Humo De Tabaco - Alex Cuba Band
Not many thirty year olds can claim more than twenty-five years experience in the music business. But, the relationship between Alexis Puentes and Cuban music goes back further still. It was the birthright he shared with his twin brother, Adonis … a gift passed on by their father, Valentin who was an accomplished guitarist in Artemisa, Cuba. For his debut disc with the Alex Cuba Band, Alexis chose to record in Havana’s celebrated Egrem Studios, even luring the legendary Chucho Valdez to add his talents to the project. Alexis has also made some very astute decisions in selecting duet partners for two of the disc’s highlights. The first single, Lo Mismo Que Yo, a ballad, makes the seemingly unlikely pairing of Puentes with Ron Sexsmith, who turns out to be such a natural sounding choice; you have to shake your head in disbelief. Another duet, Dramatica Mujer matches Alexis with American pop-light singer, Jason Mraz for a loping salsa complete with contemporary production touches. It all works really well. Despite its title, Humo de Tabaco is a breath of fresh air. Not only does it illustrate Alexis Puentes’ intimate knowledge of the traditions he grew up with, it’s a reflection of his current life in North America … between them, pointing to an exciting future for Cuban music.