The album comes as a heavyweight triple vinyl and deluxe double CD, complete with extensive sleeve notes, and is jam-packed with heavy bass lines, synth and Wah-Wah guitar funk combined with the heavyweight percussion, powerful brass lines and the all-encompassing Latin rhythms of Cuban music known throughout the world.
The album is released to coincide with the massive new deluxe large format book Cuba: Music and Revolution: Original Cover Art of Cuban Music: Record Sleeve Designs of Revolutionary Cuba 1959-90, published in November, which is also compiled by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz Records), and which features the music and record designs of Cuba, made in the 30-year period following the Cuban Revolution.
The music on this album features legendary Cuban groups such as Irakere, Los Van Van and Pablo Milanés as well as a host of lesser known artists such as the radical Grupo De Experimentación, Juan Pablo Torres and Algo Nuevo, Grupo Monumental and Orquesta Ritmo Oriental, groups whose names remain largely unknown outside of Cuba owing to the now 60-year old US trade embargo which remains in place today and which prevents trade with Cuba – and thus most Cuban records were only ever available in Cuba or in ex-Soviet Union states.
The music on this album reflects the most cutting-edge of Cuban groups that were recording in Cuba in the 1970s and 1980s – who were all searching for a new Cuban identity and new musical forms that reflected both the Afro-Cuban cultural heritage of a nation that gave birth to Latin music – and its new position as a socialist state. Most of the music featured on this album have never been heard outside of Cuba.
Both Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker have been involved in Cuban music for more than two decades – Gilles Peterson with his many Havana Cultura projects for his Brownswood label and Stuart Baker with a number of Soul Jazz Records albums recorded in Cuba. This Soul Jazz Records album is released in conjunction with Egrem, the Cuban state record company, and has been put together after the many crate-digging trips that both compilers have made on the streets of Havana and beyond in Cuba stretching over a 20-year period, searching out rare and elusive original Cuban vinyl records.