Led by trumpeter Jesús Alemañy, Cubanismo released its debut in 1997 -- the same year Buena Vista Social Club opened American ears to bounding Afro-Cuban rhythms and richly melodic jazz bounce. Like the Social Club's famed septuagenarians, Cubanismo layers a mesh of dance syncopations from the '40s and '50s beneath an array of supple horns and piano. After working its native sound for two albums, Cubanismo moved to New Orleans, where in 2000 it recorded Mardi Gras Mambo, combining the Caribbean seasoning and ragtime rumble of the region with the jumping salsa and mambos of Alemañy's native Cuba. The resultant stew is a red-hot, hip-shaking gumbo that gives a kind of Bourbon Street sway to Cubanismo's bubbling hot Latino strut. Alemañy blows like Dizzy Gillespie, and there's a plethora of sonic sophistication on display throughout the band's three albums.
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