For the second instalment in our Cuban Classics series, we proudly present this sought-after slice of sublime Afro-Cuban jazz from 1976.
It comes courtesy of one of Cuba's most influential acts, Grupo Irakere. Founded in 1973 by Chucho Valdes (son of the Cuban pianist and bandleader Bebo Valdes) the group was home to many of Cuba's finest musicians over the years. With an electrifying style and sound, they mixed traditional Cuban music with jazz, funk, and rock.
This self-titled album includes the much-loved, dancefloor heavy-hitter 'Chequere- Son', a Latin- jazz funk masterpiece with Cubanized bebop- flavoured horn lines, lush keys, and '70s hip swagger. Though 'Chequere-Son' is the keystone of the record, the album is laced with brilliance at every turn, from the Carlos Santana- esque channelling 'Iya' with its percussive Latin power, to the sultry, slick and passionate '38 1/2'. Elsewhere, the absorbing, ever- building energy of 'Juana 1600' and steamy vocal dancer 'Xiomara' are also highlights of this incredible album.
Pressed on Cuba's state led Areito Records, the album was well received internationally, garnering distribution in Finland on Love Records, in Italy on Phase 6 Super Stereo, and also in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Venezuela.
A cherished Afro-Cuban triumph, this album has been crying out for a reissue and Mr Bongo are delighted to make that happen.