Manuel Guajiro Mirabal

COMPOSERS: Manuel Mirabal
LABELS: World Circuit
PERFORMER: Manuel Mirabal (trumpet), etc.


The catch-all title Buena Vista Social Club appears on Manuel Mirabal’s first solo album, but there isn’t too much in common with the famous 1990s issues under that rubric except that he was generally lead trumpeter. Here, too, there are other stars.

Even as trumpeter he’s one among three, and the arrangements have far less in-your-face trumpet than the previous album. Their character comes from chordal brass, more naively scored and sometimes appealingly rustic in delivery: most of the tracks were single takes.

Mirabal saves his displays for peak moments, poking up brilliantly out of the texture. Some recent Buena Vista albums have scraped the barrel, but this is one of the best – easy-paced and refreshingly spontaneous.


Vocals are shared around: the bold, bright and smooth Carlos Calunga takes the lion’s share and Ibrahim Ferrer, ancient but still personable, shows up for a superb slow number which ends with an ostinato chorus building to an angry trombone-trumpet duet.