Music Reviews

Harold López-Nussa

Timba a la Americana

12 of the best tracks from 2023

Blue Note

Formats available: Download, CD, Vinyl

Harold López-Nussa – Timba a la Americana

This album pays homage to the aphorism ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. It is Harold López-Nussa’s sixth album and while all the signs point at a hot-blooded latin jazz that will erupt from the first note to the last, the album has some unexpected revelations that may surprise and intrigue those who are expecting a romp through the street of Havana. It certainly ain’t necessarily so.

López-Nussa is a Cuban born pianist who calls France his home, Timba a la Americana is his debut on the Blue Note label. It has been heavily promoted and counts Snarky Puppy Michael League amongst its creative team. Joining López-Nussa are Grégoire Maret (harmonica), Luques Curtis ( bass), Bárbaro Crespo (congas) and López-Nussa’s brother Ruy Adrián López-Nussa who has been accompanying him on all his previous albums (drums).

Timba a la Americana

Timba a la Americana consists of ten original written pieces that offer a meditation and reflection of Latin American, Cuban and Afro-Cuban beats and rhythms that are emulsified with the sound of López-Nussa’s new home. The first and most unexpected surprise is the lead instrument on most of the track which is not piano, but rather Maret’s harmonica. While accordions have been known to accompany and even lead Latin American music, harmonica is far from being a staple of the genre.

Three tracks stood out in this album and merit on their own a consideration for a rapid purchase. The opening track Funky with its jazzy, latin Toots Thieleman esque riffs, Afro en Toulouse which intermingles Cuban Afro laced with latin Cuban piano and the last track Hope that pays homage to gospel interspersed with blues jazz music, to my ears this is by far the best performance of by this excellent band.

Reuben Klein

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