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Afro-Cuban All Stars: A Todo Cuba Le Gusta

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Like the name suggests, a Cuban band. A big band: they've got multiple singers and a full horn ensemble. According to Wikipedia, they dabble in every style of Cuban music. I'll take their word for it, because I'm not familiar enough with these genres to tell the difference.

The band, and this album in particular, owe their fame outside Cuba to the Buena Vista Social Club. Several of the All-Stars—Juan de Marcos González (tres), Rubén González (piano), Orlando Lopez (bass), and Ibraham Ferrer (guitar and vocals)—played in BVSC as well, and this album in particular was recorded concurrently with the sessions that led to BVSC's self-titled album. (That's also why Ry Cooder was around to play a guitar solo on "Alto Songo".) Incidentally, that was the entire reason I bought this album in the first place—I already had and loved BVSC, so I figured a related project would be good as well, and I was not disappointed.

If you only listen to one track, listen to: "Habana Del Este". A nice, slower, instrumental opener, then it switches to cha-cha halfway through. Also, it's the only song on the album to feature the flute. If I remember the liner notes correctly, this arrangement for the instrumental part is original; it was traditionally performed by a string ensemble with a solo trumpet.