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The Buena Vista Social Club: “Chan Chan”

In 1999, Ry Cooder coaxed several Cuban musicians out of retirement to record an album. The project was filmed by Cooder’s friend Wim Wenders (the director of Wings of Desire). The players ended up performing as The Buena Vista Social Club in Amsterdam and at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Compay Segunda’s Chan Chan was perhaps the biggest success. Ruben Gonzalez’s Mandinga also is great.

Here is more pretty music from Cuba: La Familia Velera Miranda plays Puro Son en Concierto, Igor Arias Baro, Julian Chang and Yuniel Jiménez perform Besitos in New York City and a Changui Guantanamo group presents a tune that doesn’t appear to be named.

One Cuban who came to the states and became famous is Arturo Sandoval, who played trumpet with Dizzy Gillespie for years. Here the two performs Gillespie’s A Night in Tunisia in Havana in 1985. The best known Cuban-born American entertainer is Desi Arnaz, who of course was married to Lucille Ball and starred in I Love Lucy. Here he performs Babalu.

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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