What? Only nine tracks? Yes, it’s quality over quantity on Tanto Le Pedí. If some of my
reviews criticise bands for lack of originality, tired arrangements and sterile formularisation, it’s next to Timba like this that I’m measuring them. Along with genius keyboard player and arranger Juan Carlos González, Lozada jumped from the wreck of suspended Charanga Habanera in early 1998. They formed a 15 piece band around themselves and produced one last burst of recorded brilliance. Here it is.
For Tanto Le Pedí Timba Cubana have created an entirely new sound. The percussion is as alive and vibrant as anything I’ve ever heard, flamboyant in its virtuosity. But there’s more to this. The brass avoids comfortable harmony and predictable timing. Steel pans, doubtless a keyboard effect, add another layer to the percussion on some numbers. I haven’t heard this since Frankie Dante’s Los Salseros de Acero, which, it would be remiss not to mention, features the much missed Markolino on keyboard. Most material wants for nothing, even Lozada’s third variation of self-penned Beso De Queso, here renamed as the title track.
Above this bacchanalian cacophony, Lozada sings his lyrics. His faintly comic, Frank Spencer like voice is a perfect delivery system to push the boundaries of the morally and politically acceptable. Of all the great tracks, for me Allá Va Eso is a Desert Island Disc and it will always remind of my first stock delivery from Caribe Productions in 2001. Back then, you just ordered blind, or deaf rather, from a catalogue and crossed your fingers. This one didn’t disappoint. If you don’t like this, I’m guessing Timba isn’t your thing.