Sierra Maestra represents the passing of the torch between the golden age of Cuban music and the more contemporary scene we have become accustomed to when we think of the improvised music associated with perhaps the one country that may have had more influence with the exception of Brazil on the improvised music we know as jazz here in the United States.
The importance of Sierra Maestra can not be understated as even the original line up of the Buena Vista Social Club incorporated two members of Sierra Maestra. Having recorded for numerous labels, this World Village release is one of the most important works of the new generation of Cuban songwriters. The roots of Sierra Maestra extend back to 1976 when the original concept of the ensemble would be to tackle the musical ground somewhere between funk and Brazilian which was increasing rapidly in popularity across the island. Instead Sierra Maestra was born out of respect to Eastern Cuba which was the birthplace of this music and all most forty years later they find selves with a replenished lineup, a new label and international touring. A strong and concerted effort to add the young blood needed to infuse the old and the new sounds of Cuban music while keeping both feet firmly planted in the more traditional roots of the classics that made up the Golden Age has been no easy task. Much like the island nation, musical and lyrical directions are shifting and becoming more contemporary and moving past the images of a half century of oppression.
The two youngest members of the ensemble which not having contributed original compositions as of yet are from a performance standpoint showing an incredible grasp of the traditions that began to propel this music going as far back as the 1930's. The five musicians here are steeped in the history and tradition of the authentic Cuban sound and fans of the music should flock to this release that is packed with flavor.
Personnel: Carlos Puisseaux, Alberto Valdes, Luis Barzaga, Eduardo Himey and Alex Suarez.
Tracks: Pal' Monte, Un Toque De Bembé, Me Guardas Rencor, La Mulata Presumida, Benito Hechizo, A Una Mujer, Persona Mi Traición, Juan Andrés, El Mas Pequeno Deseo, Sangre Negra, La Vida Sin Ti, Estado De Animo, A Ti, No Te Sale!!