Luis Frank y su Tradicional Habana Viva Cuba

The phenomenal success of Buena Vista Social Club and their offshoots means that there is far more Cuban music in the shops than ever before. So much of it is salsa-by-numbers, naturally, but the Buena Vista bunch and Afro Cuban All Stars have tweaked even the major labels onto the fact that there's a huge appetite for Cuban son, the root of just about every other major Afro-Cuban sub-genre. Luis Frank's ensemble actually recalls recent albums by Buena Vista alumni Barbarito Torres and Eliades Ochoa: simple, guitar-based songs with great vocal performances and harmonies. Even if there are the umpteenth covers of "Guantanamera" and "La Bamba," they sound fresh and renewed, not like sops to a remedial audience. Buena Vista fans really should cotton on to Viva Cuba in a hurry. (Universal)