I guess about three years ago now I got the album by Buena Vista Social Club (I think there might be two actually but one of them is a live one), and I liked it, but didn’t come back to it very often. That band’s pianist was this man, Ruben Gonzalez, who has been playing with jazz groups since the 1940s. However, it wasn’t until the popularity of Buena Vista Social Club that he got the opportunity to record an album as bandleader; you can tell just by looking at the photo that he’s getting on up there.
Despite that, this album has a lot of energy and spirit. It occasionally falls into the trap that some Spanish-language music with horns does for me of sounding like Mexican restaurant music (by no means am I trying to disparage mariachi music or other traditional Latin genres, I’m just not as well-versed in them), but Gonzalez’s playing is also highly interesting and entertaining. He isn’t super virtuosic, but the choices he makes for the melodies he uses are always charming and appropriate.
Anyway, I like this album a lot. It’s easier to get into and digest than, say, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, but it doesn’t sacrifice complexity in order to obtain enjoyability.