This is an album spawned from a memorial to Emilio Vandenedes, a radio man from L.A. and Miami. A multitude of Cuban artists who knew and loved him turned out to perform a memorial service of sorts, which eventually evolved into a full-fledged album. The artists on the album range from 18 to 83 in age, and include some of the great legends of Cuban music (as well as American jazz in Al McKibbon): Chucho Valdes, Francisco Aguabella, Pio Leyva, and others. The quality of the music is enough to make any given fan of the Cuban roots craze (spawned in the U.S. by Buena Vista Social Club, among others) turn and take a second look at what had been happening in Cuba prior to Ry Cooder. Newer generation players also appear, including the vocal group Bamboleo, flutist Orlando Valle, and bassist Carlos del Puerto, Jr. As usual, all of the major styles (guajira, rumba, comparsa, bolero, son, descarga, bata) of Cuban music appear in some form in the midst of the playing. As to highlights, the whole album is of a seemingly equal quality and, as such, there is nothing that stands out specifically from the rest, though all of the music is quite well-performed and brings in many of the aspects of Cuban music that set it apart from other types. Pick it up as a fan of any sort of "world music," but especially as a Latin or Cuban music fan.
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AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg