Latin/reg­gae

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tony Hil­lier

Ha­vana Meets Kingston Var­i­ous artists ABC/Uni­ver­sal Ha­vana Meets Kingston brings to­gether the con­trast­ing mu­sic styles of Cuba and Ja­maica. Son, salsa and rumba are in­te­grated and jux­ta­posed to vary­ing de­grees with reg­gae, dance­hall and dub in what is a sig­nif­i­cant lo­gis­ti­cal and mu­si­cal achieve­ment for Aussie pro­ducer Jake “Mista” Savona. Ja­maica’s revered “rid­dim” sec­tion, drum­mer Sly Dun­bar and bas­sist Rob­bie Shake­speare, as­sisted by per­cus­sion­ists Chan­guito (Cuba) and Bongo Herman (Ja­maica), pro­vide con­ti­nu­ity as singers from both coun­tries share the spot­light. Brass play­ers from the Buena Vista So­cial Club and Afro-Cuban All Stars add cred to Savona’s magnum opus. Open­ing with Com­pay Se­gundo’s Buena Vista an­them ChanChan, how­ever, in­vites un­flat­ter­ing com­par­i­son with that col­lec­tive’s high-sell­ing 1997 al­bum. Those charmed by the easy­go­ing, old-school am­bi­ence of the orig­i­nal may find the up­front beats, reg­gae horn pushes and throb­bing Ja­maican bass line in this up­dated ren­di­tion a tad too in­tru­sive. In a dance­hall-in­jected read­ing of El Cuarto de Tula, ro­bust rap­ping is off­set by the Latin-jazz bril­liance of pi­anist Rolando Luna. A re­vamped ver­sion of Can­dela fea­tures the al­ter­nat­ing Span­ish and Ja­maican pa­tois of singers Fran­cisco “So­lis” Robert and Bri­tishJa­maican Randy Valen­tine. Bob Mar­ley’s Pos­i­tive Vi­bra­tion is ren­dered in clas­sic roots reg­gae mode. The dis­tinc­tive phras­ing and tonal­ity of the great Ja­maican gui­tarist Ernest Ran­glin in­hab­its an orig­i­nal in­stru­men­tal, 410 San Miguel.

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