I just listened for the third time to ESPONTANEO (Ansonica ar0011), a CD which Ansonica Records recorded at the Abdala Studio just outside Havana this past year.
It features three awesomely talented Cuban musicians, starting with the mega-guitarist Dayron Ortega Guzman alternating with the recently “discovered” tres player Maykel Elizarde. Eduardo Silveira is the unflagging percussionist who provides the driving rhythm for all nine tracks on this CD.
The three friends have much in common, starting with the spontaneity of the album’s title. They also have unending energy that flows throughout the album’s selection of congas, boleros, mambos, and puntos guajiros, all traditional Cuban musical forms into which the three musicians inject a wonderfully laid back improvisatory feel.
In Influencia, a Brazilian chorinho, Elizarde creates dazzling filigree work on his tres. He again gets a favored spot when he closes the CD with a fabulous five minute improvisation at times redolent of Andean music.
The tunes flow, traveling from the urban sound of the now melancholy, now jazzy Mambo Influenciado of Chucho Valdés to the old country classic zapateado Jugando con la Nota. The legendary Fajardo y sus Estrellas provides the familiar Guajireando.
Track 4 features an impressively improvised nine minute long tour de force for the three musicians who get to engage in a competitive but lovingly friendly musical mano a mano.
This is as they say in Spanish for emphasis, punto y aparte one of the best albums of Cuban music I have heard in quite some time. Co-produced by Ortega Guzman and Ansonia’s Bob Lord, and engineered with clarity by José Raul Varona, Espontaneo is a keeper.
Rafael de Acha