Wednesday 23 November 2016

'Havana '58' by The Bahama Soul Club [Review]

The brand new release from the German-based Bahama Soul Club marks the impressive milestone of being their fourth full-length studio album.  Fans clearly can’t get enough of the band’s infectious bossa nova-infused rhythms established over their past releases, ‘Rhythms Is What Makes Jazz Jazz’ (2008), Bossa Nova Just Smells Funky’ (2010), ‘The Cuban Tapes’ (2013)… and now ‘Havana ‘58’ which continues in the legacy of incredible Latin Jazz stylings.

Prolific tourers and a band that’s accustomed to occupying spots on the German Club Charts and Jazz Charts, the Bahama Soul Club take their musical passion that little bit further by rooting their sound within more a more Afro-Cuban soundscape.  ‘Havana ‘58’ is very much a concept record: a celebration of the “hedonistic world of Rum, Rumba and Roulette” and a theme captured exquisitely through the video for the album’s first single, ‘No Words’, which features Brenda Boykin on vocals.  The video ingeniously uses footage from the 1964 film ‘I Am Cuba’, whose narrator in the film utters the line: "I am Cuba, the Cuba of the casinos, but also of the people" – which again acts as a wonderful introduction to the themes encapsulated within ‘Havana ‘58’.

The Bahama Soul Club are always able to boast a strong line-up of collaborators to their albums, having previously worked with Pat Appleton, Spanky Wilson, John Turrell and Danay Suarez.  This time round sees the band continue in this tradition, now able to tout the talents of the aforementioned Brenda Boykin (who appears on two of the album’s tracks), Cuban vocal group Sexto Sentido, as well as Olvido Ruiz and Arema Arega.

The Bahama Soul Club grow stronger with every release and this is a great one to jump into, not just for fans of the Bahama Soul Club, but also for fans looking to embrace and immerse themselves within the Cuban experience.

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