Buena Vista: The Next Generation

Buena Vista: The Next Generation

Pimienta Records, 2002


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


You know what? It's COLD here today. The darn people from MegaHomeMart who were supposed to put in my storm door last week still aren't here so we still have a howling gale in the foyer. I can't find my slippers, and there's no way to wrap myself in an afghan while I'm sitting at the computer. Time for some corrective action; let's put on something with a more southerly beat. How about my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Buena Vista: The Next Generation, a wonderful new piece of Cuban music?

It sounds like a cliché; take the children and families of landmark Cuban musical act the Buena Vista Social Club and let them record an album on their own. While it sounds like a bright idea from the marketing department, there's a lot more substance to it than you'd think. Musical director and arranger Juan Pablo Torres and composer Elsa Torres have put together a hot, intense, percussion-driven tapestry of salsa, rhumba, and campensina that is in many ways as essential as the original BVSC.

Production on the CD is acceptable, though a little muddy in spots; the mix needed to punch up the horns more rather than flatten the music's dynamic range out. The musicianship, however, is incredible, especially the percussion and strings; the guitar on "Pa' Lo Rumbero" shimmers and chimes with a steeled edge, woven in with the frenetic and crisp bongo playing of Emilio del Monte, Jr. The vocals on the CD are all excellent; specific mention should be made of the smooth croon of Manuel Licea, the son of BVSC member Puntillita. His vocals on "De Todo Un Poco" put me in mind of Tony Bennett, expressive and clean.

Other tracks of note include the bright "Asi Son Con El Son," with the campensina-style vocals of Maria Ochoa and Maria Elena Lazo; the rich trombone of "Palmira"; and the elegant guitar of "Chan Chan," one of the few songs covered by both BVSC and BVTNG.

What could have been little more than a gimmick turns out to be a bright star in its own right. Buena Vista: The Next Generation is a wonderful piece of music in its own right, as well as a tribute to a long and rich familial and national heritage. Check it out.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Pimienta Records, and is used for informational purposes only.