Music Reviews

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Havana Cultura Sessions / Danay Suarez

Danay Suarez - Havana Cultura Sessions

Brownswood Recordings

One of the pleasant surprises that emerged from Gilles Peterson’s Havana Cultura compilation was the discovery of singer/rapper Danay Suarez. The talented vocalist easily glides from hip-hop to rnb to jazz and her soprano voice is a delight to behold.  One wondered what a treat it would be if she had a project all her own and fortunately someone was listening. Produced by Roberto Fonseca and his Band, this live session in Havana’s EGREM studios showcases her superb vocal phrasing in a jazz forum. On the twenty two minute opener “Ser O No Ser”, Danay swings effortlessly and flows over the gorgeous melodies created by the ultra talented Fonseca on piano. Fonseca and his band play with fire and intensity, seamlessly changing tempo from a slow burn to a spirited fever pitch filled with improvisation of the highest order. On “En Lo Profundo” (In The Depth), is a spirited rumba flavored tune that kicks off with a shimmering timbales and percussions that create haunting rhythms as though they were a wakeup call to the ancestors. Fonseca and his band create plenty of space for Danay’s vocals to soar. The other two tracks are also equally enjoyable, in particular “Hay Un Lugar”, a beautiful ballad. All in all a virtuoso performance by Danay Suarez and a wonderful record that provides a snapshot into the world of Cuban jazz. A four track EP doesn’t get any better than this. Let’s hope the long player is coming soon.

Reg Dancy, 01/11