Review of Asere: Junio Groove – respecting their barrio roots

Asere began life as a Timba- style band who reflected the enthusiasm and excitement of 1990's barrio Havana. After lengthy touring outside of Cuba they have now re-emerged, enthusiasm intact, as a group of seriously talented musicians who can sound at ease in a variety of styles. Whether they are playing traditional son from Oriente, Havana rumba, New York influenced salsa or even flamenco- inspired grooves, Asere have the confident sound of a group at their peak.

The musicianship throughout is inspiring – the tasty bass playing of Michel Salazar, the brilliant guitar lines of Andrez Valdez and the confident trumpet of Michel Padron (who also directs) provide a beautifully crafted sound for the vocals of David Echevarria and Vicente Arencibia and never cross the line into self indulgence. For this reason the album is always enjoyable to listen to as well as being ‘bailable'.

Junio Groove was recorded in England and in Spain as well as in Cuba; however, this does not result in a fragmented or disjointed sound: on the contrary, Asere have managed to absorb the influences that they have collected on their travels and used them to take Cuban music to new places whilst retaining and respecting their barrio roots.

This is an ideal album for anyone looking for the sound of new Cuban son; in a similar way to Los Jovenes Clasicos, Asere have set new standards for soneros across Cuba to aspire to; and fans of Cuban music can enjoy the results on this excellent album.Dave Willetts

Review published in CubaSi magazine Spring 2010

To buy Asere: Junio Groove CD