Estrellas de Areito: Los Heroes
Los Heroes (World Circuit/Nonesuch)
Reviewed by Harvey Pekar, Fri., Sept. 10, 1999
Estrellas de Areito
Los Heroes (World Circuit/Nonesuch)If you liked the Buena Vista Social Club recordings, you'll love this 2-CD all-star set. Noting the popularity of New York-based salsa musicians in the Seventies, Paris-based Ivory Coast producer Raoul Diomande, a great admirer of Afro-Cuban music, went to the source -- Havana -- and cut these sides in 1979. Juan Pablo Torres recruited and wrote charts for major trumpeters such as Felix Chappotin, regarded as the Louis Armstrong of Cuba, Arturo Sandoval, who plays with taste as well as his usual virtuosity, and Guajiro Mirabal and Jorge Varona. Additionally, Paquito D'Rivera is on alto sax, while pianists Ruben Gonzalez and Jesus Rubalcaba handle the 88 keys. The brilliant rhythm section includes percussionists Amadito Valdes, Tata Guines, Ricardo Leon, and electric bassist Fabian Garcia. Torres also wanted to represent the gentler influence of the charanga, and brought in violinists including Enrique Jorrin, credited with inventing the cha cha cha, Angel Barbazon and Miguel "Brindis" Barbon, plus flutist Richard Egues. Chappotin has great presence and Torres contributes warm-toned, fluent trombone spots. Gonzalez, who played with the Buena Vista Social Club, displays more brilliance here; in '79 he was younger and gigging on a more consistent basis. The lead vocalists, including Miguelito Cuni, Pio Leyva, and Tito Gomez improvise with the flexibility of horn players. These tracks were made hastily and therefore aren't flawless; nevertheless, what a marvelous display of inspired and creative artistry!