Sierra_maestra-tibiri_tabara_span3
November 1998

Sierra Maestra
Tibiri Tabara
Nonesuch Records

With this release, the nine-piece Cuban group Sierra Maestra celebrates 21 years of playing traditional Cuban son. The descarga, "Anabacoa," is the closest thing to a jazz number. Trumpeter Barbaro Teuntor Garcia replaces Jesus Alemany, who left Sierra Maestra to form his own acclaimed group, Cubanismo. Garcia plays high, bright, and loud, and is especially good on the classic Arsenio Rodriguez composition, "Yo Soy Tibururon." Tres player and arranger Juan de Marcos Gonzales, known for his work on two standout releases, Buena Vista Social Club, and A Toda Cuba le Gusta, can take a lot of credit for the excellence of this release. "Con la Espuela" showcases his clean tres playing, and his phrasing, more than any of the musicians here, is informed by a jazz sensibility. Double bass player, Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez, nephew of the famed Cachao, has a formidable tumbao, bass solo, on "El Guararey de Pastora." The vocals and percussion are outstanding.

Originally published in November 1998
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