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Our Man In Havana

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Reseña de álbum

The two records that make up Our Man in Havana (the other date was originally called Bembe) were recorded in 1960 during a visit to Cuba by Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo. The first set is superb, featuring an unusual mixture of instruments for a Cuban band: two trumpets, flute, piano, tres (Nino Rivera), bass, timbales, bongos, guiro, conga, and two vocalists. The playing by the local musicians is of high quality, and the ten selections are quite enjoyable. Unfortunately though, that project is combined with the cuts from Bembe, which are in a very different style. The latter project has the music performed entirely by vocalists, other than the percussion of Santamaria and Bobo. Consisting of folk melodies and religious songs, with the emphasis totally on the chanting and singing, the music is intriguing from a historical standpoint but the jazz content is nil on this emotional date (which has Merceditas Valdes taking the vocal on four numbers). So, overall, this is definitely a mixed bag.


Nacido(a): 07 de abril de 1922 en Havana, Cuba

Género: Jazz

Años de actividad: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

A Mongo Santamaria concert is a mesmerizing spectacle for both eyes and ears, and even in his seventies, this seemingly ageless Cuban percussionist/bandleader could energize packed behemoth arenas such as the Hollywood Bowl. A master conguero, Santamaria at his best creates an incantatory spell rooted in Cuban religious rituals, quietly seating himself before his congas and soloing with total command over the rhythmic spaces between the beats while his band pumps out an endless vamp (a potent example...
Biografía completa
Our Man In Havana, Mongo Santamaria
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