Afro-Cuban All Stars | Center for Performing Arts, Governors State University | International | Chicago Reader

Afro-Cuban All Stars All Ages Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., March 20, 8 p.m. 2009

Thanks to draconian DHS policies instituted under Bush, Cuban musicians have been unable to travel to the U.S. since 2003. So tres player and arranger Juan de Marcos Gonzalez—the guy who rounded up the talent for Buena Vista Social Club—had to get creative when he was putting together the current lineup of his long-running big band, the Afro-Cuban All Stars. Like Gonzalez, who’s now a Mexican citizen, the musicians are all Cuban expats—among them Minneapolis-based pianist Ignacio “Nachito” Herrera, Amsterdam-based trombonist Alberto “Molote” Martinez, and Madrid-based trumpeter Yaure Muniz Rumayor—which will make it easier for them to secure the appropriate visas. (If all goes according to plan, they’ll be 15 strong.) These days the band’s arrangements of classics from Cuba’s rich heritage sound more contemporary than its early work, and in any case there’s nothing groundbreaking about it—but of course that isn’t the point. This group is precious because it lets us hear this music played by people who grew up with it in their blood. —Peter Margasak

Price: $35-$55

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