Puerto Plata with Edilio Paredes

Saturday, March 14

One of the best things about the whole Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon is it has provided a template for world-music impresarios to pluck masterful, aging players out of regional obscurity and successfully bring them to a huge and affluent audience. And they can do it, too, without watering the sound down into Westernized, electronicized pap. Indeed the “authenticity” of these players—their retro aesthetic, their decades of insulation from the corrupting influence of the more developed world—is a big part of how they’re marketed. Sometimes I get a little cynical about the formula. But not when it helps promote brilliant players like Jose Manuel Cobles (stage name: Puerto Plata) and Edilio Paredes, two giants of Dominican guitar. Cobles also sings, beautifully. Their sextet, with electric bass and three percussionists, captures a hundred different Latin influences, with music that’s danceable, wistful, lascivious, and virtuosic at once. They’ve been getting new exposure through the efforts of Benjamin De Menil, a Putumayo veteran with a Harvard MBA.

Sat., March 14, 8 p.m., 2009

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