Luis Frank, the lead singer of the AFRO CUBAN ALL STARS, has drafted some of his gifted compatriots to a common project. For SONEROS DE VERDAD - BUENA VISTA: Barrio de la Habana he has united cult stars of his own country with representatives of the younger generation including Pio Leyva, Juan De Marcos, Luis Frank and Rudy Calzado. With this top-cast an album was recorded stretching from from the typical urban sound of the Havana-quarter BUENA VISTA, up to the rural sound of SANTIAGO. Once again, Cuban musicians are charming us with an emotional and intoxicating mixture of Son, Jazz and more.
In the wake of the multiplatinum-selling Buena Vista Social Club, Cuban music has become hot. This album might borrow the BVSC concept of gathering musicians of different generations together, but--while the names aren't as widely known (with the exception of Buena Vista alumnus Juan de Marcos Gonzalez)--the music glistens just as brightly, covering a similar territory of son and bolero and offering an extraordinary pianist in Guillermo "Rubalcaba" Gonzales. His two contributions, "Oguere" and "Rubalcaba," show him to be as talented as Rubén González. Still, there are no slouches here; all four singers are superb. Young Luis Frank shines on "Longina," a duet with Juan de Marcos, sparingly accompanied by tres. The title track, Frank's homage to the Havana barrio, is a tour de force, picking up the torch of Cuban traditionalists Sierra Maestra and running with it. Even in the time of a Cuban glut, A Buena Vista is essential. --Chris Nickson