Cuban albums of 2019 (chosen by critics)

In Magazine AM:PM it fills us with joy to repeat an experience that already becomes a tradition to inaugurate the year. Summon a group of journalists, music critics, music lovers in general and ask them to send us their favorite albums, those of which they could not detach in 2019, was only the starting point to form this list, which arrives today with those Essential phonograms that made us vibrate during the last 365 days.

As you will notice, some of these record productions were reviewed in our magazine, which fills us with pride.

Joaquín Borges Triana, Leannelis Cárdenas, Estanislao Cordero, Darsi Fernández, Diana Ferreiro, Carlos Fornés, Yansert Fraga, Luis Alberto García, Pepe Gavilondo, Rafa G. Escalona, Marcel Lueiro, Rosa Marquetti, Raúl Medina, Carla Mesa, Pistacubana, Rogelio Ramos, Gisela Saís, Lorena Sánchez, Carmen Souto, Rafael Valdivia and Alejandro Zamora participated in the preparation of this list..

Sonocardiograma, Daymé Arocena (Brownswood Recordings)

The spirits of the world populate all things, lively and inanimate, and very early human beings learned that no vehicle like music to communicate with them. Daymé Arocena has become in half a decade a priestess of this communion, with her electrifying voice, with her appropriation of genres and styles of Cuban raigal, returned with a rabid news. Synthesis of all this is Sonocardiograma, those beats in the form of songs in which the singer is escorted by a luxury band composed by Rafael Aldama on bass, Marcos Morales on drums and Jorge Luis Lagarza on piano (as well as music producer of the album ). This album sounds like a longing, a son who arrives loaded with love, a tribute to all those physical or spiritual voices that have nourished Daymé and to which he returns all his gratitude in the form of music, how could it be otherwise.

Live Saxophones Session, Cuban Sax Quintet (Egrem)

Five assembled saxes can be a normal occurrence. What is not normal are these virtuous saxes in live session, saxes of different generations and making a repertoire where there are no limits to demonstrate what they are and what can be an excellent and timeless

A romper el coco, Alexander Abreu, Alain Pérez and Mayito Rivera (Egrem)

This album adds good and recognized performers, arrangements that link the old to the most current; Recording and timely mixing. An anthology of old songs that is danced as if they were hits this week..

Italuba Big Band, Horacio “El Negro” Hernández (Bis Music)

A DVD where good aesthetic-musical taste, virtuosity and talent are no accident.. Horacio «El Negro” Hernández ha sabido —desde su experiencia— brindarnos una propuesta que resulta de las producciones más completas de este año, un material que es un rayo de luz en la escena musical cubana contemporánea.

Amor Edición Deluxe, Haydée Milanés (Bis Music / Digital Cassette)

A double album that makes us fall in love from the first song.. Al inicio, Haydée junto a su padre, Pablo Milanés; más tarde, Haydée a dúo con algunas de las voces más importantes de Hispanoamérica. Dieciséis canciones para escuchar atentamente y que conforman un fonograma redondo. Temas como Ya ves (feat. Silvia Pérez Cruz), By my side (feat. Pancho Céspedes), the love of my life (feat. Edgar Oceransky), Todos los ojos te miran (feat. Chico Buarque) e Identity (next to the Ibeyi and with the percussion of Osaín del Monte and the piano of Cucurucho Valdés) - to name a few - are, without doubt, of extreme beauty, capable of being included in any playlist.

Sublime, Alex Cuba (Caracol Records)

Intimate and fun, bright and minimalist, Alex Cuba delivers with Sublime a disc that you do not give up easily. Predestined to shine with its own light, totally universal, it suggests other ways to make song for Cuban music.

Real Project-GES, Real Project  (Bis Music)

The fiftieth anniversary of the Icaic Sound Experimentation Group was not only a pretext for Real Project to dust off the ten songs that make up the album, where the band plays with more electronic sounds and also takes us along the paths of the bossa nova, jazz, rumba, rock and roll and bluegrass. The virtuosity of musicians such as Ruly Herrera, Jorge Luis Lagarza, Roberto Luis Gómez and Rafael Aldama now includes the guests: Daymé Arocena, Yusa, Polito Ibáñez, Cimafunk, Roberto Perdomo, Niurka González, Yasel Muñoz, Rubén Bulnes, among others . The result: a beautiful album, the best tribute to those who, a while ago, renewed Cuban popular music.

A Journey Trough Cuban Music, Aymée Nuviola (Top Stop Music)

If anything we can quickly identify with Cubanness is this musical journey that Aymée proposes for our roots (son, rumba, cha cha cha, changüí, Cuban point, conga and counting). Tremendous in his voice and in the selection of the repertoire he has also made some incontestable travel companions: Omara Portuondo, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Chucho Valdés, El Septeto Santiaguero, Alexander Abreu, Alejandro Falcón, Samuel Formell, Pancho Amat, Mayito Rivera , Los Muñequitos de Matanzas and La Conga de Los Hoyos.

Lo que dice mi cantar, Trío palabras (Muxía Music) 

This phonogram is a trip to the traditional trova from the artistic rigor and the sense of elegance of the Words Trio. He reveres a handful of old songs, not as vitrola classics, but as renewed songs with much to say yet.

Yesun, Roberto Fonseca (3éme Bureau / Wagram Music)

It is the metaphor of the water that runs clean, spreads and seeps everywhere. In this sense, from Cuba, no image would be more powerful than a synthesis between Oshún and Yemayá, hence the pun that gives title to the album. Roberto Fonseca achieves a continuous flow, both inside the compositions and in the way of combining them to order the album. A lot of experience is experienced, but it is a cause of astonishment how one travels with clear naturalness between geographically distant rhythms and sonorities, maintaining a conceptual and spiritual unity in each composition. Yes, Yesun is tender and spiritual, as the pianist has accustomed us. But it is also a call in several directions. It is no longer about "breaking schemes", but about shaking and urging us to create a new vision of music, to create new languages. The combination of electronic sounds, native rhythms, retro instruments, reggaeton, etc., would not be an end in themselves, but merely a pretext, simply, for the music to be made.

Other relevant Cuban albums of 2019:

Lo nuestro, Yelsy Heredia (Bis Music)

Duologue, Alfredo Rodríguez y Pedrito Martínez (Mack Avenue Records)

Sinco-pa Changüiza, Ernesto Oliva (Producciones Colibrí)

Urbanos, Bárbaro el Urbano Vargas (Bárbaro Urbano Vargas)

Lluvia y fuego, Isacc Delgado (Tropix Music Group)

A Journey Trough Cuban MusicA romper el cocoAlain PérezAlex CubaAlexander AbreuAmor Edición DeluxeAymée NuviolaCuban Sax QuintetDaymé ArocenaHaydée MilanésHoracio El Negro HernándezItaluba Big BandLo que dice mi cantarMayito Riveramejores discos del añoReal ProjectReal Project-GESRoberto FonsecaSaxofones Live SesiónSonocardiogramaSublimeThreesome WordsYesun
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  • Cesar Lopez

    2019 fue el debut del CUBAN SAX QUINTET y muchos logros,estamos agradecidos de formar parte de esta selección.