It's hard not to love salsa -- after all, it's the perfect party music -- and this album has 14 excellent slabs of it, with the proceeds going to a good cause, Amnesty International. There's no attempt to be cutting edge, simply to present some of the best contemporary artists in the genre, whether it's African-born Ricardo Lemvo, Colombia's Grupo Caneo or New York's Spanish Harlem Orchestra. It's fitting that the last is there, since New York was the cradle of salsa; it's very much a big city style, even if it grew from a melange of Latin styles. But, since it's been around well over 30 years, there's no denying its power and endurance. So you get the powerhouse horns on most of the cuts, although Grupo Latin Vibe on "All That Vibe," where the cool sound of the vibraphone takes the lead, comes like a breath of fresh air in the middle of the disc after so many relentless, full-tilt tracks. Singer Adriana Santana, from Colombia by way of London, shows British musicians can swing with the best of them, and on "El Loco," La Excelencia return to a vintage salsa sound. This isn't meant as an academic introduction to salsa, simply an album to enjoy, and in that it succeeds wonderfully.
|Label:||World Music Network|