Portada de Battangó

En Battangó los hermanos Lewis se ocupan de las composiciones y sin salirse de la atmósfera del jazz nos van introduciendo en un abanico amplio y sugerente de géneros cubanos -desde el bolero a la timba, desde el danzón a la salsa, pasando por los ritmos africanos de la religión yoruba- con el que consiguen dar su particular visión de la música de la mayor de las Antillas. Hoy, reforzada rítmicamente con la batería de Pico y las congas de Yuri.

Especial relevancia adquiere, por lo insólito del planteamiento, la colaboración de Linda Mirabal en la canción que da título al trabajo. Linda es una de las grandes voces líricas de Cuba y su canto a "Shangó" -tan en contraste con la oración que unos instantes después entona Pico- solo podía tener cabida en una producción de música cubana donde es imposible delimitar la frontera entre lo folklórico, lo popular y lo culto. No se trata pues de un experimento al uso, sino la consecuencia natural de una creación en entera libertad, sobre la base musical más libre, el jazz.


After glancing at the cover and label tag, you'd think you'd know what to expect: Latin, jazz, ...or something in between. Right. But wrong.

Although the members of the Lewis Trío originate from Cuba and have enjoyed a certain degree of popularity there for quite awhile, the trio's music goes above and beyond the standard categorical mixture of Latin and jazz.

Hard to believe at first. The first two tracks from Battangó offer more or less flawless jazz, making you feel at ease with your classification. Although, just a minute, something's a little different here. . . correct. The Lewis Trío emphasizes the violin as a melody instrument - and that's relatively rare as compared to jazz and Latin music. OK, you're thinking; no problem, jazz with a violin (and have another look at the booklet: yep, bandleader Ricardo Lewis is the violinist). And then the guys finally start unleashing their vast musical background. This is where it gets tough to categorize (if you're seriously trying to do so): Whether the Lewis Trío cheerfully plays for a coffee house jig, concocts tricky rhythm patterns a la salsa, races through the place with breakneck phrases, or invokes reflective moments - the enormous versatility and craftsmanship of the musicians involved [by the way, the core members of the trio are energetically supported by first-class drummer Georvis Pico and equally mentionable percussionist Yuri Nogueras] will amaze you again and again.

Even with all this musical brilliance, these gentlemen sometimes give the impression that they enjoy a good laugh at themselves (and at music in general) - which makes the whole thing even more enjoyable.

Battangó creates a richly colorful and detailed picture, sparkling full of the pure joy of playing; the overall impression couldn't be described better than "fantastic."


"Battangó is the first jazz release from the Spanish music label Nubenegra.[...]Complex and exploratoty...[...]The music is grand."

(Victory Review, US)