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Juan Pablo Torres Y Algo Nuevo - Super Son LP



The next release in the Mr Bongo Cuban Classics series, is one of Juan Pablo Torres' most-known and loved albums, the iconic Super Son from 1977. A wonderful record of tripped-out rumbas, psych-Afro-Latin funk and quirky orchestrated tracks with a big band horn section courtesy of Torres' band, Algo Nuevo.

As well as being the director of Algo Nuevo and Cuban all-star ensemble Estrellas de Areito, the trombonist, bandleader, arranger and producer also released a wealth of albums under his own name predominately on the state-owned imprint Areito/EGREM. Post-revolution, there was a contrast in Cuba's musical world. State censorship was at play, but professional musicians were on the government payroll which gave them an artistic freedom. Experimentation emanated in the '70s and '80s and Super Son is a prime example of that. 'Y Que Bien' kicks off the album taking you down a tripped-out, cosmic rabbithole, psych guitars and skat vocals opening up into a joyful funk groove laced with jazzy Afro-Cuban horns stabs. Tracks such as 'Pastel en Descarga' seem to come out of nowhere and are completely unique. Fuzzed-up guitar lines and percussion lay the groundwork, with those jubilant horns adding to the energy of this forever building track.

Elsewhere, there's the '70s TV theme-tune feeling of 'Con Aji Guaguao', a playful funk number that boils and bubbles with blistering trombone playing by Torres. Or 'Son A Propulsión' and 'Son Riendo', two more brilliant examples of psychedelic funk, wrapped up in a blanket of Afro-Cuban rhythms. The former sweeping you up in rushes of wind as trumpets, trombones and distorted guitars trade off, the latter, an intergalactic fiesta of tradition and exploration. Super Son is up there as one of the funkiest Cuban records around, a playful fusion of ideas from a producer, player and group on fine form and, for us, one of our favourite gems to come out of Cuba in this period. A sheer masterpiece.

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