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Wednesday, March 1, 2000

Vintage sauce

Posted By on Wed, Mar 1, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Throughout Latin America, Miami and even a good part of New York and California, this is the music that defines the past two generations. It’s the Latino equivalent of classic rock – only this music is infinitely more fun to dance to! The compilers at World Music Network have been hard at work, finishing nearly three dozen CDs in the past five years. Like much of their catalog, this CD is a mixed bag, featuring most of the logical "big names" that come to mind for their "general compilations." Stars from Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Colombia and Cuba such as Celia Cruz are here, as are Charlie Palmieri, Oscar D’Leon, Sierra Maestra ... all the usual suspects. Some tracks are truly electrifying, including the opening "Mi Dejo Picao" by one of the greatest salseros of this generation, Jose Alberto aka "El Canario." There is also smoking salsa from Jimmy Bosch, Willie Colon and Son de la Loma.

Some tracks are disappointing, however, including Oscar D’Leon’s "Lloraras." The song is a salsa anthem. Unfortunately, this version is a mediocre live recording apparently used to include one more "big name." Maybe they couldn’t get the rights to some of D’Leon’s better recordings. They should have just let that one go.

The other problem with the album is that it tries to mix a few vintage classics such as Joe Cuba’s "Prestame la Olla Terese," recorded with ‘70s technology, with a majority of ‘90s-era digital hits. Fortunately, there are only a few of these little incidents on Salsa Dance, an album that includes a dozen smoking, well recorded salsa gems. So keep that CD-clicker handy and get ready to start shaking your hips.

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