When two of the most acclaimed modern explorers of Cuban music combine their prodigious talents on the music they love, musical magic happens. That is demonstrated in truly enchanting fashion on CUBAN RHAPSODY, the duet recording by Hilario Duran and Jane Bunnett. They are both virtuoso players, arrangers, composers and bandleaders in their own right, and they have the Grammy nominations and JUNO Awards to prove it. The musical excellence of this album will come as no surprise, though its sound will turn some heads. Both Duran and Bunnett are famed for their innovative take on contemporary Latin jazz and Cuban styles. In fact, Bunnett received the prestigious Smithsonian Institute Award “for contributions and dedication to the development of Latin jazz.” On CUBAN RHAPSODY, she and Duran go back to the roots. The album is best described as an exploration of Cuban classical music, and the results are both educational and accessible. The classical-music-rooted pieces on Cuban Rhapsody can perhaps be viewed as the Cuban equivalent of the Great American Songbook. They’re timeless and still relevant, as this album clearly confirms. It is full of passion, melody and rhythm, and that’s the essence of Cuban music.