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The art of the Cuban jam

40 Years of Cuban Jam Session
40 Years of Cuban Jam Session
By Paquito D'Rivera

Messidor Music: 1993

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This review first appeared in the December 10, 1993 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

For this album, Cuban saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera gathered some of Cuba's best musicians for a tribute to the old Cuban jam sessions that ended when Fidel Castrol seized power.

The music here was recorded over a two-day period and includes both younger Cuban musicians, such as D'Rivera and trombonist Juan Pablo Torres, and the veterans of a generation earlier, men such as saxophonist JOse "Chombo" Silva and bassist Israel "Cachao" Lopez. And actor Andy Garcia even sits in on congos on one number.

In Cuba, nearly all music has become intertwined with jazz; still, the rhythms are uniquely Cuban and derived more directly from their African sources than their African-American counterparts. And as with jazz and blues, improvisation is part and parcel of all Cuban music.

The songs are both original and standards, the musicianship is of the highest order, and the music really swings.