Albums

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Salsa - Released April 15, 2016 | World Circuit

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Unusual Suspects
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Salsa - Released October 14, 2016 | World Circuit

The success of the Buena Vista Social Club series gave Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer the chance to finally begin his dream project in 2005, the recording of an entire album of bolero pieces, the musical form Ferrer loved above all others. Unfortunately the 78-year-old singer died in August of that year while sessions for the project were still underway, and that Mi Sueño (My Dream) exists at all is in itself a small miracle. Ferrer left behind high-quality vocal demos of the boleros he still intended to record for the album, but these tapes were apparently misplaced and Ferrer's dream seemed destined to go unfulfilled. The demos were eventually recovered, and Mi Sueño has finally seen the light of day. It is the perfect goodbye from Ferrer, a fitting and beautiful last testament that spotlights his easy and smoky vocals over subtle, non-intrusive arrangements generally featuring pianist Roberto Fonseca, guitarist Manuel Galbon, and bassist Cachito Lopez. The late Rubén González adds piano to the beautiful "Melodía del Río," a track produced by Ry Cooder in 1998 that fits seamlessly with the newer recordings. Javier Zalbar's clarinet lines add perfect lift to "Copla Guajira," the closest thing to an up-tempo piece here, but then the romantic lilt of the classic Cuban bolero isn't about speed and energy but is instead about an elegant gliding through the motions of love, and Ferrer does it perfectly. He would have been proud of this album. It has a calm and measured grace, and flows like a watery sequence from a dream -- Ibrahim Ferrer's dream, to be exact. ~ Steve Leggett
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Salsa - Released July 27, 2004 | Dance Music

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Salsa - Released May 21, 2009 | Sony Music Latin

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Salsa - Released November 4, 2016 | World Circuit

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Salsa - Released September 15, 1997 | World Circuit

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Salsa - Released September 26, 1995 | Legacy - Epic Associated

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Salsa - Released June 30, 2006 | Sony Music Latin

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Salsa - Released December 1, 2008 | Because Music

Distinctions 9/10 de Trax
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Salsa - Released August 23, 2013 | World Circuit

A lively, spontaneous record that manages to sound both relaxed and forceful at the same time, A Toda Cuba Le Gusta shows off the talents of many of Cuba's elder statesmen of Afro-Cuban jazz. Over gently pulsating conga grooves and low-register ostinatos, such luminaries as pianist Ruben Gonzalez and singer Manuel "Puntillita" Licea float dramatic melodies, as their solo contributions are answered by brass section chords as thick and sweet as cane syrup. Although it is Ruben Gonzalez' presence on this album that gets the most attention, his tendency towards relentless chromaticism becomes tiresome early on, especially when it is contrasted with the exquisite phrasing and tremulous beauty of singers such as Licea, Raul Planas, and Ibrahum Ferrer. As would be expected, the trumpets blare with traditional Cuban bravado, evoking gentle romance and fiery passion with equal ease. Even the resident gringo, Ry Cooder, gets in some choice licks on "Alto Songo." The relative lack of dynamic movement in most of these songs may lead to them blending together in the ear of the listener, but the inherent tunefulness of each track, not to mention the sheer drive that this band is capable of summoning, cancels that complaint out nicely. An important collaboration and a promising debut. ~ Daniel Gioffre
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Salsa - Released January 27, 2017 | Legacy Recordings

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Salsa - Released January 27, 2017 | Legacy Recordings

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Salsa - Released November 20, 2001 | Sony Music Latin

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Salsa - Released September 2, 2016 | Legacy Recordings

"Havana D'Primera flies with acrobatic ease through complex arrangements, and Abreu's versus run the gamut of familiar topics for Cubaphiles..."
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Salsa - Released April 29, 2016 | Columbia

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Salsa - Released November 26, 2002 | Dance Music

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Salsa - Released January 27, 2017 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res
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Salsa - Released February 10, 2009 | Sony Music Latin

El Caballero de la Salsa is a collection of classic tracks from salsa great Gilberto Santa Rosa. The album reflects his love for the classic salsa style of the the '60s and '70s in a performance like "Sin Voluntad," but also marks how that style changed from song to song in songs like "Dejate Querer" and "Por Mas Que Intento." El Caballero de la Salsa is not only a collection of Santa Rosa's best, but reminds the listener why he is one of the most discussed salseros of our time. ~ Karla Rivera
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Salsa - Released May 24, 2010 | Sony Music Latin

On Iconos, his second album of cover material in a row, Marc Anthony revives a small selection of ballads by the likes of José José, Juan Gabriel, and José Luis Perales. It's a finely crafted album tailor-made for Latin pop airplay, but it's a rather frustrating release for those fans who wish he'd finally get around to recording some original material. Not since Amar sin Mentiras (2004) has Anthony released an album of originals. That Latin pop crossover album, which like Iconos was produced by Julio Reyes, was followed by Valió la Pena (2004), a Sergio George-produced salsa makeover of Amar sin Mentiras, Sigo Siendo Yo (2006), a greatest-hits album with a couple new songs, and El Cantante (2007), a collection of Héctor Lavoe covers that served as the soundtrack to the film of the same name. Like all of these follow-up releases, Iconos includes a bit of original material to tantalize fans who might otherwise wait for the day when Anthony gets around to recording a full-length album's worth of originals. In the case of Iconos, it closes with "A Quién Quiero Mentirle" and "Maldita Sea Mi Suerte," a couple originals written by Anthony in tandem with Reyes and Juan Pablo Vega. These two originals are in the same mold as the eight covers that precede them on this ten-song album, dramatically arranged with all-out orchestral accompaniment and showcasing the full range of Anthony's vocal ability. He gives it his all, and he's fairly impressive as a vocalist. His passion for this cover material is evident, particularly on the lead single "Y Cómo Es El." However, there's no doubt that Anthony is at his best as a salsero, which makes Iconos all the more frustrating for those fans who wish he'd get around making a proper album like in the old days. Granted, it's not fair to criticize him for being opportunist or for putting out cheap gap-fillers. Despite its brevity and reliance on cover material, Iconos is comprised of first-rate music, and El Cantante was downright superb. Anthony may not give fans what they want, but at least he gives them quality material. ~ Jason Birchmeier
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Salsa - Released March 30, 2010 | Sony Music Latin

A half-century into their recording career, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico are still one of the leading salsa acts in Latin music, which is all the more remarkable when you consider that founder and bandleader Rafael Ithier was well into his eighties when he and his orchestra released Sin Salsa No Hay Paraíso. The third full-length studio album released since Gran Combo de Puerto Rico left Combo Records at the turn of the century, after a quarter-century of releasing a new studio album more or less every year on the label, Sin Salsa No Hay Paraíso is no less exciting than its predecessors, Aquí Estamos y...¡de Verdad! (2004) and Arroz con Habichuela (2006), the latter of which won the group a Latin Grammy award for Best Tropical Album. The title track of Sin Salsa No Hay Paraíso storms out of the gate as the album opener. One of El Gran Combo's best singles in recent years, "Sin Salsa No Hay Paraíso" is straight fire and sets the album aflame from the get-go. While none of the subsequent tracks on the ten-track album measure up to the stand-out title track, there are plenty of highlights, among them a new version of "Achilipú," which was originally released on the classic album De Punta a Punta (1971), and "Colombia Tierra Querida." Fans of El Gran Combo know what to expect on Sin Salsa No Hay Paraíso, as this group is nothing if not consistent, and the album doesn't disappoint, the title track in particular. ~ Jason Birchmeier

Genre

Salsa in the magazine
  • From Father to Son
    From Father to Son Chucho Valdés and Arturo O’Farrill celebrate the art of Bebo Valdés and Chico O’Farrill…