Buena Vista spin-off albums tend to be hit or miss. At their best, they showcase Cuban musical tradition in a new package of sound. At their worst, they're derivative, showcasing not-so-stellar talent

Buena Vista spin-off albums tend to be hit or miss. At their best, they showcase Cuban musical tradition in a new package of sound. At their worst, they're derivative, showcasing not-so-stellar talent. This latest, an homage to the music of the great Arsenio Rodríguez that is reinterpreted by trumpet player Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal (making his solo debut at the age of 71), is a pleasant surprise. Mirabal, a veteran of several Buena Vista albums, lends his instrument to re-create Rodriguez's trumpet-led conjuntos of the '40s and '50s. But he also makes wonderful use of his musicians and singers, including tres player Papi Oviedo in "Para Bailar el Montuno" and singers Calunga and Ibrahim Ferrer. Throughout, Mirabal's trumpet veers from virtuosic brassiness to tasteful accompaniment. This isn't an instrumental album but an example of Cuban ensemble music at its best.—LC