Sunlightsquare Latin Combo* ‎– Havana Central

Sunlightsquare Records ‎– SUNCD009
CD, Album

Tracklist Hide Credits

1 La Banda
Flute [Featured Soloist], Piccolo Flute [Featured Soloist] – Gareth LockraneTenor Saxophone [Featured Soloist] – Brandon AllenTrombone [Featured Soloist] – Trevor MiresTrumpet [Featured Soloist] – Yanko Pizaco*Written-By – C. Passavanti*
2 Havana Central
Tres [Featured Soloist] – Luis Amaurys Leyva SuárezWritten-By – C. Passavanti*
3 Para Cuarachar
Tres [Featured Soloist] – Luis Amaurys Leyva SuárezWritten-By – C. Passavanti*
4 I Believe In Miracles
Written-By – B. Taylor*, M. Capanni*
5 Bebidas Para Ti, Y Ron Para Mi
Flute [Featured Soloist], Piccolo Flute [Featured Soloist] – Gareth LockraneTrombone [Featured Soloist] – Joel Sagó BellWritten-By – C. Passavanti*
6 Así Toda La Vida
Tenor Saxophone [Featured Soloist] – Brandon AllenTrumpet [Featured Soloist] – Quentin CollinsWritten-By – C. Passavanti*
7 Teardrop
Tenor Saxophone [Featured Soloist] – Brandon AllenTrombone [Featured Soloist] – Trevor MiresWritten-By – A. Vowles*, E. Fraser*, G. Marshall*, R. Delnaja*
8 El Pollo De Carlitos
Tres [Featured Soloist] – Luis Amaurys Leyva SuárezWritten-By – C. Passavanti*
9 Chan Chan Boogaloo
Written-By – C. Passavanti*
10 Toca Otra Vez
Flute [Featured Soloist], Piccolo Flute [Featured Soloist] – Gareth LockraneTres [Featured Soloist] – Luis Amaurys Leyva SuárezWritten-By – C. Passavanti*, Q. Collins*

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In a digipak case.

℗ & © 2010 Sunlightsquare Records.

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July 31, 2010

By Griff

Sunlightsquare have been steadily developing a name for themselves lately. After dabbling with jazz dance stuff in their first album, keys maestro Claudio Passavanti took a trip to Cuba, gathered a band and recorded. The results are spectacular. Superbly produced and keeping one foot in the UK jazz dance sound the album crosses over better than a lot of straight up salsa stuff. The band are excellent and I have to single out the Tres player who is on fire throughout. Para Guarachar and Havana Central are two massive tunes thought I imagine the big single will be the immaculate version of the Jackson sisters' 'I believe in Miracles'. Fully salsa but sounding uncannily like 80s London jazz dance anthem 'You've gotta have freedom' by Pharoah Sanders'. Huge. This LP is essential for those that love their latin with a heavy dose of jazz.


July 31, 2010


I’ve had this for a while but it’s been hard to prise out of my car CD player. What we have here is a great Salsa album, actually amazing in places. There are many moments that put me on the edge of my seat with excitement and, as a DJ, many great tracks to play out (and I will). Personal criticisms are just that I don’t like the Salsa cover of the Jackson Sisters rare groove classic ‘I Believe In Miracles’, and I find it quite aggravating that there is a 4X4 House Music-type groove apparent in the background of a lot of tracks. It’s not loud enough to detract but it doesn’t enhance the authentic Afro Latin grooves either. That said, what album is perfect all the way through? The album oozes with excitement and pyrotechnics the way the best Salsa does. I can’t imagine hearing a better album in that genre this year.


July 31, 2010
edited over 7 years ago


Claudio Passavanti’s talented Latin-jazz fusionist troupe presents a highly charged, highly impressive homage to Cuba, with an album that was actually recorded in Cuba’s legendary Radio Rebelde building – set up in 1958 by Che Guevara.

The music on offer sounds even more impressive when you realise that it was recorded through the big hurricanes Gustav, Hannah and Ike; the Combo lost lighting on several occasions and had to record by the glow of candles. Expect a mix of feel good salsa, chaotic jazz and laidback Latino ramble here; at all times the percussive, horn and key sections sound superb. Really, really fantastic work.


July 31, 2010
edited over 7 years ago


Just how contagious is the music of Cuba? It has spread far and wide in a veritable pandemic. It is no longer an underground thing, something the Brits love to call any music that is not conventional rock and pop (how inane those monikers now sound). The seismic activity that comes from SunlightSquare Latin Combo on Havana Central was in fact a cracking session that the ensemble recorded over on the sunshine isle—no not Her Majesty’s territories at all, but Che’s and Fidel’s. There can be no doubt that a Brit combo like SLC would have been transformed by the flights of musical fancy that they collided with in Havana. The evidence is in the swaggering music that is steamy and innovative from end to end.

There is something truly magical about this session, something too many expat musicians miss when delving into their passions—but not in this case, with Italian-born keyboard artist, Claudio Passavanti. The missing piece in too many American and Canadian adventures is the tres, a four-stringed, shrill guitar derivative. This instrument is native to Cuba and very different from guitar derivatives across South America—for instance, the violaõ in Brazil and the charango in Peru. The tres is double-stringed and tuned in 2nd inversions of C or D chords. It is played rhythmically with melodic lines and chords are rarely strummed, but the tres strengthens the melodic line in a 3rd or 6th above with rhythmic fills in between. There are a few examples of virtuoso playing, but the finest on the record is heard on “Toca Otra Vez.” This is a dramatic coo-down after a particularly heated and wound up set and the elegiac drama of tres and piano is beautifully intertwined towards the middle of the piece.

The other dramatic event on this album is the sublimely graceful melding of instruments—including the brass and woodwinds—with percussion and keyboards. This is true Cubanissimo style playing, where the son muntono is classically suave and almost like velvet snuggling up to silk. For that the inspiration must come from the meeting of minds—Passavanti’s and the Cuban contingent led by “Toni” Rodriguez. And why there has not been more son and bolero with the gravitas of the Hammond B3 will remain a mystery. This is just as the magic of the Hammond B3 is unlocked by Passavanti for this project.

A final memorable element of the music is its harmonic richness throughout. “Bebidas Para Ti, Ron Para Mi,” “Asi Toda La Vida” and “Teardrop” are fine examples of how vertical embellishments can be contrapuntally arranged and performed in a manner so like the magical; double-helix that they become almost unforgettable. This music echoes long after the final musical notes have faded into the past, thanks to these organically interwoven devices.

Review written by: Raul da Gama for LatinJazzNet