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CD REVIEW: Cubanismo! - The Very Best of Cubanismo!
By Ben Ohmart - 11/17/2001 - 05:49 PM EST

Artist: Cubanismo!
Album: The Very Best of Cubanismo!
CD Review: Have you ever tried watching more than an hour’s worth of Fawlty Towers in one sitting? You’re exhausted, aren’t you? Even though it’s great and brilliant stuff. The same could happen after tasting the entire length of The Very Best of Cubanismo! As it marches down its 12 track terrain of multi-rhythms and never-tiring horn section (3 trumpets - count ‘em!), Cubanismo is a group much worthy of a Best of album, even if it only encompasses a 5 year spread, from their beginning self-titled cd to last year’s Mardi Gras Mambo.

While mostly an instrumental collection, one of the vocal cuts deserves to be singled out for top honors. ‘Marie Layeaux’ wails a chorus of ‘who put that voodoo on you-oo?’ from the sultry, multi-lingual mouth of Rafael Duany (though John Boutte is also credited on lead for this one). Great backing voices as well, with a professional crew streamlined for high performance.

But before we get there, we must pass through the opening gates of ‘Mambo UK’ which loudly horns its way through trumpeter/musical director Jesus Alemany (probably the main muscle on Cubanismo’s strong arm). The same wordless energy boundlessly emanates from the follow-up, ‘Descarga de Hoy,’ demonstrating that there’s just as much New Orleans style jazz as Latin swing within the roots of the group.

Cubanismo will be touring extensively next year as early as March, through May, with more dates to be announced. From CA to NY will the big band sound of voices and brass be heard, so don’t worry about being left out. However, as March is a long way off - start the journey by a good hour’s worth of the best gas available.

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