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Live At Ronnie Scott's: The Best of Irakere

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Album Review

In Irakere's earlier days, this premiere Cuban group often had to disguise the fact that they were playing imperalistic music from the West (i.e. jazz). Maybe now the masquerade is no longer necessary for the music on this definitive CD would never be mistaken for anything else. Heavily influenced both by Dizzy Gillespie and the rhythms of Cuba and South America, the 11-piece group is in top form interpreting the compositions of its pianist/leader Chuco Valdes (who has a memorable workout on "Mr. Bruce"). Five of the six selections are primaily features for individual players. Throughout this memorable set, the ensemble work is clean and loose, the percussionists keep the proceedings fiery and the soloists are excellent.


Formed: 1973

Genre: Latino

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

Many of the top Cuban jazz musicians have played in Irakere during the past several decades, including altoist Paquito D'Rivera and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval (before both individually defected). Pianist Chucho Valdes has been the orchestra's longtime leader, and its music ranges from Latin jazz and bop to Cuban folk melodies, with an emphasis on infectious rhythms and advanced improvisations. Several of Irakere's records have been made available domestically (including sets for Columbia and...
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Live At Ronnie Scott's: The Best of Irakere, Irakere
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