Maraca & the New Collective | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | International | Chicago Reader

Maraca & the New Collective Recommended All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Fri., Sept. 12, 7:30 & 10 p.m. 2008

Since kick-starting his career in ’88 with a stint in the mighty Irakere and then emerging in the mid-90s as a Latin-jazz heavy in his own right, Cuban flutist and bandleader Orlando “Maraca” Valle has covered a lot of ground: his bands have moved from Latin jazz into classic hard salsa and from there into more modern-sounding, funk-driven timba. The group on the new . . . Lo que Quiero Es Fiesta!!! (Ahi-Nama) is his slickest yet and unfortunately the least engaging. I’m sure this band can light up the dance floor live, but on disc the sharp horn work of earlier records is just an afterthought—the arrangements are clogged with synths and occasionally marred by wailing guitar solos or stultifying reggaeton beats. The sound isn’t without its virtues, but Valle can do much better. —Peter Margasak

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