Concerts

Tiempo Libre's Tribute to Benny More at Miami-Dade County Auditorium March 12

In the realm of Cuban music, there's everyone else, and then there's Benny More. And if that seems like a sweeping generalization, so be it. It's a simple fact. His contemporary Perez Prado also left behind some big shoes to fill. But even the cat who composed "Mambo No. 5" isn't considered Cuba's greatest. Everyone from Willy Chirino to Celia Cruz to Los Van Van owes Mr. More a stylistic debt.

Whether he was taking on mambo, guaracha, son, or boleros, his immensely unique voice was unrivaled, and classics such as "Como Fue" and "Francisco Guayabal" still stand as testaments to the Cuban sound. But the impact of More's music wasn't limited to that little island 90 miles south of Key West. It has continued to profoundly influence musicians around the world, even today.

For example, there's Miami's Tiempo Libre, the Grammy-nominated ensemble whose timba swing certainly owes More a major debt. And this Saturday, Tiempo will pay it at Miami-Dade County Auditorium with A Tribute to Benny More. If you live for el cubaneo, this is one not to miss.

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Christopher Lopez