Generoso Que Bueno Toca Usted
Pimienta Records, 2002
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/10/2002
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I don't pretend to be an expert on world music. Yet the more I listen to music from around this big marble of ours, the more I come to appreciate how universal of a language music really is.
Of late, I've been receiving a bit of Cuban music in the mail - and my initial experiences with it have been most pleasant. (I'm obviously a late bloomer, having never seen Buena Vista Social Club.) While I might not understand a word that is spoken, I don't have to have the music translated as I listen to the atmosphere the music itself paints.
Grand Afro Cuban Orchestra Of Generoso Jimenez is one such practicioner of this artform, and while Generoso Que Bueno Toca Usted eventually suffers a letdown near the end of the disc, the overall feeling that Jimenez and his wide assortment of backing musicians creates is a reminder of how good Cuban music can be.
Working with established artists like Arturo Sandoval (whose work is simply incredible on this disc), Jimenez and his band create a wonderfully layered sound which permeates the listener's soul throughout the first half of this disc. Tracks like "Vengo Con Sed" and "Las Trompetas Se Divierten" are wonderful tracks which should have your foot tapping in no time. Right from the outset of this disc, Jimenez and his orchestra take a no-holds-barred attitude, making sure they'll capture even a newcomer to Cuban music in its smile-inducing glory.
Things slip a bit on "Dame Un Chance," which just seems to be far too repetitive for my ears. Unfortunately for Jimenez and crew, the disc never really seems to recover from this track - and while tracks like "A Bailar Tomason" would probably have been standouts elsewhere on this disc, they are enveloped by a sense of tiredness at the point in the disc they've been positioned.
I'm more than willing to concede that these feelings might be a result of my limited exposure to Cuban music, and that had I experienced more prior to listening to Generoso Que Bueno Toca Usted, my feelings for the second half of this disc would be stronger. Even so, they don't diminish terribly what I consider to be an exellent selection of songs that makes up the front half.
Like blues artists in this country, too many Cuban musicians who have talent simply oozing from their beings are being left in obscurity. Buena Vista Social Club started to reverse this trend; Generoso Que Bueno Toca Usted should help to further that movement. Jimenez's musical pedigree is strong; now all he needs is for music afficianados outside of the Cuban borders to recognize his talents as a songwriter, musician and bandleader.