Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Our Man in Havana
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Latin Music
Our Man in Havana is in fact a compilation of two marvelous albums (Our Man in Havana and Bembe) recorded by conguero Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria in Havana in the early 1960s. By then, Santamaria, who had left Cuba in 1948, h... more »
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Our Man in Havana is in fact a compilation of two marvelous albums (Our Man in Havana and Bembe) recorded by conguero Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria in Havana in the early 1960s. By then, Santamaria, who had left Cuba in 1948, had already made his mark with Tito Puente and Cal Tjader and had released his classic piece "Afro-Blue." In the songs from the original Our Man, Santamaria tinkers with the standard instrumentation of the Cuban conjunto and the orquesta tipica and revisits classic styles such as cha cha. The second part of the set explores the ritual music of the Orishas (often referred to as Santeria) and traditional rumba. For this project, Santamaria assembled a group that included singers Merceditas Valdes and Carlos Embale and, for good measure, his friend Willie Bobo, the only non-Cuban. The austere recording and crisp playing bring out the beauty and power of this music, at once deeply spiritual and earthy. Mongo Santamaria went on to make his name in Latin jazz history with his playing, his bands, and his writing. But this album, showing his more traditional side, is a classic. --Fernando Gonzalez
The traditional side of Mongo Santamaria
Ramon Melendez | Anaheim, CA USA | 05/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are used to the fusion and jazz oriented Mongo then this album presents the other side of Mongo: traditional Cuban setting. Is actually two albums in one, the first is a conjunto ensemble doing some terrific sones, cha-chas, etc. the other is a traditional rumba setting. Both are great but the rumbas are among the finest on record with great singing, feeling and of course 'Mongo en el quinto'. My favorite "Agua Limpia Todo" with the great Carlos Embale, Merceditas Valdez and el Viejo Macucho."
Our Man In Havana (Indeed)!
Hercule Levande | Los Angeles, CA | 06/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At the insistence of my friend Carlo, I revisited "Our Man In Havana" on the 45th anniversary of this delightful album (actually, I should say two albums, because they took two albums and put them onto one disc and then made one album!), and rediscovered the magnificence of Mr. Santamaria's shedding and leaving behind (if only for the moment) America and its influences as he escaped to less visible and more traditional Cuban setting. This album has inspired me to do the same!Mr. Santamaria's expert leadership, the bongos (Willi Bobo!), the vocal work by Carlos Embale and 'Agua Limpia' and 'Complicaciones', the toying a bit with the cha-cha sound..I should say that our world today could (perhaps) use a bit of more the mood of the music (and not Mr. Castro!) from Cuba in the late 50's and early 1960's!"