Roberto Fonseca is a 38-year old Cuban born composer and pianist. He’s the son of singer Mercedes Cortes Alfaro, who has sung on his records, and the half-brother of drummer Emilio Valdes and pianist Jesus “Chuchitos” Valdes.
Along with touring with Buena Vista Social Club, Fonseca has released eight albums including this one, dropped recently by Concord Music. It’s a spectacular melding of a number of influences -- from Cuban sonority to African rhythms to traditional jazz harmonies -- that's easy to digest while still encouraging multiple listenings. The dazzling “Mi Negra Ave Maria,” which features a beautiful poetry reading by Mike Ladd, is, alone, worth the price of admission.