If Hollywood ever comes calling to make a movie about the blazing Cuban timba band Tiempo Libre, the film will have to open with a scene of six young kids avidly practicing their instruments in a rundown Havana elementary school. Classically trained, Russian-style, at Havana’s vaunted national School of the Arts, they also absorbed the forbidden sounds of jazz and R&B via illicit cassette tapes and Miami radio broadcasts, which they received illegally with antennas made from scraps of aluminum foil. Flash forward some 25 years, as ecstatic audiences across Asia, Europe and North America cheer the same group of guys who took circuitous routes to reunite in Miami as adults. Steeped in Cuba’s hard-hitting timba dance style, Tiempo Libre made a powerful impression with its self-produced 2004 debut album Timbiando, but it was the band’s wild live performances that made it a sensation. They have played at the Hollywood Bowl, Jazz at Lincoln Center, on The Tonight Show and on numerous Telemundo and Univision TV programs. Tiempo Libre has been nominated for several Grammy Awards, and the group’s brand new Sony album, My Secret Radio, celebrates the profound influence that American music has had on their lives.
Joaquin (El Kid) Diaz vocals
Jorge Gomez piano, musical director
Luis Beltran Castillo saxophone, flute
Raul Rodriguez trumpet
Tebelio (Tony) Fonte bass
Armando (Pututi) Arce drums
Leandro González congas