Cuban musician for whom I have had great respect for over 30 years is Giraldo Piloto - drummer, orchestrator and composer.
I first listened to Piloto’s work in the late 80s when he was part of the Tropicana show orchestra. Shortly after, when NG la Banda was founded, Giraldo Piloto was called to be drummer and remained part of that band during its best years.
He then worked with Isaac Delgado, who had decided to go solo. Popular songs like El 443025 stand out from that period, composed by Giraldo Piloto. Being a prolific composer led to many groups and soloists doing covers of his pieces on the international scene.
But that is not the only side of Piloto worthy of admiration. Personally I think he is one of our best drummers when it comes to jazz. The good taste he displays when he performs in the this 20th century sound language, particularly when it comes to guiding and feeding the work of other instrumentalists, is only comparable to that of Enrique Pla, one of Cuba’s greatest percussionists.
Founded in 1995, the Klimax group has remained among the top Cuban groups, with a track record of great performances that other more popular bands may not have had. To celebrate his project’s twenty-first anniversary, Piloto has recorded an album which he named Mis 21 años (My 21 Years). This is a self-celebrating record with a long list of top-level guests.
It was recorded by Osvaldo González at Miramar’s Egrem Studios in Havana. Waldy Domínguez collaborated on mixing and mastering that took place in Waldy’s own Wave Sounds Studios, and what stands out right away is his the high level, homogeneous sound quality, difficult to attain given the array of different colors and tones with the participation of so many guests.
Names like Alexander Abreu, Osain del Monte, Paulo FG, Carlos Manuel Calunga (from Klímax), the vocalists of Van Van (Jeny, Mandy and Robertón), Brenda Navarrete, Tania Pantoja, Dayan Carrera, Waldo Mendoza, Amaray, Pancho Céspedes and Leo Vera add up without a doubt to a total sound party. As for the CD repertoire, of the 12 compiled cuts 11 belong to Giraldo Piloto himself. With this record, Giraldo Piloto has made his dream come true and can feel happy with what he and his Klímax group have achieved since 1995.