11 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Pianist Alfredo Rodriguez was trained in Cuba’s rigorous conservatory world. And percussionist Pedrito Martinez (Sting, Paul Simon) comes from the Havana streets, where he was raised on local Afro-Cuban music. But here, this duo thrives on playing across that classical/folkloric boundary, and so many others: Rodriguez, for example, often treats his piano as a percussion instrument, and Martinez makes his tuned drums sing. Overdubbing adds texture and range to cowritten originals like “Africa,” and both instrumentalists vocalize convincingly here, especially Martinez on the prayerful closer, “Yo Volveré.” Quincy Jones, a champion of Rodriguez, produces it all into a sophisticated pop sensibility. Fittingly, the duo pays homage to Jones with an instrumental version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” charged up by a Cuban dance rhythm.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Pianist Alfredo Rodriguez was trained in Cuba’s rigorous conservatory world. And percussionist Pedrito Martinez (Sting, Paul Simon) comes from the Havana streets, where he was raised on local Afro-Cuban music. But here, this duo thrives on playing across that classical/folkloric boundary, and so many others: Rodriguez, for example, often treats his piano as a percussion instrument, and Martinez makes his tuned drums sing. Overdubbing adds texture and range to cowritten originals like “Africa,” and both instrumentalists vocalize convincingly here, especially Martinez on the prayerful closer, “Yo Volveré.” Quincy Jones, a champion of Rodriguez, produces it all into a sophisticated pop sensibility. Fittingly, the duo pays homage to Jones with an instrumental version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” charged up by a Cuban dance rhythm.

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