CigarFriendlyTM.com would like to introduce you to these three selections of Cuban music offered by Atlantic Records. If you would like to add them to your collection go to The Latin Sounds Section of Atlantic Records.

AFRO-CUBAN ALL STARS
"A Toda Cuba le Gusta" A dream 13-piece band comprising four generations of Cuba's finest musicians.
BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB
With Ry Cooder, Ibrahím Ferrer, Rubén González, Eliades Ochoa, Compay Segundo. Produced by Ry Cooder
RUBEN GONZALEZ "Introducing Ruben Gonzalez" "The greatest piano soloist I have ever heard in my life. He's like a Cuban cross between Thelonious Monk and Felix the Cat." (Ry Cooder)

Afro-Cuban All Stars
'A Toda Cuba le Gusta'

The Afro-Cuban All-Stars is a dream 13-piece band comprising four generations of Cuba's finest musicians. The band was brought together by musical director Juan de Marcos González, leader of the son group Sierra Maestra, as a backing orchestra for the legendary soneros (singers) from the 'golden age' of Cuban music in the '50s. In a celebration of the diversity of Cuban music the album's ten song run through a great range of styles including danzon, son montuno, guaguanco, mozambique, afro, mambo and guajira.

The list of lead vocalists is a virtual Who's Who of the greatest Cuban soneros including 80 year-old Pio Leyva and 70-year olds Raul Planas, Manuel 'Puntillita' Licea and Ibrahim Ferrer who were joined by the younger Antonio 'Maceo' Rodriquez and Felix Valoy. To back these individual talents González brought together a very special group of musicians; the legendary Ruben González on piano, Cuba's finest Orland 'Cachaoito' Lopez on double bass and a six piece horn section taken from the best players of Havana's celebrated Tropicana Orchestra. Great solos come courtesy of Manuel 'Guajiro' Mirabal on trumpet, Afrokan on trombone, Ry Cooder on guitar, Richard Egues on flute and Barbarito Torres on laoud. The All Star' six piece percussion section is matchless and includes the 13 year old phenomenon Julien Oviedo on timbales and the great Miguel 'Anga' on congas.

The atmosphere at Havana's Egrem Studios was electric. The younger musicans were playing with their heroes, the older players were inspired by the energy surrounding them and the singers, renewing old rivalries strove to outdo one another. Visiting musicians arrived daily to crowd into the control booth to watch the proceedings and with the spark lit, the entire recording was completed in just one week.

Tracklisting

1.Los Sitio' Asere (guaguanco)
(Silvio Pino, arr. Juan de Marcos González)
2.Pio Mentiroso (guaracha)
(Miguel Ojeda, arr. Juan de Marcos González)
3.Habana del Este (danzonette)
(Juan de Marcos González)
4.A Toda Cuba le Gusta (son)
(Remberto Becquer, arr. Juan de Marcos González)
5.Clasiqueando con Ruben (son)
(Juan de Marcos González)
6.Maria Caracoles (mozambique)
(Pio Leyva & Pedro 'Pello El Afrokan' Izquirdo, arr. Leonel Ceruto)
7.Elube Chango (afro)
(Alberto Rivero, arr. Juan de Marcos Gonzalez)
8.Fiesta de la Rumba (guaguanco)
(trad arr. Juan de Marcos González)
9.Amor Verdadero (guajira)
(José Marqueti, arr. Demetrio Muniz)
10.Alto Songo (son)
(Lili Martinez, arr. Juan de Marcos González)

The Musicians

Lead Vocals Ibrahím Ferrer
Pío Leyva
Manuel 'Puntillita' Licea
Raúl Planas
José Antonio 'Maceo' Rodriguez
Félix Valoy
Tres and LeaderJuan de Marcos González
Piano Rubén González
BassOrlando 'Cachaíto' López
Trumpets Luis Alemañy
Manuel 'Guajiro' Mirabal
Daniel Ramos
Trombones Carlos 'El Afrokán' Álvarez
Demetrio Muñiz
Baritone Sax and Flute Javier Zalba
Percussion Miguel 'Angá' (congas)
Julienne Oviedo (timbales)
Carlos González (bongos)
Alberto Virgilio Valdés (maracas)
Carlos Puisseaux (güiro)
Chorus Vocals Alberto Virgilio Valdés
Luis Barzaga
Juan de Marcos González
Guest MusiciansRy Cooder(slide guitar on 'Alto Songo')
Richard Egües (flute on 'Habana del Este')
Barbarito Torres (laoud on 'Amor Verdadero')
Musical DirectorJuan de Marcos González
Produced byNick Gold & Juan de Marcos González

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'Buena Vista Social Club'
Ry Cooder, Ibrahím Ferrer, Rubén González, Eliades Ochoa, Compay Segundo
Produced by Ry Cooder
"I felt I had trained all my life for this experience. The best record I have ever been involved in." - Ry Cooder.

'Buena Vista Social Club' features Cooder on assorted guitars with the cream of Cuba's finest singers and musicians, including the legendary 89 year old singer and guitarist Compay Segundo and the extraordinary 77 year old Rubén González, who Cooder describes as "the greatest piano soloist I have ever heard in my life." The album was recorded in Havana and is Cooder's first project for World Circuit since the Grammy-winning "Talking Timbuktu" in 1994.

'Buena Vista Social Club', which was recorded in just six days, has an intimate, natural charm that comes from musicians totally at ease with each other, all of whom share a deep passion and understanding for the music. Under Cooder's guidance the participants breathe new and vital life into a collection of Cuban classics, reflecting the full range of the island's rhythms and styles, from the city sounds of Havana to the country style of Santiago.

During the recordings a very special relationship developed between Compay Segundo and Ry Cooder. "He was the fulcrum, the pivot, the source," says Cooder. Compay has a huge repertoire and an encyclopaedic knowledge of Cuban music and musicians, which Ry gratefully put to full use. Many of the songs were suggested by Compay, drawing on more than 70 years experience as a performer. "Buena Vista Social Club" has a timeless, ageless quality. This is music with a resonance that transcends the vagaries of mere fashion and an album which is destined to be regarded as a classic for years to come.

Tracklisting

1.Chan Chan (son)
Francisco Repilado
2.De Camino a La Vereda (son)
Ibrahim Ferrer
3.El Cuarto de Tula (son / descarga)
Luis Marquetti
4.Pueblo Nuevo (danzón)
Rubén González
5.Dos Gardenias (bolero)
Isolina Carillo
6.¿ Y Tú Qué Has Hecho ? (bolero)
Eusebio Delfín
7.Veinte Años (bolero)
María Teresa Vera
8.El Carretero (guajira)
Guillermo Portabales
9.Candela (son / tumbao)
Faustino Oramas
10.Amor de Loca Juventud (Influencia americana / gospel / blues)
Rafael Ortiz
11.Orgullecida (influencia americana / jazz)
Eliseo Silveira
12.Murmullo (ballad)
Electo Rosell 'Chepín'
13.Buena Vista Social Club (danzón)
Orestes López
14.La Bayamesa (criolla)
Sindo Garay

The Musicians:

Luis BarzagaBacking vocals,
Joachim CooderUdu drum, dumbek,
Ry CooderGuitars, mbira, oud, bolon, floor slide, percussion
Julio Alberto FernándezVocals, maracas
Ibrahm FerrerVocals, backing vocals, conga, clave, bongos
Carlos GonzálezBongos, cowbell
Juan de Marcos Gonzálezbacking vocals, güiro
Rubén GonzálezPiano
Salvador Repilado LabradaBass
Manuel 'Puntillita' Licea Vocals, backing vocals,
Orlando 'Cachaíto' LópezDouble bass,
Benito Suárez MaganaGuitar
Manuel 'Guajiro' MirabalTrumpet,
Eliades OchoaVocals, guitar,
Omara PortuondoVocals
Julienne Oviedo SánchezTimbales
Compay SegundoVocals, guitar, backing vocals, congas
Barbarito Torreslaoud,
Alberto 'Virgilio' ValdésMaracas, backing vocals,
Lázaro VillaGüiro, conga,
Executive ProducerNick Gold

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Ruben Gonzalez Introducing…
Rubén González

"The greatest piano soloist I have ever heard in my life. He's like a Cuban cross between Thelonious Monk and Felix the Cat" Ry Cooder

To make your first solo album at 77 years old after more than half a century in music is unusual. To produce an album as vibrant, dynamic and spontaneous as "Introducing Rubén González" is unique. Although he is one of the legends of Cuban music, a maestro whose piano playing in the 1940s helped invent the Cuban sound as we know it today, Rubén González virtually stopped making music in recent years. He suffers from arthritis and no longer even owns a piano.

Gonzalez was invited to come out of retirement last year to play first with the Afro-Cuban All Stars and then with Ry Cooder on the 'Buena Vista Social Club' album. Producer Nick Gold swiftly realised this was a very special performer who deserved his own showcase and Rubén, who made his first recordings in 1943 with the great Arsenio Rodríguez, was invited 53 years later to record his debut solo album. Rubén's answer, in his own words, was "OK. Let's go for it!" and choosing his own favourite musicians and songs, he recorded the album in just two days without overdubs.

"Introducing Rubén González" was a long time coming. At home in Cuba he needs no introduction for he has long been regarded as a national treasure. On this album the rest of the world finally gets to share the secret.

Tracklisting

1. La Engañadora (cha cha cha)
Enrique Jorrín
2.Cumbanchero (guaracha)
Rafael Canchola Hernández
3.Tres Lindas Cubanas (danzón)
Guillermo Castillo
4.Melodía Del Río (bolero)
Rubén González
5.Mandinga (guaracha / son)
Rodríguez Fiffe
6.Siboney (canción / afro)
Ernesto Lecuona
7.Almendra (danzón)
Abelardito Valdés
8.Tumbao (son montuno / tumbao)
Rubén González
9.Como Siento Yo (canción)
Rubén González

The Musicians

PianoRubén González
Bass Orlando 'Cachaíto' López
TrumpetMañuel 'Guajiro' Mirabal
TimbalesAmadito Valdés
Bongos, güiro, cowbell Roberto García
CongasCarlos González
MaracasAlberto 'Virgilio' Valdés
Güiro Carlos Puisseaux
Chorus Vocals Juan de Marcos González
Manuel 'Puntillita' Licea
Antonio 'Maceo' Rodríguez
Guest MusicianRichard Egües (Flute on 'Tres Lindas Cubanas')
Arranger and conductorJuan de Marcos González
ProducerNick Gold

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