Ten years ago, when Blanco y Negro first appeared, their combination of Cuban music and Scandinavian jazz seemed an exotic novelty. Now, relaunched with some phenomenal new players, they’re almost mainstream, but by no means run of the mill. The trickiest task is keeping the Latin and jazz elements in balance, and this they manage perfectly.
The music is dynamic and imaginative, and the musicianship superb. All five members have a hand in the composition. Outstanding among them are pianist Abel Marcel and saxophonist Karl-Martin Almqvist, while the conga playing of Eliel Lazo is among the most impressive I’ve ever heard.