This 1959 compilation of the maestro, Bebo Valdés, was recorded in Havana by Everest Records. The sound quality is exceptional since the stereo masters were used. With the onslaught of Cuban music, many CDs were released with less than dynamic sound reproduction. It is satisfying to hear the vibrant bottom and midrange in these classic recordings. These choice tracks were recorded just before the great pianist fled Cuba in hopes that the regime and his exile would be short-lived. Music trumps politics, so these great arrangements of the legendary pianist provide a peek back to a glorious golden era. The orchestra is in top form and so is the maestro. This is an integral part of the mother lode of the Cuban big-band sound. There's plenty of drive and percussion in the cha chas and mambos to move the dustiest of shoes and hips. With all due respect to the revival spurred by Ry Cooder, gems like this album are some of the original fountains that flowed during the heyday of Cuban big bands. This album stands on its own and is timeless in its appeal. Highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Romano