Cuban and Parisian Musical Café

Mario Grigorov and Various Artists -  Paris To Cuba
Mario Grigorov and Various Artists – Paris To Cuba
Mario Grigorov and Various Artists

Paris To Cuba (Warm & Genuine Records, 2009)

Spicing up summer with a little Latin jazz is as easy as slipping Mario Grigorov’s Paris To Cuba out on Warm & Genuine Records. Musician and composer Mario Grigorov, known for his collaboration on Paul Schwartz‘s 1998 Billboard’s classical crossover work Aria, numerous film scores and his debut recording Rhymes with Orange, offers up a wealth of romantic drama on Paris To Cuba sure to entice both world music and Latin jazz fans.


Opening with “Cuban Soil, Cuban Sun,” ripe with lushly worked combo of Farfisa by Mr. Grigorov, guitar by Peter Calo, bass by Jeff Hill and sultry trumpet by Jim Hynes, Paris To Cuba jettisons the listener to an in-between musical space that is part sophisticated Parisian café and part sea breeze swept Cuban dance floor.

“I See,” a jazzy blend of piano, guitar, bass, percussion and soprano saxophone, is centered around the silky vocals of Melissa Newman, who voice is as seductive as the gentle pull of a silk scarf over bare skin. Fans get an extra dose of her warm and plumy vocals on the voluptuous “Every Little Movement” and the suavely jazzy “Snake Eyes.”

Paris To Cuba turns sassy with “Ice Hotel,” replete with snazzy flashes of Mr. Grigorov on synthesizers, Richard Boulger on trumpet, Peter Calo on guitar, Jerry Krenach on drums and percussion and deliciously impudent tenor sax lines laid down by Sam Newsome.

Sublimely cool tracks like title track “ Paris To Cuba” and the multi-colored “Magic Circus,” featuring Entcho Todorov on violin and Grigorov manning the other instruments, evoke cinematic images in their richly worked compositions and clever instrumentation.

The bone-melting lushness on “Before She Walked Away” with guitarist Ben Butler, bass guitarist Jeff Hill and Mr. Grigorov on drums and percussion is tantalizingly seductive, but it is the piano version of “Ice Hotel,” featuring Mr. Grigorov, that is simply stunning in its turns of mood, proving Mr. Grigorov’s elegant mastery.

Paris To Cuba has the sophisticated polish of Paris and the romantic heart of Cuba, all wrapped up in a smartly smooth sound. By turns, Paris To Cuba possesses all the laid back coolness and the flirty sassiness of the perfect summertime CD.

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Author: TJ Nelson

TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.

Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.

Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.


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