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Nils Fischer & Timbazo !Gracias Joe Cuba!


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Without clave, there is no swing. Like the blood that flows through our veins, the clave is the pulse of this music. And, as all things folkloric, it’s a natural for those who come from within that environment, and not so easily [...]

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Nils Fischer & Timbazo !Gracias Joe Cuba!


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Without clave, there is no swing. Like the blood that flows through our veins, the clave is the pulse of this music. And, as all things folkloric, it’s a natural for those who come from within that environment, and not so easily accessible to those not from within the tradition. Every once in a while a foreigner comes along and captures the attention of the Afro-Cuban aficionado because of the level of swing being presented. This has been the case with Japan’s Orquesta de la Luz and Holland’s Nueva Manteca.  Both of these bands attained wide recognition and acceptance because of the level of authenticity of the music they presented. And now it’s my pleasure to introduce you, the listener, to Nils Fischer and Timbazo.
 
Nils, a highly regarded percussionist, is of German descent. His love for this music began when his sister brought home a recording of Paquito D’Rivera, which featured the conguero, Daniel Ponce. As Nils has put it, this recording would change his life. From then on he would concentrate his musical training, which at the time was in piano, on playing percussion. A graduate of the Rotterdam Conservatory, Nils has also studied in Cuba, Brazil, and Puerto Rico, where in 2003 ironically he would find himself playing with Paquito D’Rivera at the Heineken Jazz Festival twenty years after first hearing that recording featuring Ponce. Since then he has settled in Holland, where in 1992 he was invited to join Nueva Manteca, the critically acclaimed band from Holland. As a result of his association with Nueva Manteca he would go on to play with many other European based groups and quite a few luminaries from the Latin music world. Nils came across “Diggin’ The Most” by the Joe Cuba Sextet when he was in his teens. The band’s repertoire caught his attention and sparked a fire in him that would eventually lead to this recording. In his opinion the band’s sound was unique in that it utilized only a rhythm section enhanced by the vibraphone. Add to this mix the voice of José “Cheo” Feliciano, and what you got was truly a classic sound in the making that was swinging. In tribute to the sextet he set out to capture their sound enhancing it with a brass section. He called on Holland’s top Latin music arranger, Marc Bischoff, along with Alain Pérez and Jan Laurens Hartong to arrange the music for this project. The outcome far exceeded his expectations, in my opinion. ¡Gracias Joe Cuba! covers sixteen tunes from the sextet’s repertoire, and the band shines throughout the entire project. The tunes are approached respectfully, and the added brass section is arranged in such a manner that the band never overplays, but enhances the concept of the originals. The repertoire comes alive with stellar performances from Fischer, Bischoff, José “Pepe” Espinosa, Alain Pérez, Lucas van Merwijk, and special invited guest trumpeter, Brian Lynch. What Nils Fischer and Timbazo have done here is sure to capture the attention of the listener, as well as the dancer in you. This is a project that I am sure will be greatly appreciated by Sonny, Jimmy, Nick, Slim, Tommy, Willie and Cheo, the originators of the Sextet, as well as by all those other individuals that contributed to the Joe Cuba Sextet sound. I’m sure that after the first time you listen, your reaction will be the same as mine: ¡Gracias Joe Cuba, y a ti también Nils! ¡Sabroso! George Rivera, Jazz Con Clave Tampa, Florida


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