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Review: 'iQba: Jazz Meets Cuban Timba' 

Carlos Averhoff Jr.

'iQba: Jazz Meets Cuban Timba'

Inner Circle Music

Saxophonist Carlos Averhoff Jr. has the perfect pedigree to introduce a new strain of Afro-Cuban music to unfamiliar listeners. If you recognize his name, it's because Carlos Averhoff Sr. was a member of the legendary Cuban ensemble, Irakere. Averhoff Jr. came of age a generation later, at a turbulent time in Cuba. While he was developing his sound in dance bands in the 1990's, the country's citizens were enveloped in an economic crisis. To Averhoff Jr., the music of the time, called timba, went hand-in-hand with the ingenuity of the people in dealing with the crisis. Hence the album's title, "iQba,"is a play on words combining IQ and Cuba.

With the superb pianist Rolando Luna, fiery trumpeter Alexis Baró, and the excellent rhythm section of bassist Néstor del Prado, and drummer Oliver Valdés, Averhoff Jr. adds the rhythms of timba to originals and standards like Sonny Rollins' "Bolivia." Deep into this journey with the sinuous saxophonist, it seems perfectly logical - toward the end of Bob Haggart's "What's New" - to hear him quote "Salt Peanuts" by Dizzy Gillespie, as a tribute to the man who introduced Afro-Cuban jazz to the United States in the first place.

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