1.Mambo No. 5 (Perez Prado) 3:54
2.Drume Negrita (Ernesto Grenet, arr. Brouwer) 3:22
3.Perdido (Juan Tizol) 2:03
4.Ojos Brujos (Gonzalo Roig, arr. Brouwer) 1:59
5.Siboney (Ernesto Lecuona) 4:39
6.Tico Tico( Zequinha de Abreu) 2:29
7.Guantanamera (traditional) 3:52
8.Siempre en mi Corazon (E. Lecuona) 3:09
9.La Comparsa (Ernesto Lecuona) 1:56
10.Lamento Borincano (R.Hernandez) 3:10
11.Bahia (A. Barroso) 4:18
12.Solamente Una Vez (A. Lara) 3:49
13.El Cumbancherito (E. Cordero) 3:06
14.Aquarela do Brasil (Ary Barroso) 3:25
15.Cachita (Rafael Hernandez) 2:50
16.Maria la O (Ernesto Lecuona) 5:19
17.Danza Lucumi (Ernesto Lecuona) 2:41
18.Perfidia (Alberto Dominguez) 3:25
Carlos Barbosa-Lima, guitar
Eddie Gomez, bass on tracks 1, 6, 11 and 18.
Oscar Hernandez, piano, on tracks 1, 6, and 11.
Dafnis Prieto, drums & Latin percussion,
on tracks 1, 6, and 11.
Pepe Torres, congas on tracks 1, 13 and 15.
Imagine yourself sitting at a small back table in a smoky street café in Havana in, say, a hot, lazy late afternoon in the 1950’s. On a very lucky day, you might have heard guitar music which sounds like this …
This album celebrates the “Golden Age” of Latin popular music, in a wide ranging mix of tunes mostly from the 1930’s through 50’s, in acoustic guitar solo and small group arrangements by Carlos Barbosa-Lima, one of the world’s leading Latin, Jazz and Classical guitarists. On several tracks, it also contains Carlos’ first collaboration with the legendary Jazz bassist Eddie Gomez.
The magic of this first recorded collaboration between Carlos Barbosa-Lima and Eddie Gomez is perhaps best exemplified by their irresistible take on the famous Perez Prado original “Mambo # 5” and their high energy, lightning speed take on Zequinha de Abreu’s exciting up-tempo Brazilian samba “Tico Tico”, both with concentrated, spectacularly virtuosic bass solos by Eddie Gomez.
Central composer in this repertoire is undoubtedly Ernesto Lecuona (1895 – 1963), viewed by many as Cuba’s greatest bandleader, songwriter, and pianist of the first half of the 20th century. “Siboney” – Lecuona’s most frequently played love song, here receives a sensuous, deeply atmospheric workout, accented by soft percussive effects on the guitar. The other Lecuona hit songs on this recording are “Siempre En Mi Corazon”, “La Comparsa”, Maria La O”, “Danza Negra” and “Danza Lucumi”, all in masterful, completely idiomatic new solo guitar arrangements by Carlos Barbosa-Lima.
Rafael Hernandez (1896 – 1965), Lecuona’s contemporary, was the most successful and prolific songwriter of the time from Puerto Rico. His vast influence on the musical life of Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and his native Puerto Rico cannot be overestimated. Two of his hit songs are included here: “Lamento Borincano”- arguably the single most famous song from a Puerto Rican composer – portrays the loneliness and suffering of the young composer away from his homeland, in a time of racial prejudices in the completely Anglo – dominant society of New York City in the 1920’s. Carlos’ gorgeous guitar solo version is enhanced by gentle conga – like slaps on the guitar body. “Cachita” appears in a rapid-fire guitar / percussion arrangement, crossing from “salsa” to “samba” to “montuno” rhythms, with a brilliant solo by Pepe Torres on bongos.
This album also contains a composition in tribute to Rafael Hernandez, “El Cumbancherito” by noted Puerto Rican composer Ernesto Cordero (*1946). It is based on Rafael Hernandez’ rumba “El Cumbanchero”, featuring some lively rhythmic call and response effects between guitar and bongos in the first and last section, surrounding a slow, introspective, almost bluesy middle section for solo guitar. “El Viento”, written by fellow Puerto Rican composer Cesar Almodovar (*1948) is a beautiful romantic bolero, arranged by Carlos Barbosa –Lima in a deeply evocative, impressionistic style – where a freely rhapsodic introduction is followed by a more contrapuntal and rhythmic development.
Leo Brouwer (*1939), Cuba’s dominant living composer of the second half of the 20th century has been internationally acclaimed for his phenomenal command of Classical, film music and guitar music genres. A close friend of Carlos Barbosa-Lima, he contributes distinctly personal guitar solo arrangements of two famous popular Cuban ballads “Ojos Brujos” (theme by Gonzalo Roig) and “Drume Negrita” (by Ernesto Grenet).
from left : Oscar Hernandez, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Eddie Gomez and Dafnis Prieto, at the SIBONEY sessions.
Another highlight of this collection is the deftly swinging “Perdido”, an early staple of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, written by Juan Tizol, the Puerto Rican arranger and valve trombonist of the band. This arrangement projects a jazz trio flavor in its solo guitar version, often with “walking–bass” lines. “Guantanamera”, one of Cuba’s most instantly recognizable traditionals, here receives a stunning, richly voiced Barbosa-Lima arrangement which employs the subtle use of guitar overtone harmonics.
Carlos’ version of the slow bolero “Solamente Una Vez” by Agustin Lara, another songwriter of many memorable tunes, is another high point, with its Latin-swing improvisation, and with its sophisticated harmonic treatment.
The album also contains two famous Brazilian tunes of the period, the up-tempo samba “Aquarela da Brasil” and the moody, almost Blues-like “Bahia”, both composed by Ary Barroso – who was a major force in Brazilian popular music from the 1930’s – 50’s. Their inclusion in this predominantly Caribbean collection of tunes is justified by the fact that Cuban band leaders of the period frequently added hit songs from South American and other countries to their repertoire.
For over three decades, Carlos Barbosa-Lima has been regarded as one of the most creative, adventurous and versatile acoustic guitarists on the world stage. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Mr. Barbosa-Lima began studying the guitar at the age of seven and made his concert debut five years later in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. He began his recording career while still in his teens, continuing to appear regularly in concert and on Brazilian television.
Mr. Barbosa-Lima studied with Isaias Savio and the legendary Andrés Segovia. Since his U.S. debut in 1967, he has enjoyed a global concert career marked by numerous distinguished recordings. His many brilliant albums of the 1980’s and 90’s on the Concord label – which include collaborations with guitarists Laurindo Almeida, Charlie Byrd, and Sharon Isbin – are highly sought after by guitar aficionados and Latin / Jazz / Classical music lovers alike. He has also performed as a guest soloist with many of the world's great orchestras and has been the featured performer at several prestigious music festivals. His unique talent as an arranger has been highly acclaimed, and his arrangements have been published, and recorded by several internationally known guitarists.
The breadth of his repertoire and his unique ability to integrate diverse musical styles - from Classical and contemporary to Brazilian and Jazz - are strong features of his work. From Scarlatti and Debussy to Gershwin, Jobim and Lecuona - Carlos Barbosa-Lima delivers highly inspired, deeply musical and technically brilliant performances that have catapulted him onto the world stage. Many important composers have written music for him, and he has premiered such landmark works as Alberto Ginastera's Sonata, opus 47.
After residing and teaching for many years in New York City, and between his regular concert tours in the U.S. and Latin America, Carlos Barbosa-Lima now lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico.