Miami-based Tiempo Libre is in high demand these days. The band of Cuban immigrants is popping up everywhere across South Florida, playing for high school students in Boca Raton one moment, then grooving in South Beach jazz clubs the next. We're not saying the impending death of Fidel Castro has anything to do with it, but el Jefe's bad health can't be bad for business either. Tiempo Libre specializes in timba music, a sort of Cuban jazz that combines salsa and guaguancó rhythms. It requires a heap of skill and is growing more popular with each album that Tiempo Libre produces. It's a slight departure from son, made popular by the Buena Vista Social Club, and is a more danceable, upbeat style of music that's perfect for hot Florida nights and crowds that like to boogie-woogie. Tiempo Libre is not the only timba band in the land, but let's put it this way: It's been a group for only five years and already has two Grammy nominations to show for it. Its most recent album, Lo Que Esperabas, is gaining acclaim for its fast-paced mambo and party vibe that's as infectious on wax as the group is in person. Still, it's best experienced live, so head to Boca and see what all the fuss is about.
Tiempo Libre performs as part of the Festival of the Arts Boca on Sunday, March 11, at the Centre for the Arts at Mizner Park, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. The show starts at 7 p.m. Visit www.festivaloftheartsboca.org, or call 561-368-8445.
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