Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Piñeiro

Soneros de Cuba

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In jazz, big bands that use the names of musicians who have long since died are known as "ghost orchestras." Any band that calls itself the Count Basie Orchestra or the Glenn Miller Orchestra in the 21st century is very much a ghost orchestra. And similarly, el Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Piñeiro is one of the top ghost bands of Afro-Cuban music. Piñeiro himself died in 1968, but the septet has carried on with different leaders who have kept the spirit of his music alive. In 1998, Septeto Nacional celebrated its 71st anniversary with Soneros de Cuba, which finds acoustic guitarist Richard Aymee Castro leading a lineup that also includes singer/percussionists Eugenio "Raspa" Rodriguez and Dorgis Guilarte Matos, trumpeter Fernando Carlos Sánchez, guitarist Enrique Collazo, percussionist Francisco Oropesa Fernandez, and bassist Bárbaro Sánchez. Obviously, none of these guys were members of Piñeiro's original 1927 lineup, but they quite are faithful to the group's history, and Soneros de Cuba contains the type of infectious, addictive son that earlier editions of Piñeiro's outfit provided in the '30s, '40s, and '50s. Soneros de Cuba doesn't break any new ground for the septet, but then, it isn't supposed to. This CD falls short of essential and isn't recommend to beginners, who would be better off starting out with a collection of the group's early recordings. Still, it's a solid and enjoyable, if predictable, effort that die-hard son lovers will appreciate.

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