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Omara Portuondo Pablo Milanes and Chucho Valdes on the latest Klimax recording
It is impossible to talk about the last two decades of Cuban popular music without mentioning band leader and drummer Giraldo Piloto. His group Klimax has just released its latest studio effort Solo tú y yo, on the Bis Music label.

The composer-arranger of such salsa anthems as Ella es un reloj, Entrégate a mí and Nadie se parece a ti, Piloto once again shows he is in a class all his own when it comes to writing catchy hits in the current style of salsa, mixed with a dose of just about everything including son and guaracha.

Piloto has always been oriented to pleasing the dancer but is also known for his ability to mix in wit and humor to paint a scene of daily life in Cuba. Trading houses (La permuta), going out to find some evening romance (Salir de conquista), and the "stunning anatomies" of women seen on the streets of Havana (La matrícula) are just some of the examples of Piloto’s joy of describing daily life in musical delights that do not resort to the tiniest drop of vulgarity.

Piloto is completely at home n this realm but leaves a little to be desired perhaps in his treatments of ballads such as Vuelve a mí, which maybe should have been left off the CD.

Piloto’s arrangements and those of his "righthand," pianist-composer-arranger, Yusef Diaz, make this album by Klímax a powerful and well-balanced production, showing a maturity absence in some of the groups early material in the second half of the 1990s.

Another excellent part of this production is Piloto’s great sense of selecting guest musicians. Sometimes, artists and record producers invite too many stars, maybe as a way to try to guarantee acceptance of a new album; not so with Piloto. Omara Portuondo’s contribution is poetic justice. Portuondo became famous in the 1960s singing a song composed by Piloto’s father and Alberto Vera, Sólo tú yo.

Pablo Milanes and is beautiful sense of melody is on the piece Rosita y Laura. Cuban heavyweight Chucho Valdes rounds out the list of guest appearances giving an almost romantic touch to the album. Valdés has a long relationship with Piloto and his family having played with his uncle and father and several times integrating Giraldo Piloto himself into some of his jazz ensembles.


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