Miller, Bowyer, Beck, Bourland, Carollo, Brandman, Mobley, Murray – Abrazo – The Havana Sessions (Ansonica Records, 2016)
Abrazo – The Havana Sessions contains newly composed music for big band, small jazz combo, choir, and chamber ensembles. The composers are American, the performers are Cuban. This collaboration was easier after the restoration of diplomatic connections between the United States and Cuba in December 2014.
The list of composers includes Bunny Beck, Roger Bourland, Donald Bowyer, Margaret Brandman, John Carollo, Timothy Miller, Mel Mobley, and Michael Murray. The Cuban musicians are current or former members of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, the Buena Vista Social Club, Irakere, and other ensembles.
Abrazo is released under Ansonica Records, a new imprint created by Parma Records. “Producing new music by living composers is my passion, and hearing musicians play with this level of preparation, dedication, and ingenuity was invigorating,” says Parma Recordings CEO Bob Lord. “We went right to the source, and sure enough they brought a totally new dimension to the music – a Cuban dimension, a feel and a sound and a perspective unlike anything else in the world.”
The album contains one disc featuring the jazz works. The musicians deliver an outstanding form of Latin Jazz infused with Cuban styles like son, danzón, cha-cha-cha, and more. The ensemble includes much-admired pianist Rolando Luna, who was a member of Buena Vista Social Club and Omara Portuondo’s band.
Disc 2 contains the classical works featuring impressive interpretations of madrigals, duets, quartets and other formats.
Abrazo – The Havana Sessions demonstrates the extraordinary musical talent found in Cuba, spanning a wide-range of musical styles.
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.