Best Latin Band - 2008
Miami has its fair share of illustrious Latin bands. Still, the sizzling rhythms of Tiempo Libre stand far above the rest. Formed in 2001, Tiempo Libre — Free Time — plays in the style of timba, which blends traditional Afro-Cuban beats with fresh pop genres such as hip-hop, house, and jazz. Known for its ultravigorous live shows, the seven-member ensemble, led by pianist Jorge Gomez, is also a formidable studio band. Their brilliantly produced album Lo Que Esperabas/What You've Been Waiting For is packed with danceable tracks including "Manos Pa'rriba" and more traditional numbers such as "A Bayamo en Coche." That record earned the members a 2007 Grammy nomination for Best Tropical Latin Album. More important, Tiempo Libre's solid reputation as a first-class live band has turned the local boys into in-demand international touring celebrities. Still, the coolest place to catch them is in Miami, where all of their influences come together.