HAVANA ’58, the decadent jet-set heaven when Cuba was a tropical playground. A pleasure dome of sensual overload and rum-fuelled abandon, where shows and showgirls were dazzling, gambling was high-stakes, and revellers included Marlon Brando, Ernest Hemingway, Frank Sinatra and J.F.K., to name a few. Mojitos, Mobsters, Mambos & Muchachas. A forbidden, hedonistic world of Rum, Rumba and Roulette. The full range of Sexual freedom, official corruption, and Mafia control ignited the rampant party – until Sylvester 1958 when Fidel Castro’s revolutionaries took the floor.
Bahama Soul Club’s 4th album presents a very personal soundtrack, a musical homage, inspired by a vibrant verve that never came back. We encounter a heady blend of glittering nightclubs, outrageous cabarets, fashionable hotels and look deep into backstreet brothels, empty wallets and bemusing décolletages. Rumba is everywhere.
With their first albums BSC established an elegant and percussive cocktail of Latin Jazz, Soul, Bossa and Boogaloo, to which they now add the dark, sensual and alluring mystic of Tiki and Exotica into the mix. What we get is a new Caribbean long-drink named: HAVANA ’58 …… Genre: Afro-Cuban Jazz …… Style: 60s/cinematic …… Sound: Hi-Fidelity-Plus
As could be heard on award-winning previous album “The Cuban Tapes”, the fascinating voices of hand-selected Cuban singers have a strong influence and special effect on this production as well. Cuba’s leading vocal quartet SEXTO SENTIDO surprise us with traditional Yoruba chants in “Eleggua”, irresistible complex harmonies in the magnum mobster opus “Meyer-Lansky” and show us some disco love in “Tropicana Flight”. The vivacious OLVIDO RUIZ, singer in the Bahama Soul Club live band (long awaited and for the first time on recorded disc), presents the full bandwidth of her expressive vocal ranged from Boogaloo (“Muévelo Papi”) to Lounge (“Night Breeze”) up to the dark 6/8-ballade “Let God”. And once again we find the lovely AREMA AREGA with rolling “Rumba Fugaz”.
These ladies were selected by Gilles Peterson for the well-respected Havana-Cultura-Project and reveal their traditional Cuban roots when combining fun and intellect while smartly ignoring passing trends. More than any mambo mania and tiring salsa they stand for the swinging lightness and pulsating cosmopolitan lifestyle of the contemporary Cuban scene. Finally, as a very special guest: The American Jazz and Soul singer BRENDA BOYKIN from the mighty Club Des Belugas with the hypnotic “No Words” and the shuffling “Dizzy’s Bounce”.
The video to first single “No Words” starts exactly at the point where the previous video “Ay Jona” ended. Once again it is composed by breath-taking pictures of the most deliriously beautiful film ever made: “I Am Cuba”, directed in 1964 by Mikhail Kalatozov and presented in the 90s by Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. The rights owners‚ The Cuban Institute of Cinematography, were deeply impressed by the quality of the new music and agreed to combine the award winning footage with the upcoming videos to feature “HAVANA ’58” with pure genuine Cuban patina. Un abrazo.