Mambo Sinuendoby Ry Cooder, Manuel Galbán
For a certain breed of Cuban music fan, the most exciting revelation of Ry Cooder's Buena Vista Social Club sessions was the rediscovery of guitarist Manuel Galbán. Arranger and six-string stinger behind Havana doo-woppers Los Zafiros, Galbán practices a twang-rich Latin surf-pop that sounds utterly unique (and would remain so today if New York downtown axeman Marc Ribot hadn't independently come up with a remarkably similar vision some four decades later). A contemporary of Cooder's, Galbán is the most simpatico sparring partner Cooder's had since his Cuban sojourn began, and the pair's full-length exploration, Mambo Sinuendo, radiates with pleasure. Leading a sexteto rippling with sinew -- BVSC bassist Orlando "Cachaíto" Lopez, conguero Miguel "Angá" Diaz, plus drummers Jim Keltner and Cooder's son Joachim -- the pair mine a smart, soulful groove that nudges on exotica, psychedelia, and lounge jazz, and do it all without winking. (Unlike Ribot's Cubanos Postizos, who follow a similar path laden with enough irony to stop a '52 De Soto.) The joy is genuine on these classics, from the Venezuelan standard "Caballo Viejo" to the Zafiros hit "La Luna en tu Mirada" to the Django Reinhardt favorite "Secret Love." Following Cachaíto's marvelous solo turn in 2001, Mambo Sinuendo proves the vitality of these players, who, far from mining the now wildly popular strains of vintage son, explore the music with the grit and grins of jazz veterans. For Cooder's fans, the album delivers what BVSC hinted at with a slide-guitar run here and a wah-wah solo there. With his Cuban blues by way of Hawaii and Duane Eddy, Cooder reasserts his fretboard mastery, goaded on by Galbán's chunky twang and steaming organ. An early front-runner for the best album of 2003.
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This is classy stuff. Ry Cooder never disappoints. My wife and I put it on as soon as we got home. We sat down to relax, play some cribbage, poured a beer, and had a toke. WOW. This is classy stuff. We smiled, we tapped our feet, we grinned and grinned some more. I think that was the most fun I ever had playing cribbage. This is classy stuff.
And say that this is the finest recording to grace the face of this great earth! I love this cd! It's been in my cd player since yesterday and it hasn't come out yet. The arrangements are fantastic, and the cover is so sleek and cool! I want an old corvette like the one on the cover. Bravo!