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Live at Ronnie Scott's (1991)

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Irakere

In Irakere's earlier days, this premiere Cuban group often had to disguise the fact that they were playing imperalistic music from the West (i.e. jazz). Maybe now the masquerade is no longer necessary for the music on this definitive CD would never be mistaken for anything else. Heavily influenced both by Dizzy Gillespie and the rhythms of Cuba and South America, the 11-piece group is in top form interpreting the compositions of its pianist/leader Chuco Valdes (who has a memorable workout on "Mr. Bruce"). Five of the six selections are primaily features for individual players. Throughout this memorable set, the ensemble work is clean and loose, the percussionists keep the proceedings fiery and the soloists are excellent.