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Cuban Masters: Los Originales

Flutist/bandleader Jose Fajardo, bassist Israel “Cachao” L¢pez, trumpeter Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros, congueros Carlos “Patato” Valdes and Francisco Aguabella and others comprise the Cuban Masters. Fajardo passed away Dec. 11, 2001, at the age of 82, but Los Originales is a fine memorial, showcasing a cast of star players who in their day graced the bands of Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Machito, Herbie Mann, Peggy Lee and Cal Tjader.

Salsa singer Hector Casanova introduces everyone on the title-track opener with pianist Alfredo Rodriguez taking a solo full of percussive dynamics. Double-bassist Cachao, co-creator of the danzon mambo (1937) and the first authentic Cuban descarga (jam session) recording (1957), is highlighted on “Cachao es Mambo.” The finesse of his bow is rich, but when he digs in with his fingers into his renown tumbao (swing) it’s pure magic.

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