4 January 2007


Well,what can you say about this that hasn't been said before.Probably the hardest,heaviest and certainly the rarest afro cuban jazz lp ever made.Recorded in a 3 hour session for the Musicor label in 1967 who decided it wasnt commercial enough and pressed just 500 copies.Check the band:
Mark Weinstein - trombone Arnie Lawrence - alto sax Mario Rivera - baritone sax
Chick Corea - piano Bobby Valentin - bass Kako - bell and palito Julito Collazo - conga and bass drum Tommy Lopez - conga drum Papaito - conga drum
Now read on:
Originally released in 1967 on Musicor, Mark Weinstein's classic "Cuban Roots" with his Cosa Nueva Orchestra has at long last been re-issued on CD by Catalogue Music [this was written about 2004-however its just made a reissue in Japan] laboriously restored and remastered from the best available vinyl discs as the original master was long lost.
The entire album had been recorded in a single three hour session in a tiny studio, and all tracks are first complete takes. Even the original Musicor release was not of the greatest technical quality and in fact rather harsh-sounding, and an early re-release on Ariola suffered from a flawed pressing and fuzzy sound. With the current CD re-issue, "Cuban Roots" can be heard far better and far more cleanly than ever before. Don't expect the perfection of a modern digital recording, or even of a remaster from an original analogue high quality master, though. This would be plainly impossible to achieve. But the quality is still very, very good indeed and a real joy, especially if you've ever heard the vinyl releases
Dedicated Afro-Cuban/Latin jazz aficionados will not need reminding what a momentous event the release of Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots" was back in 1967 and why it almost instantly acquired legendary and even cult status. "Cuban Roots" represented an epic revelation. Never before had Cuban folk and especially Santeria rhythms been heard outside the boundaries of Cuban folk music. The complexity and sophistication of these rhythms came almost as a shock in the jazz world. Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots" was - is! - as mind-blowing as few albums before or since. Despite a distinct lack of critical acclaim at the time, the reputation of "Cuban Roots" spread rapidly through the ranks of Afro-Cuban jazz devotees on both sides of the Atlantic. As the album was never widely available (at any rate on this side of the pond), musicians and connoisseurs alike would often gather around whomever was fortunate enough to have a copy to listen to this amazing revolutionary recording. The popular excitement "Cuban Roots" generated was quite extraordinary. The original release quickly became a prized collectible and today probably is one of the most collectible vinyls on the planet, while even the Ariola re-release is quite sought-after and you'd probably have to be incredibly lucky to find one.
In addition to the sophisticated complex Afro-Cuban rhythms, the equal complexity of the ensemble writing and playing on Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots" also stands out. The great spontaneity of this recording is given a further edge by the fact that it was based on a single full band rehearsal. Weinstein's crisp hard-edged trombone hardly stops playing, alternating between improvs and playing the second voice in the arranged responses mainly owing to the lack of a second trombonist. In addition to Weinstein, the band is comprised of a formidable array of luminaries. Mario Rivera on bari, then with Tito Puente, held the horns together. Arnie Lawrence on alto was picked on the strength of his prowess as a mambo dancer and his innate timing. A young Chick Corea, apparently somewhat bewildered at the rehearsal, on the cusp of his stint with Miles Davis shows much of the panache and style for which he was soon to become renowned. Julito Callazo, Tommy Lopez and Papaito from Sonora Matencera, already giants, here played together for the first time, and Papiro played conga on at least two of the tracks. Congas substituted for bata drums as the latter's use in a secular setting was at the time considered sacrilegious. Bassist Bobby Valentin, known for his great musical open-mindedness, and Kako on bell and palitos completed the line-up.
The opener of Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots", "Malanga", kicks the album off with an instantly riveting beat and complex and almost fierce improvs from Weinstein's edgy trombone and Lawrence's alto. Lennon and McCartney's "Michelle" is a brilliant arrangement that must have served as the template for many a subsequent horn-based version, though the driving as well as driven percussion here has never been approached elsewhere. "Ochosi-Om-Mi" is lyrical, an irresistible groove, with tasty as-if-in-a-dream like improvs. Things approach fever-pitch with "Chango", the hypnotic beats of the percussion driving on the horns, the improvs soaring to ever greater heights of invention. "Ochun" is perhaps the most light-hearted of the pieces, a happy, irresistible groove that practically forces you to jump up and dance - after all, this music, these rhythms, are meant to be danced to. Mark Weinstein's trombone and Chick Corea's ivories are especially driving and provide fine improvs - this is young Corea at his finest, rising to the challenge thrown up by Weinstein. An original Weinstein composition, "Just Another Guajira" continues in a happy vein, like a mambo on steroids. "El Desenganado de los Roncos" is at once very lyrical and incredibly complex, the ensemble playing is out of this world, as indeed are the improvs. "Cuban Roots" closes with "El Barracon", a driving piece, feverish, ecstatic. Even after nearly forty years, Mark Weinstein's "Cuban Roots" still sounds fresh and exciting and still delights and surprises. I still discover something new with every listen, and not only because of the cleaned-up nature of this re-issue.

This superb article was lifted from rainlore.com .
There's also an excellent interview with Mark Weinstein here
The post is a rip of the cd @320 -I have been outbid for a vinyl copy on ebay the few times it has appeared...but one day,one day !!!


Swami Hermitus Solus said...

Back in Force !
Always with the nicest sound !
Your Killing me :)

Have a Great 2007 !
May all your wishes come true


El Swami Hermitus

JoshNorton said...

I just found your blog. AHHH!! You're crazy with jazzy beats, and I'm crazy about your taste. I see some other Cannonball on your site. Any chance you have "The Happy People?" Something about the prospect of Latin Beats from the JuNat team makes my feet tingle ... Any chance of a New year miracle?

Spinning said...

You can order this CD (and others) directly from Mark's web site:


I'm sure that would help him to be able to keep his recordings in print.

bacoso said...

spinning-thats what i did.

faslimy said...

very nice. i think i'll get some of his cds

Spinning said...

bacoso - cool!

Mark has sent me some promos of his more recent releases, and I love what I've heard, so I thought I'd put in a plug for him...


Late said...


A warm thanks for this — a true ear-opener, and a great session.

Looking forward to your new posts this year -- especially those with avant leanings!

mark weinstein, jazz flutist said...

I just found this blog and I feel truly privileged to be included with such great musicians and superlative recordings. Congratulations to Bacoso for the accurate and detailed discussion of my work and my deepest gratitude for the kind things said about Cuban Roots. I'm back playing flute and recording like crazy. You can check me out on my page: www.jazzfluteweinstein.com and hear my latest tracks on www.myspace.com/markweinstein

Mark Weinstein

bacoso said...

mark-truly an honour to have you drop in here.Cuban Roots is one of the greatest latin albums EVER and it has stood the test of time and remains a magnificent recording.I wonder if you ever have time might you contribute a write up on your experience pulling this momentous piece of music together?It would be of great interest to many of the blog visitors and especially myself!I am about to link up your website to this blog and prepare a Mark Weinstein special.Many thanks for dropping by and all your wonderful music...kind regards Bacoso

mark weinstein, jazz flutist said...

I tell the story of the session on the liner notes of the version of Cuban Roots available from my page. Contact me off list and I'd be happy to mail you a copy. You can put these up or I can work something up for you.

Thanks for the interest. I'd be thrilled at anything you put up that brings my recent work to the attention of your readers. Have you heard Algo Mas (Jazzheads, 2005), I think in its own way it is as radical as Cuban Roots. I also have some amazing music I recorded with African musicians that should be out within a year and some other really interesting music I recorded with Cuban musicians this spring.

I have been letting people know about your blog, keep up the good work.


swamielmo said...

bacoso.what a tease. it's gone!

yoav said...


Herrien said...

Nice post, thanks for sharing this wonderful and useful information with us.

Green Tea

Lizzy said...

A warm thanks for this — a true ear-opener, and a great session.

Looking forward to your new posts this year -- especially those with avant leanings!

Acai Berry

Blooming Tea said...

Wow, this is something that I want to hear, very rare Latin music. 'Glad to have found this blog.

blooming tea