Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor is one of the more popular contemporary Cuban bands and
A Toda Máquina one of their most successful albums. Pianist Blanco can certainly string together some infectious tumbaos. As I think Giraldo Piloto is saying on the CD’s sleeve note, in Cuban music the tumbao can be more important than the song itself.
The tracks are mostly a comfortable dance tempo, even for an old codger like me. Their best songs are immediate and easy to like. They deliver musical equivalents of the ingredients that we are hardwired to crave – sugar, salt and fat, though to continue the analogy, I have to say, the latter is “cheese.” Given that a hefty portion of the songs are variations on the themes of various Los Van Van songs, if you’re a fan of the latter few are likely to take you anywhere you’ve never been.
All in all, the best of A Toda Máquina is catchy dance music. The arrangements have some interest but are generally heavy handed and overly mark the beat. This is often the case with coros and horn moñas, which are ponderous at their worst. If you want some currently popular Cuban dance music, this may be it. If you don’t mind giving your music time to grow on you, dig around and you’ll find much richer elsewhere. Check out any of the Los Van Van albums here for starters.