Son Yambu ‘La Maravilla’ (Apollo Sound) 4/5

Very long-term fans of Latin music in the UK may just be able to remember the first releases of Latin Jazz on the Apollo Sound label which goes all the way back to 1964! For the rest of us, a forty plus year wait is long overdue, but this new album, firmly rooted in the Cuban conjunto style tradition, is a most welcome addition. Precious few authentic Latin music recordings reach these shores beyond the standard modern day salsa and the various off-shoots of the Buena Vistas, but this London-based band, fronted by lead voclaist Yuri Moreno, is the real deal. The opener ‘Baila con mi tumbao’ sets the scene to dramatic effect and the evergreen tunes, three of which are truly classic Arsenio Rodriguez compositions, makes for an enthralling listen. Of the trio, ‘No me llores’ and ‘Dundunbanza’ are stand outs while the call and response vocals on ‘Co Co Mai Mai’ with soaring trumpet and a fine mountuno-style percussion section is probably the pick of the album. Forty years is a long time in the music business, but in the capable hands of new band Son Yambu it has been worth the wait. Tim Stenhouse

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