Dance to the rhythm of a new beat

Crystal Ballroom
1332 W. Burnside
April 27
8 p.m.
$20 advance, $22 day of show
21+ w/ID

When one thinks of Cuban music, the Buena Vista Social Club immediately comes to mind for many. As essential as that film and the accompanying album of the same name were in capturing the spirit of Cuban music, one must wonder about the modern (re-)interpretations of the Cuban soul.

��Cubanismo! first gained attention in the United States with their 1996 self-titled debut, and have captured audiences ever since with multiple releases on Rykodisc Records and world tours. Formed by Jes퀌_s Alema퀌�y initially as an all-star recording project in Havana, their first live performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fair sparked their current popularity and respect as one of the world’s best Latin jazz dance bands. But they are beyond the Latin jazz label, as Cuban music in itself is an intricately complex and almost unclassifiable fusion of various elements ranging from African to Latin to Caribbean sounds, such as rumba, cha-cha, son and lesser-known danzon and pa’ca rhythms.

Alema퀌�y plays trumpet and also serves as writer and composer for the 15-piece band. He uses arrangements in the descarga (jam) tradition developed by Cuban jazz players of the 1940’s, while using elements of rhythm and blues, New Orleans jazz, reggae and other dance grooves in combination with rhythms based on the Cuban son.

Coming from East Los Angeles, Quetzal grew out of the artist-activist community there and grew out of inspiration from the politics of Los Angeles and Mexico in the 1990s. Their album Sing The Real reflects this amalgamation, as does the international flavor of its eight members, who come from all backgrounds and musics, including hip-hop, Afro-Cuban, African, Mexican, jazz and classical.