Chéo's classic guajira-son, reinterpreted more recently by Orchestra Baobab, and continues with an impressive son montuno featuring four solo singers and Rubén. The danzón (danzonete-cha, in fact) demonstrates both Cachaíto's and Egües' mastery; the title track is a lovely dance piece, while "Fiesta de la Rumba" conveys a true folk guagancó atmosphere (both Félix Valoy's vocals and the choir are simply stunning). The guaguancó-son's improvisation is excellent; Pío Leyva's famous guaracha is still interpreted beautifully, and the mozambiqué - with Ibrahim Ferrer - makes one want to dance, literally. All to the Santería roll-call at the very end complimented by extraordinary solos, this is a perfect album.
on 16 May 2000
Strolling past a stall at Womad festival in summer 1999, I had one of those experiences where you hear a piece of music playing and you drop everything and rush to find out what it was. My top record of 1999, the unbelievable discipline of these top cuban artists produces a fat sound and cracking rhythmn so tight and yet so full of life, you can't avoid getting hooked. The definitive cuban sound, not to be missed.
on 30 August 2000
As I am co-director of the salsa band at my school, I was really looking forward to hearing this recording. I must say, along with Distinto Differente, these 2 CD's are the BEST I have ever heard. You simply must buy it.
on 22 August 2014
I read reviews before buying it, it was highly recommended, and I am absolutely delighted to have bought this album. It is great and I love all the tracks in here, really great sound. Also there is a booklet with lyrics and even translation. I find it very nice. I would like to recommend this to you all.
on 20 March 2007
As other reviewers have put it, simply fantastic, energetic music!! It also corresponds well to the Buena Vista 2007 tour sound, which has gone more to the brassy band sound. Essential, 'nuff said?