Peruchin Jr. & the Cuban All Stars

Malanga Amarilla

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Son of famed pianist Peruchin (Pedro Justiz), Peruchin Jr. has followed faithfully in his father's footsteps. Though he plays both piano and guitar (his preferred instrument) with great proficiency, Peruchin Jr. has not stopped there. After forming the Cuban All Stars, he has gone on to record four albums featuring some of Cuba's very finest talent. His fourth effort, Malanga Amarilla, delivers some truly excellent son, charanga, mambo, and salsa. Recorded for the Egrem label, the disc is sonically clear and present. The rhythm section, including conga legend Tata Guines, has feel and swing to rival any contemporaries. The vocal contributions to the album are limited to simple coros or vamps that are repeated, which serves this dance-focused music quite well. Peruchin Jr. himself sounds confident and natural, even though guitar is not an instrument often associated with Cuban music (not often, as in never). The boleros and slower material tend to sag a little bit, but anytime the band is at cruising speed, look out! Malanga Amarilla is all about time, all about the groove, and the album has that element nailed. Though it has taken Peruchin Jr. some years to get noticed as a bandleader, his time has certainly come. Listeners can only hope for more records like Malanga Amarilla.

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