"The music of IRAKERE is not for the faint-of-heart. Much of it is effervescent and loud. And there are some aspects of the group’s music that may not appeal to Jazz purists such as the use of electronic keyboards, bass and guitar. And the occasional use of Rock-inflected rhythms may raised the dreaded specter of “Fusion” for some.
However, if Afro Cuban Jazz is music that you find pleasure in, then it doesn’t get any better than IRAKERE: the soloists are scintillating, the extended unison phrases that Valdés constructs for the horns are some of the best you’ve ever heard since Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie last played together, the ballads and romantic dance tunes are lushly arranged and caringly played and the Spanish words fuego [fire] and caliente [hot] barely come close to describing the pulsating power generated by the group’s Latin rhythm section."
- The editorial staff at JazzProfiles
Latin or Afro-Cuban Jazz has been missing from these pages for far too long and the editorial staff at JazzProfiles thought it was rectify this omission with a posting of this video, as well as, a re-posting to the blog sidebar of our earlier piece on Irakere. Featuring Arturo Sandoval on trumpet, Paquito D'Rivera on alto saxophone, a scorchingly hot Latin Jazz percussion team headed-up by Enrique Pla, and the composing-arranging and keyboard skills of leader Chucho Valdes, at its pinnacle in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Irakere was arguably the finest Afro-Cuban Jazz group on the planet.