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ALEX CUBA BAND Humo De Tobaco (2004)

There isn't much call in my neck of the woods for traditional Cuban music. Nor is there much call for Spanish language albums. Combine the two and have something that can be safely filed under World Music and left to gather dust.

As the label on the can says, the Alex Cuba band (led by Alexis Puentes) is made of Cuban musicians at the top of their game'. No argument there - the playing is faultless throughout. But despite Alexis' previous excursions into latin jazz and rock fusion, what we have here is chilled roots music.

Actually some of it would be quite good if Carlos Santana were to step forward and add some blistering fretwork. But no such luck – not an effects pedal in sight.

If Buena Vista Social Club is your ‘bag' or if you're partial to a bit of latin / samba / salsa then maybe this is for you. Apparently a song from the album will feature on the Strictly Come Dancing TV show. That just about says it all.


Review by Pete Whalley


© 2004 Alex Cuba Band. All rights reserved.

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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