‘En Canto’ is La Moderna Tradicíon’s third release, and the first full-length CD I recorded, mixed, and co-produced, in addition to playing piano and singing background vocals. Our first two CDs focused on instrumental versions of traditional Cuban danzón and cha-cha-cha; ‘En Canto’ added contemporary timba-infused songs to our repertoire and showcased new band members: lead singer Eduardo Herrera and master timbalero Carlos Caro. Recorded and mixed entirely at my ‘home studio’ – a.k.a. my living room and spare bedroom.
‘Cenizas’ is co-leader Tregar Otton’s arrangement of a classic ballad (bolero) standard from Mexico, which transforms it into to an up-tempo guaracha. ‘Carnegie Hall’ is a danzón made popular by Cuban flute master Antonio Arcaño, featuring themes from Tchaikovsky. ‘Bajo Mi Piel’ is Tregar’s contribution to the great tradition of danzón-ification: drawing source material from classical music, Broadway tunes, Cuban folk music, or just about any other style, and fitting it into the rhythms and arrangement form of the danzón. It’s amazing how many diverse kinds of music can be danzon-ified; this one is a Cole Porter standard. The clip from ‘Amor Fugaz’ is an example of a timba-style breakdown section, where everybody drops out except percussion, piano and vocals, and I have the daunting task of lifting the energy with a hard-driving montuno – often for several minutes nonstop – without getting tendonitis.