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Best of Classic Meets Cuba

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This is a compilation of material from four Classic Meets Cuba CDs, plus two new tracks, packaged without benefit of notes or any information about the project. Classic Meets Cuba is a collaboration involving a pair of German musician brothers, pianist Tobias Forster and bassist Kilian Forster, and several Cuban percussionists. It might have been helpful for buyers to know the origins of each track. The good news is that the compilation format displays the virtues of this idea to the maximum. The appeal of this music lies in the variety of ways they've found to adapt the classics to Cuban percussion. Very few of them involve Baroque music, whose affinities to jazz in terms of consistent harmonic rhythm have made it the favorite among earlier crossover experimenters; when Classic Meets Cuba does do Bach, as in the Air (track 7), it actually breaks up the rhythm and melody. A number of the selections are taken from the group's Mozart Meets Cuba album of 2004, and these are impressive once again. Mozart and Beethoven, whose music depends fundamentally on changes in harmonic rhythm, would seem the toughest composer to transfer to this kind of arrangement, but the group actually finds ways to use the percussion to complement the dynamic of the music. Sample Guantánameritmo, track 2, based on the first movement of the Piano Sonata in C minor, K. 457, or the Beethoven "Pathétique" sonata that follows. Classic Meets Cuba sometimes does straight jazz improvisation on classical tunes, but more often they rethink the piece and devise an arrangement that involves both the original material and the percussion as a unified whole. It all comes together with one of the two new tracks, the Paganini Variations (tracks 13-19), where the possibilities of the ensemble are explored more systematically. Highly recommended for jazz/classical crossover fans.~James Manheim, Rovi

Best of Classic Meets Cuba, Klazz Brothers & Cuba Percussion
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