From Dee Billia at SOPAC:
The Afro-Cuban All Stars are credited with re-introducing the classic sounds of popular Cuban music to the world. Led by Juan de Marcos Gonzàlez, the Afro-Cuban All Stars will bring the infectious rhythms of Cuba to the South Orange Performing Arts Center on January 10 at 7:30 p.m. The Grammy Award-winning big band has evolved over the decades from an ensemble showcasing musicians from older generations to a combination of youth and experience.
The ensemble has come a long way since their international hit records Buena Vista Social Club, and A Toda Cuba Le Gusta. Still under the leadership of Juan de Marcos González, Cuban music tradition remains the core focus of their work. González, who splits his time between Mexico, the United States and Cuba, continues incorporating new elements to his music, be it working with rappers as part of his program at the Arts Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or adding non-standard instruments in Afro-Cuban music such as vibraphone and bass clarinet to his ensemble.
González´s initial idea for the All Stars was to record two albums: one utilizing the Cuban big band format with period orchestrations, which became The Afro-Cuban All Stars´ A Toda Cuba Le Gusta. The other was planned as an acoustic recording Gonzalez describes as “a tribute to the Cuban music of the 1930s and ‘40s, evoking the sound of Eastern Cuba, more laid back.” The album, produced by guitarist Ry Cooder, who also played in it, was eventually named after one of the songs selected: Buena Vista Social Club. And then, says González, “everybody fell in love with the playing of Rubén González…I wrote the arrangements right there in the studio.”
The current line-up of Afro-Cuban All Stars consists of the finest Cuban expatriate musicians in the world today, all alumni of Cuba’s greatest bands. The Afro-Cuban All Stars electrifying performance pays tribute to Cuba’s popular music marrying the past with the present in the grandeur and grace of the world’s greatest orchestras.
The Afro-Cuban All Stars will bring their rich cultural musical heritage to the South Orange Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, January 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45-$65 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at (973) 313-2787.