Cuban native/Spanish resident Alain Pérez’s second album jumps out of the gates running as what may prove to be one of the strongest Afro-Cuban jazz albums of 2007. Pérez, who studied classical guitar and piano, and later took up the bass guitar, had the benefit of attending some of Cuba’s most prestigious schools, including the Escuela Nacional de Arte. He has also performed with such landmark groups as Irakere and musical legends Issac Dalgado and Paco de Lucía. Pérez and his amigos assert their instrumental bravado on the opening title track, with its syncopated horn lines and ebullient groove. Pérez also emerges as a serious force on the 5-string bass. “La Canchanchara” is a chops-laden number where the entire band musters some serious mettle—the metales (horns), percussion/drums and Pérez on bass again. This song–indeed, the entire album–evinces Pérez’s formidable skills as a composer and musical force. Bravo.