Recorded in Japan in 1980 and released originally as a Japanese exclusive vinyl LP, Irakere's 'Cuba Libre' is considered a long lost gem in Latin jazz by one of the most influential, contemporary conjuntos to emerge out of Cuba. For collectors of obscure Latin jazz LPs, the remastered album is like the holy grail of Cuban music. Composed, arranged, and produced by Japanese musician Chikara Ueda, the re-issue has long been out of print, never to be released outside of Japan until now.
The six-track album will drop in May under Far Out Recordings, a label that specializes in Brazilian music and is starting to broaden its radar to include Cuba. The record will be Far Out's first Cuban release. Formed in 1973, the legendary, multi-Latin Grammy winning Irakere -- originally comprised of a prodigious cast of players, including world-renowned pianist Chucho Valdés, ace trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, sax player Paquito D'Rivera, the late, master percussionist Jorge 'El Niño' Alfonso, and Oscar Valdés on vocals, amongst others -- is considered a pioneering exponent of the Afro-Cuban music, jazz and funk fusion. With almost the entire, original lineup intact, the only change being D'Rivera's replacement by German saxophonist Velazco Vrdeliz, 'Cuba Libre' is a crate digger's dream come true; a salvaged piece of Cuban music history in the form of a rare and brilliant recording.
Irakere's Nearly Forgotten Treasure 'Cuba Libre' Gets New Life
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