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.
Yes, his contemporary Perez Prado left behind some big shoes to fill himself. 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, and everybody else who came after owes the man a stylistic debt.
Whether he was taking on mambo, guaracha, son, or boleros, his immensely unique voice was unrivaled, and classics like "Como Fue" and "Francisco Guayabal" still stand as testament 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's continued to profoundly influence musicians around the world, even today. Like Miami's own Tiempo Libre, for example. The three-time Grammy-nominated ensemble that regularly thrills 305 natives with their timba swing owe More a debt of their own. And they're paying it, this Saturday at the Miami Dade County Auditorium, with A Tribute To Benny More By Tiempo Libre and Friends.
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If you live for el cubaneo, this is one not to miss.
A Tribute To Benny More By Tiempo Libre and Friends. Saturday, March 12. Miami Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami. The concert begins at 8:30 p.m. and tickets cost $32 to $97 plus fees via ticketmaster.com.