Son Cubano NYC | Pittsburgh City Paper

Son Cubano NYC

Cuban Roots New York Spices 1972-82
Honest Jon's

Captured here, over the course of 12 often extended clave-driven tracks, is a last flowering of what came to be known as "salsa." Thanks to the Salsoul and SAR labels, artists such as trumpeter Chocolate, tres master Charlie Rodriguez, Peruvian belter Lita Branda and others captured the essence of New York City Cubana and managed to sell records at a respectable clip in the U.S.A., Europe and Africa despite a lack of radio exposure. In the spirit of Cuban jazz bandleaders such as Mario Bauza, the music gives plenty of room for the soloists, but never strays from its raices -- its Afro-flamenco roots and respect for the earlier Cuban sextetos of the '20s and '30s. Oddly enough, just a few scant years after the last tracks here were recorded, this style was considered by many to be obsolete. An irony, considering how fresh, hot and irresistibly danceable it still is.