Eliades Ochoa y el Cuarteto Patria
Sublime Ilusión
Virgin/Higher Octave

Cuarteto Patria is among the most distinguished trova (ballad) quartets in Cuba today, and Eliades Ochoa ranks among his generation's finest vocal stylists and guitarists, after such legendary masters as Marcelino Guerra "Rapindey," Francisco Repilado "Compay Segundo" and Ñico Saquito. Born in Santiago de Cuba, Ochoa began his career as an 11-year-old street singer, and he has led Cuarteto Patria since 1978. While Ochoa's role in Buena Vista Social Club may have been the first exposure for many, he and Cuarteto Patria have a lengthy international touring and recording history (e.g., A Una Coqueta and The Lion Is
"Carino Falso"
Loose, both on Corason, distributed by Rounder). A deeply expressive lyricism, vocal intensity and guitar mastery suffuse this stylish mix of bolero, tango, guaracha, son and son montuno. Superbly engineered, this release reveals (far more than previous titles) Ochoa's picaresque sensibility, startling tenor range and brilliantly inventive instrumental style (hear his flawless interpretation of Lecuona's "La Comparsa," with Ry and Joachim Cooder). Other guests include trumpeter Luis González, guitarist David Hidalgo and an unlikely but perfectly understated harmonica spot by Charlie Musselwhite. Impeccably sublime and without illusion, a definitive work beyond category, Sublime Ilusión is indispensable for aficionados of the Cuban quartet. - Michael Stone

Buy it at cdroots.com

sound sample: "Carina Falso" (Traditional); © 1999 Virgin/Higher Octave, used by permission

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