14th Latin GRAMMY Process BeginsArticle by Bill Tilford, All rights reserved
Latin GRAMMY is a great season for us, and there is always a tremendous number of recordings that are submitted for consideration by Latin Recording Academy (LARAS) members each year. Cuba is now actively including recordings by Cuban artists living in the United States and other countries in its Cubadisco Awards (their equivalent to the GRAMMY awards), and it is our hope that the members of the Latin Recording Academy will be equally proactive in listening to the best of Cuba's recorded output, some of which is now being submitted to the Latin GRAMMY process. Since these recordings do not have the same marketing and publicity support as the major-label projects made in the United States or Europe, the article that may be helpful as a tool for learning more about these excellent but not always well-known recordings.
Here are some of the best recordings from artists based in Cuba that were released during the current eligibility cycle and are likely to find their way into the consideration process in the United States. It is likely that this list does not include all of the projects by Cuban artists that will be submitted for consideration in the Latin GRAMMYs, but it probably represents the best of this year's output. We hope that as many Academy members as possible will try to listen to these recordings, not just because they are from Cuba, but also because they are excellent. (Of course, those of you who are not Academy members should listen to these as well):
MODERN DANCE MUSIC FROM ARTISTS IN CUBA (TIMBA, SALSA)
Passport Alexander Abreu and Havana d'Primera (Colibri) This won the Cubadisco 2013 award for Popular Dance Music, and it is one of the best Timba / Cuban Salsa albums to appear in years. You can read our review here.Maykel Blanco and his Salsa Mayor you are fans of groups like The Van Van should definitely add Maykel's music to your diet. You can read our review here.
Saladando by Leoni Torres (EGREM) A fine Cuban Salsa album, not yet reviewed .
POPULAR TRADITIONAL MUSIC FROM ARTISTS IN CUBA SON, BOLERO, SONG ETC.)
Let pa 'the' party by Septeto Santiaguero (Picap). This won the Cubadisco 2013 award for Traditional Popular Music and features a number of prominent singers from the United States and other countries as guest artists. You can read our review here. The Cuban song by Miriam Ramos (Colibri) This trilogy won the Grand Prize at Cubadisco 2013. Not yet formally reviewed here, but Miriam has worked with Cuba's finest over the years, and Barbarito Torres, Ernán López-Nussa and Rolando Luna play important roles in the project.
Border-Free by > Chucho Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers (Jazz Village) This is hot off the presses from July, and it's a wild ride. You can read our review here. Alejandro Falcon (Colibri) Not yet formally reviewed here, but we understand that this is finding its way.
into the US market now, and it was one of the nominees in Cuban Jazz at Cubadisco 2013, and those folks take the music seriously.
OTHER RECORDINGS WORTH MENTIONING (USA)
The big names and the major labels can take care of themselves, so this is going to focus on some independent releases that deserve special recognition:
San Francisco by Brian Andres & The Afro-Cuban Jazz Poster (Independent Release) A funky and daring collaboration among some of the most talented players, composers and arrangers residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Click here for more info. Los Amaya (Universal Music Spain) A comeback album from the original kings of Rumba Flamenca. Features a veritable who's who of famous artists from Spain. Click here for more info. (Editor's Pick)