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Havana Blues Mambo by Pablo Menendez

Best known for his internationally recognized Afro-Cuban Septet Mezcala, Pablo Menendez is arguably one of the most recognized Cuban guitarists of this era. Born in Oakland California to famed folk singer Barbara Dane, the young guitarist quickly began exploring his Cuban roots early in his career and studied in Havana during the 1960’s. But it wasn’t until the 80’s that Pablo found his critically acclaimed status with the induction of Mezcala to the world’s stage.

Pablo’s full length exploration of his Cuban heritage in "Havana Blues Mambo" begins with the Percussion and Sax laden "Mambo Influenciado". As Pablo deftly runs the stringed gamut with fellow guitarist Miguel Miranda, Rafael Paseiro lays down a thick electric bassline with Luis Badell taking on the skins. The album continues with African nuanced "Akate Oba Oba" and follows with a range of Afro, Latino, and World styled pieces complete with the instrumentation you would expect from the best of Mezcala. Laid back, groove-heavy songs like "Sueno Con Serpientes" and "Grifo-Animal Mitologico" pave the way for more blues friendly progressions.

Overall, the album is prime example of the artistry and imagination of Pablo, and the influence of years of cross-genre exploration.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Pablo Menendez
  • CD Title: Havana Blues Mambo
  • Genre: Latin Jazz / Latin Funk
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: ZM
  • Rating: Four Stars
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