As the doors to Cuba widen, so do they for the island nation’s broad portfolio of lush and vast musical influences. Ranging from Latin jazz inflections this side of the big band alongside traditional choir and chamber music, Cuba’s music scene takes into consideration some of the greatest musical movements of all time and blends them into a barrage of intriguing musical adventures to traverse upon — so much so that one would be hard-pressed to represent them all within a single album.
Two-disc as it may be, this is exactly what producer Bob Lord set out to do late last year when development of Abrazo: The Havana Sessions first began to bud. Featuring a stellar lineup of composers ranging from Margaret Brandman to Roger Bourland and Bunny Beck, Abrazo does a fine job of selecting the right pieces between disc one (jazz compositions) and disc two (classical compositions) to display Cuba’s musical identity on its sleeve. An essential collection for any enthusiast of fine instrumental music or anyone who wants to peer further into the previously elusive country through it.