- Hannibal/Root Jazz
The 16-piece Cubanismo! group is a hit by world-music standards, but the unassuming hero of the band is pianist Alfredo Rodriguez. He fled Castro's island in 1960, and his playing echoes the sharp, punchy style of Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver. That helps explain why his solo record is that rare item, a collection in which the sheer musicality of the percussion instruments overwhelms everything else. Rodriguez's piano is simply the most eloquently tuned rhythm machine. Many numbers on Cuba Linda combine the high spirits of an all-night party in Havana with a sly veteran's probing experiments in jazz chords and beats.