Jesse Helms was right: The unparalleled sounds of Cuba have been infiltrating our borders with regularity of late. Bamboleo and Buena Vista Social Club served as the advance troops; next, Maraca and Otra Vision will launch the full frontal assault. Flutist and composer Orlando "Maraca" Valle leads his megawatt big band through the full range of Cuban jazz styles made famous by the Buena Vista gang, but he plays them at about twice the rpm's. Maraca spent six years with the legendary pianist Chucho Valdez and his band Irakere before striking out on his own, and he has expanded on his mentor's take-no-prisoners philosophy. Descarga Total ("Total Jam Session") is the name of Maraca's latest release, a freewheeling explosion of percussion, brass and strings that brims with one spectacular solo after another. We'll surrender without a shot being fired.
Maraca and Otra Vision perform Wednesday, July 12, at Metropolis Discotheque, 8935 Richmond. For more info, call (713)975-1917.