The idea for
this recording was born during a memorial service in April 1998 for Emilio Vandenedes, a respected
public radio broadcaster in Los Angeles and Miami. Emilio was a fervent supporter of Cuban
music and had many fans, both in Cuba and the U. S. The music at his memorial was filled
with passion and inspiration, performed by many of the musicians who had known and loved
As Emilio's longtime friends and former colleagues (at KXLU's "Alma Del
Barrio"), we were moved by the great intensity of the performances. Along with our
partner George Hernández, a film producer and co-founder of the Los Angeles International
Latino Film Festival, we began what we thought would be a modest recording project
featuring several of the musicians from Emilio's memorial who have had long careers but
had never received the recognition they deserve.
As the recording got underway, many of Cuba's best-known musicians expressed great
interest in reuniting with some of their old friends and fellow band members now living in
the U.S. Many had known Emilio as well.
Late Night Sessions turned into a series of
reunions, both musical and personal, beginning with the very first session. Al McKibbon
(the bassist who played Afro-Cuban jazz with Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo in the late
'40s) and Francisco Aguabella reunited here after first working and recording together 36
L.A.-based José Caridad Perico Hernández
reunited with his childhood friend Jesús Chucho Valdés, and also with his fellow sonero
(singer) from '50s Havana, Pío Leiva.
Raúl Travieso Rodríguez, brother of the late Cuban music
legend Arsenio Rodríguez and a great musician in his own right, joined many of his old
friends on this, his first recording in several decades. (Check out his hypnotic drumming
on the güiro segment of "Afrekete Suite.")
The reunions were not limited to the older players. Three
young, extraordi-narily talented musicians, Miguel Angá Díaz, Orlando Maraca Valle and
Carlos Del Puerto, Jr., who had recorded together many times in Cuba, also reunite here.
Carlos also had a chance to play with, and pay homage to, one of his musical inspirations,
fellow bassist Al McKibbon. Del Puerto's arrangement of Cuban classical composer Ernesto
Lecuona's "La Comparsa" features solos by both outstanding musicians.
These reunions turned into a celebration of Cuban music-its
past, present and future-and of the musicians who interpret it with such passion.
¡Que viva la música!
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For lots more info, check out the site for this great CD: http://www.caravanacubana.com
Emilio Vandenedes was the subject of a tremendo tribute at
the '98 Jazz Fest in Havana.