Various Artists

Cuban Counterpoint: History of the Son Montuno

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This 22-track anthology issued by Rounder in 1992 covers the wide-ranging son montuno idiom and its diverse yet related forms. It includes segments from the '20s to the '70s; there are Spanish vocal arrangements and ensembles, polyrhythmic African percussion, linguistic elements of each, and material that sometimes sounds like songs heard in saloons and cantinas on the Mexican border, and at other times, like the bustling jam sessions heard in East Coast clubs. The songs are mostly short (none longer than three-and-a-half minutes) and include several contributions from the great bandleader Arsenio Rodriguez, as well as cuts by Sexteto Habanero, Beny Moré, and the Cachao All-Stars featuring El Nino Rivera. It's exhaustively annotated as well.

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