Lightyear Entertainment

Independent Film And Music

Cleverly packaged in a faux cigar box, this four-CD compilation of Cuban music is designed with the curious fan in mind. Each disc is dedicated to a genre: Cuban Invocations (Afro-Cuban religious music), Cantar en Cuba (songcraft), Bailar con Cuba (dance music), and Cubano Jazz (jazz). Rather than attempting a full historical account, the selection of both classic and modern performers suggests the evolution of the music in broad, bold strokes. Cantar en Cuba features singer Maria Teresa Vera, a key historical figure, but also up-to-the-minute salsero Issac Delgado. In Cubano Jazz, the late bandleader Mario Bauza, crucial in the birth of Latin jazz in the early ’40s, is represented alongside contemporary pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba. The accompanying 112-page booklet includes essays, interviews, and a useful song-by-song discussion that sets the music in context. The result is an informative, rewarding overview of Cuban music–and a terrific instant dance-music collection.