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Sublime Havana

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Album Review

As Ry Cooder did with the Buena Vista Social Club, German-born saxophonist Klaus Roehm both played with Orquesta Sublime and helped the group release albums outside of Cuba. Orquesta Sublime, which was founded in 1956, was still playing in Habana Vieja, Havana's old town district, but it took the involvement of a foreign musician to get Sublime Havana recorded and issued. The world is definitely a better place for the album's release, because even though Sublime Havana doesn't tread new musical territory, it does testify to the great variety and unassuming musicianship of traditional Cuban charanga music. The strength of the album lies in the classics that the band covers, from the traditional trova song "El Fiel Enamorado" to "El Que Más Goza" by Israel "Cachao" López. The album ends by paying even more respects to its past by covering "Mi Yambú," an Afro-Cuban rumba written by the legendary Ignacio Piñeiro, whose name graces one of Havana's most important musical foundations. On most of the covers, as well as the group's originals, it's also pleasantly surprising that Roehm's saxophone playing, particularly on tenor, blends more seamlessly into its musical surroundings than Cooder's slide guitar ever did. This is important, as Sublime Havana's greatest ambition and principle is success in its perfect preservation of the celebrated traditional Cuban sound.


Formed: 1956

Genre: Salsa and Tropical

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Orquesta Sublime is another in a long line of fine Cuban bands that benefited from the involvement of a foreign musician who brought them new exposure in America; the most famous example of this, of course, is the "discovery" of the musicians of the Buena Vista Social Club by American slide guitarist Ry Cooder. In Orquesta Sublime's case, the musician who visited them in Havana was Klaus Roehm, a German-born saxophonist who currently lives in Oregon. As with many of the great Cuban orchestras, Orquesta...
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Sublime Havana, Orquesta Sublime
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