Infectious and Nostalgic Cuban Jazz
International acclaim was never the goal when Buena Vista Social Club created their first album back in 1996 with Ry Cooder. However, after only one other subsequent album, the Latin ensemble became a global phenomenon. Though many of the group’s core members have passed, Buena Vista Social Club is currently on their ‘Adios’ world tour and have released a new compilation of remastered live and studio tracks, appropriately named Lost and Found, released March 23.
The album’s live tracks capture the seductive nature of the Afro-cuban infused jazz jams. Exceptional instrumentation from veteran musicians collides with saucy vocals to emulate the sounds of Havana. Notable vocalists featured on the tracks include Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo, Jesus Ramos, Carlos Calunga and singer/guitarist Eliades Ochoa.
The album opens with a live recording of Ferrer singing a Cuban classic “Bruca Manigua” and comes equipped with all the required aspects of Cuban jazz and salsa. Sultry horns introduce the live audience to Ferrer’s captivating voice, who erupt in his presence. The second track “Macusa” is centered around Ochoa’s cubano guitar styling along with the vocal accompaniment of Segundo, a singer famous for “Chan Chan” on the first Buena Vista Club album, who has since passed away in 2003 at the age of 95.
The male-dominated album wouldn’t be complete without a little feminine influence. Cuban singer Omara Portuondo is featured singing “Tiene Sabor.” The salsa-fueled piano expressions pair suitably with Portuondo and her female backup singers. Ferrer, who has also passed away recently, performs big band renditions of Latin staples such as “Como Fue” and Arsenio Rodriguez’s peppery “Mami Me Gusto.” The brassy horns accentuate the zest of Ferrer’s voice and create an atmosphere of pure Latin jazz.
Lost and Found is appropriately named, as it is a pleasurable nostalgia that reintroduces the unfaltering Cuban jazz classics that we couldn’t ignore even if we wanted to. The album is sensually infectious, forcing people to move their bodies anyway they know how.