The 3:10 o'clock playlist to Yuma
At the beginning of November, the whole world, expectantly, was paralyzed. The elections in the United States, as a geopolitical event and media show, occupied social networks and the big headlines; while many in Cuba located on the map, perhaps for the first time, the last states in dispute. But the cradle of hip hop, bluegrass, R&B, has always coexisted in the Cuban collective imagination. History shows it, and music too.
For this reason, today in Magazine AM: PM we wanted to undertake a journey that transports us from coast to coast and where Cuban musicians connect with the sounds and geographies of the Union. With this playlist the journey to the United States sounds like mambo, jazz, trova, like song. It also knows the embrace between cultures, respect for creation.
San Francisco / Irakere feat. Chucho Valdés
(Blue Note, 1998) is a controversial album, because it marks the transition from Chucho Valdés, director of the most powerful jazz orchestra in Cuban music, to Chucho Valdés soloist at the beginning of the century. Fissures aside, the result continues to be an all-star as only the giant from Quivicán knows them nuclear, with pieces like San Francisco, a tasty instant standard in which the tumbao of the piano to the rhythm of boogaloo and the exuberant metals —particularly the sax of César López— they take us to see the best possible sunsets from the Golden State Bridge.
De Nueva York a La Habana / Gema y Pável
Track 17 of that double jewel that is Art Bembé (Peer Music Publishing, 2003), an interactive album where there are any not only because of the extraordinary list of guests and instrumentalists, but also because of the number of genres of our music that appear and because of the fact that it was recorded between the United States, Spain and Havana.
California / Carlos Varela
The seventh track of El grito mudo (independent, 2019) brings us back to Carlos nostalgic for the “land of emigrants, hippies, gays, grass and redwood forests”. For the singer-songwriter, the golden state inhabits his voice and memory, and becomes a place where "to love each other, you don't need law or governments, or oratory."
Inspiración en Connecticut / Harold López-Nussa
A small club in a dream town in the No. 5 state of the Union. Harold and his musicians, touring deep North America, and suddenly a tuned piano in their hands. The composer could not resist the temptation to express his state of mind, there, then. The theme is included in El Viaje (Mack Avenue, 2016), the first album by a Cuban jazz player produced by a North American record company after the milestone of the reestablishment of relations between the United States and Cuba.
Un cubano en Nueva York / Bimbi y su Trío Oriental
The hard life of the Latin immigrant in this great city is told in this theme thanks to the incomparable picaresque of the guaracha and the scathing that always characterized Bimbi. The language barrier and discrimination are here exposed at the height of 1940, through a replay of the lexicon in the key of Spanglish, with the montuno that repeatedly hammers like a voice of conscience, to say: “get tough Cuban, you are In New York".
New Orleans / Chucho Valdés & The Afro-Cuban Messengers
Honor, honor, Chucho Valdés knows this well, who in 2010 included this tremendous song with which he pays homage to the Marsalis family, one of the fundamental pillars of the musical tradition in the most caribbean of the north american states. With trumpets as protagonists, and with Chucho's piano setting the pace, the sextet runs wild in a frenzied journey through sounds in which one can breathe, more or less explicitly, the vapors of the cradle of jazz.
Miamera / Pável Urquiza
A tribute to Miami, a city of nuances and contrasts, of hopes and sorrows, of people from all parts, races and social contexts; set of islands connected by expressways where not all faces smile every day. Pável Urquiza composes this collage with pieces from that city and summons several Cuban singers and musicians who live in Florida or in other states of the Union for a multilingual theme, but that continues to sound Cuban.
California en clave / Roberto Carcassés
This is perhaps a love song. A song with swing, sensual. A song to listen to on a full moon night, from a balcony in Havana or Oakland, a city on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, where some years ago Roberto Carcassés sat down to compose this track. It appears on the album Matizar (Interactive Records, 2008) and the lyrics are a co-authorship of the Cuban pianist with Sherezad Stone. Manhattan Burn / Paquito D’Rivera
Manhattan Burn / Paquito D’Rivera
This song is a sample of the irrepressible diversity that characterizes the album that it names, published by the Cuban saxophonist in 1987. It is jazz, yes, but as it progresses, one suspects that the theme is becoming different, and that everyone is burning along with Manhattan (as if Manhattan were the giant heart of New York about to explode in any of the six minutes of the track).
Van Van meets New Orleans / Harold López-Nussa
One of the songs from the last album by pianist Harold López-Nussa: Te lo dije (Mack Avenue Records, 2020), composed with four hands with trumpeter Maykel González, where they mix the Anglo-Saxon tradition with Latin rhythms, playing to imagine how it would sound an orchestra like Los Van Van having been born in New Orleans. Double tribute to the locomotive of Cuban music and the quintessential jazz city of the great northern neighbor.
Georgia On My Mind / Arturo Sandoval
If there is one American territory that filled our conversations this November, it is the state of Georgia. Here we remember her with this song written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and that our Arturo Sandoval interprets in the best way he knows: trumpet through and in Spanish.
Manhattan Mambo / Pérez Prado
Sergio Santana in his research tells us that this is one of the themes that obeys a well-thought-out commercial strategy by the king of the mambo: to captivate the North American public not only through his music, but to try to catch it first with local titles. Broadway mambo or St Louis blues are also found on this string.
Hialeah / Harold López-Nussa
How good Harold sounds! On a Facebook live while rehearsing, at NPR's Tiny Desk Concert, at the Kennedy Center, and playing Hialeah in the streets of Old Havana accompanied by Gastón Joya and Ruy Adrián López-Nussa. Harold amuses himself while ringing in the sun, and hums what his hands tell us to listen to. Born as a melody to accompany fragments of the character represented by Isabel Santos in the film It is not before, the theme was later completed by its author as his particular musical representation of what is probably the most Cuban of the Florida neighborhoods.
Un bongosero en Nueva Orleans / Pancho Amat
Pancho Amat has always insisted to us that between Cuba and New Orleans there are more musical kinships than at first glance. But expressing these links through an instrument as Cuban as the tres, and with such an ancestral format that it orbits around the septets, are more difficult words, although Pancho himself tells us that this has always been there. A very elaborate, intelligent, funny composition and, at the same time, respectful of those bonds, which tells us about the adventures of a bongo player on a very, very short tour.
Llegada a Nueva York / Columna B
Although the theme that opens the album Twisted Moon (Bombo Musical Productions, 2001) was written by Roberto Carcassés and Yosvany Terry for the soundtrack of the film Violeta, it is not fortuitous that it is the first cut of the album. In an autobiographical sense, the title of the song also refers to the arrival of the saxophonist to the city that never sleeps, and it is a display of the best Latin jazz in which Carcassés on piano, Jesús Díaz on percussion, and Terry's vibrant sax — wanting to make a place for himself in the jazz mecca, as it has been in fact.
Cuban music magazine, without distinctions of genres or geographies.