Music genres often fade into oblivion like matter vanishing into a black hole. It is this type of musical erosion that compelled Juan de Marcos Gonzalez to initiate his homage to Cuban music of the mid 1900's (pre-communist Cuba). Composer, arranger, percussionist and bandleader Gonzalez compiled the 18 piece Afro Cuban All Stars outfit in 1998. The "All Stars" sought to revitalize the effervescence of Cuba's unsung musical virtuosos and old-timers. However, most importantly the band re-introduced the world to the musical excellence Cuba produced between the 1940's and 50's.
The "All Stars" blend of Jazz and Cuban tinged salsa incorporates former members of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club alongside younger talent. This wonderful culmination of both old and new forms of Cuban music produces a salacious dance and party atmosphere. The sonorous clatter and rattling pulse of Afro Cuban rhythms along with a powerhouse smorgasbord of horns, vocals and blazing jazz piano in tunes like "Amor Verdadero" (features Cuban musical sensation Manuel "Puntillita" Licea), "Los Sitio Asere" and "El Canallon" are pure ear candy. "Habana Del Este's" wah induced guitar lead in the intro will captivate even the most discerning guitarist. Every pulse of this 75-minute compilation is synonymous with astounding musicianship. Hopefully next year The Grammies won't overlook this musically dynamic and emotive Cuban band.