For many years, Latin jazz and salsa fans have heard bandleaders shout the name "Tata Güines," which has always been followed by a blistering, time-bending conga solo. With 1994's Pasaporte, no introductions are necessary. In Tata's first album as a leader, he collaborates with fellow Cuban great, percussionist/producer Miguel Angá. In the course of the album's eight tunes, Tata and Angá take their listeners, as Tata put it, to a "tumbadora party, with all the variations of Cuban music and it's relationship to jazz." The guests at the party include Cuban funk, descarga, rhumba, mambo, son, and more. Not only are the stylistic stars of Cuba's musical tradition invited, but also her current star performers, including pianist Frank Emilio, drummers Calixto Oviedo and Giraldo Piloto, vocalist Merceditas Valdés, and bassist Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez, with others too numerous to name. Though Cuba's Egrem label often lacks sonic luster, the musical performances are all around fantastic. Güines is an unquestionable master of his instrument. Since he most commonly loans out his talents to supergroups like Maraca or ¡Cubanismo!, Pasaporte offers a rare chance to hear this renown sideman front and center.
AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez