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Chico & Rita

Chico & Rita

By Patrick Samuel • May 4th, 2011
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
CHICO & RITA (CD + DOWNLOAD)
Sony Classical 

Release date: 2nd May 2011
Running time: 60.03 min

Composer: Bebo Valdéz

Performers: Bebo Valdéz, Idania Valdés, Estrella Morente, Freddy Cole, Jimmy Heath, Michael Phillip Mossman, Amadito Valdés, Germán Velasco, Yaroldi Abreu and Pedrito Martínez.

Chico & Rita, a unique animated feature directed by Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal uses the colour and bustle of Havana, New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood and Paris in the late 1940s and early ’50s as a backdrop to tell the story of a gifted songwriter and a beautiful singer both chasing their dreams – and each other.

As a huge fan of this era in terms of the films, music and the effortlessly cool way men and women dressed back then, the soundtrack for Chico & Rita was a huge draw for me. The smooth sounds of jazz evoke a sense of being in that time; sitting in smoky speakeasy bars and enjoying the moment, but it’s more than just that.

Chico & Rita

Cuban pianist, bandleader and composer Bebo Valdés puts together a total of 30 tracks for this compilation and is also featured in the film as Chico. Together with artists such as Idania Valdés, in the role of Rita, and Nat King Cole’s brother, Freddy Cole, who of course takes on the role of Nat, they perform the music of jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Cole Porte and Dizzy Gillespie and put some of the focus on bolero music as well.

There are frantic tracks like “Blues for Andre” and infectious maracas shaking melodies like “Paran Pan Pan” for instance, that really make you want to dance, but it’s probably because of the sentimental side of me that I’m drawn to the romance of the bolero fused songs; “Besame Mucho”, “Celia”, “A Mayra” and “Vanguard String”.

TRACK LIST: 

1. Cachao Creador Del Mambo (00:46
2. Blues For Andre (04:30
3. Besame Mucho (02:06)
4. Con Poco Coco (02:41)
5. Ebony Concerto (01:17)
6. Persecucion (01:32)
7. Celia (02:24)
8. Paran Pan Pan (03:01)
9. Sabor A Mi (01:17)
10. Ay Que Mala E (01:49)
11. Sabor A Mi (03:26)
12. A Mayra (01:49)
13. A Mayra (02:05)
14. A Mayra (00:30)
15. Chico’s Dream (01:24)
16. Ecuacion (03:27)
17. Tin Tin Deo (03:16)
18. Chano Pozo (00:55)
19. Nocturno En Batanga (02:44)
20. Nocturno En Batanga (00:30)
21. Love For Sale (01:45)
22. Love For Sale Reprise (00:42)
23. Lily (01:42)
24. Stardust (01:18)
25. A Mayra (02:43)
26. Vanguard String (00:30)
27. Mambo Herd (01:45)
28. Deportacion (01:31)
29. Lily (05:49
30. La Bella Cubana (04:07)

Spanish flamenco singer Estrella Morente performs “Lily”, the film’s main song, featuring Valdés at the piano. It’s a dramatic, lush and beautifully produced song which moves from soaring heights with Morente’s vocals to sweeping orchestral arrangements with Andy González on bass and Steve Berrios on drums.

For such a lively collection I was surprised that it ended on a sombre note with “La Bella Cubana”, which doesn’t make it any less fitting, it’s a stunning instrumental piece, performed on the piano.

Like Buenavista Social Club (1999) before it, which brought international attention to the music of Cuba, Chico & Rita will certainly get people interested in the bolero music. At the same time it’s also a great tribute to some of these jazz masters, both past and present and it doesn’t rely on you having seen the film or being expertly familiar with the music.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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