Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Rubén González

  • Introducing . . . Rubén González [World Circuit, 1997] A-
  • Chanchullo [Elektra, 2000] A-
  • Momentos [Escondida, 2005] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Introducing . . . Rubén González [World Circuit, 1997]
Never much for horn sections, I've always preferred my clave straight from the timbales, perhaps with some charanga violins for accent. But in part that's because not even Eddie Palmieri gives up as much montuno as this 77-year-old Cuban virtuoso, making his first album as a leader five years after he thought he'd retired, his joints aching and his home piano consumed by woodworm. Rhythm and romance flow from his old-fashioned digital memory as he and his friends jam the classics, guaracha to bolero to cha cha cha. A-

Chanchullo [Elektra, 2000]
"More powerful, energised, vital and confident," insist the notes, but with the crucial exception of confidence, which allows him to cut down on the classical flourishes, your ears will disagree. After a miraculous debut, Buena Vista's resident genius, who is now 81, elects with the wisdom and limits of age to lay back on a deep-rooted band record whose poky backwater feel is about time rather than place. None of that newfangled Los Van Van hubba hubba for these gents. They're old men playing the music they love. A-

Momentos [Escondida, 2005] Dud