Casino… el baile popular – Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son


No fillers, no recordable space left unused. This 
Adalberto Álvarez CD is back to back quality modern Cuban Son. The tracks come from the last six Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son albums and include the 2018 masterpiece, “Los Buenos y Los Malos,” one of the most beautifully written and arranged pieces of our time. A treasure for any lover of Cuban popular music, the songs are the work of one of the great figures in the last forty years of Cuba’s illustrious musical history, and his band. Tracks were singled out, however, to please and inspire the Casino or Salsa dancer. Numbers range from rough edged and raucous to the most finely detailed, sophisticated orchestration and from gentle mid-tempo to fairly pacey. ¡Cuidado!
Adalberto Álvarez is internationally renowned as a band leader, arranger and especially as a song writer. His songs changed the face of Salsa in Latin America as well as of Son in Cuba. This band was formed in 1984, six years after Álvarez first impacted upon Latin American music with his original band, Son 14.
Trained at the world famous Escuela Nacional de Arte through the 1970’s, he formed Son 14 with Eduardo “Tiburón” (Shark) Morales in 1978. Writing and arranging most of their music, ripples began to spread right from their first recording in 1980. Cuban music expressed a different tradition and reality from those of El Barrio in New York and the rest of Latin America. As it diverged through the 1980’s, from the easily danceable but increasingly formulaic Salsa popular in Latin America, Alvarez’s bands were two of the few able to break the cultural blockade of the island.
Taken up by the best of New York and Puerto Rico’s bands, many of Álvarez’s songs were transposed into a Salsa orchestration, given a constant tempo and smoother vocals. In the hands of Puerto Rico’s Sonora Ponceña particularly, they became some of the greatest Salsa ever recorded.
The 1990’s saw the Cuban economy virtually disintegrate while it’s cultural expression, Timba, exploded on the capital’s dance floors. Having taken a back seat during this “Special Period” Álvarez found his moment in the early 2000’s as the Timba revolution receded.
It might take a keen ear as well as some familiarity with his  older work to find the thread connecting this material with that of the 1980’s. This is modernised conjunto style Cuban Son that will be as accessible to a Salsa as to a Casino dancer. Whatever the style, these songs are dripping with Cuban flavour. Whether brash or powerfully understated, they are characterised by subtle melody and unexpected, often melancholic chord shifts that have always been a hallmark of Álvarez’s work. Less a feature of his early work but often found here, are frequent chorus changes that reinvent and energise a song several times over its course. A delight to the dancer.
The greatest song would amount to little without a means of delivering them. The musicianship of Álvarez’s band is impeccable throughout. Coping effortlessly with these often challenging arrangements, they show an understanding of when to fill space or leave it empty that comes only with living and breathing a culture.
© 2018 TimbaMerchant

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© 2018 Timbamerchant Ltd

Adalberto Álvarez albums

Back to Timba & Cuban Salsa

*TimbaMerchant’s recommendations below*

01 **Mi Linda Habanera**

02 **Amor De Mentira**

03 **La Manía De Caridad**

04 *El Melón*

05 *La Lengua*

06 **Los Buenos y Los Malos**

07 *Aprende Muchacho*

08 *La Cuenta y La Rueda*

09 *Lección De Amor*

10 *Un Pariente En El Campo*

11 *Vete*

12 *Tu Falta De Ortografía*

13 **Gozando En La Habana**

14 *Para Bailar Casino*