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Roberto Fonseca - ABUC / The Australian review

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Roberto Fonseca is a charismatic Cuban revivalist and revisionist whose work carries the seal of revolutionary zeal. While he has made a significant contribution to his country's music continuum, including a stint with Buena Vista Social Club, the industrious piano maestro takes that exploration to a new peak with ABUC. Fonseca's ninth album and his first release for Impulse, one of America's premier jazz labels, is what the title obliquely implies - that is, a backwards perusal and dissemination of Cuba's jazz history. What the moniker fails to convey is the personalised and visionary nature of the artist's approach.

ABUC is as adventurous as 2012's Yo, in which the Havana-based keyboard virtuoso, composer and producer drilled down into Cuba's musical roots with a stellar West African crew. This time Fonseca's creations showcase a coterie of Cuban legends, including his mother, singer Mercedes Cortes, and Buena Vista's trumpeter Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal on the breathtakingly beautiful bolero study Despues. Fonseca has recorded another fellow Social Club alumnus, Eliades Ochoa, singing a co-penned song, Tumbao de la Unidad, as though his voice were filtered through the mists of time, while his compadre's hybrid guitar-tres weaves mesmerising son figures between stabs of electric guitar, staccato piano and percussion.