Get local news delivered straight to your phone

Support City Paper!

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Post-punk jazz guitarist Marc Ribot has found the perfect medium between Cuba’s dancing grooves and New York’s menacing moods. Marc Ribot y los Cubanos Postizos is a punchy tribute to Arsenio Rodriguez, the Marvelous Blind One (so named for being kicked in the face by a horse as a 3-year-old) whose conjunto revolutionized son music (Cuba’s primary song and dance form). After releasing a handful of independent albums and performing with Elvis Costello, Sam Phillips, and Tom Waits, Ribot returns to the majors with a home run. Ribot is inspired by Rodriguez’s masterful way with the tres (an instrument with three sets of two strings), but he extends his hero’s style rather than trying to re-create it on electric guitar. Ribot relies on ragged rhythmic strums and jagged shards of melody, creating a guitar sound that’s both choppy and liquid. His comically named band, Los Cubanos Postizos (The Prosthetic Cubans), gives Ribot a scruffy, funky foundation that doesn’t even attempt a drive down the dead-end street of authenticity. “Aquí Como Allá” is bright, richly textured, mid-tempo soul jazz; “Aurora en Pekín” and “Fiesta en el Solar” get dark like a stormy sky. “Como Se Goza en el Barrio” and “Postizo” (a Ribot original featuring John Medeski on organ) are sweaty, swinging tunes played by a wicked jazz-rock band, with Ribot’s noisy guitar lines twisting like a drunken dancer over the thumping drums and percussion. Cuban bands were popular in Gotham in the ’40s and ’50s. Mark Ribot’s Prosthetic Cubans should rightfully be huge in the ’90s.—Christopher Porter