The Mavericks' experiments in tropical rhythms flower beautifully on singer Raul Malo's solo debut, Today. Malo digs deep into his Cuban-American heritage for inspiration, coupling the past and the present to create an album that is accessible, daring, and always full of life. Malo sings four songs in Spanish, but it's not necessary to know the language to understand the go-for-it energy fueling the texts. Even most of the English-language songs are steeped in Latinalia: big, brassy horn and reed passages; pulsating percussion; wild, flailing guitars; and rambunctious piano glissandos. Desi Arnaz made great records with this formula in the late '40s and early '50s, and Malo, who has the huge advantage of that big, booming, soulful, Orbison-like voice, is a worthy candidate to develop a commercially successfully fusion of Latin and pop that does justice to both styles without watering down either -- although purists will inevitably disagree. "Today," "I See You," "Every Little Thing," and "Ya Tu Veras," the first four songs, set the pace, the first and fourth being strictly high-octane, hard-charging, sacroiliac-endangering dance-floor challenges, the second and third being, respectively, dreamy and desperate romantic interludes. This is songwriting of the highest caliber, every element in its proper place to allow Malo free rein to extend himself emotionally. A duet with Shelby Lynne on the vibrant, jazzy "It Takes Two to Tango" is one of the sexiest duets laid down in years, Lynne's smoky sensuality being the perfect foil for Malo's comedic macho posturing. Fans of Malo's full-voiced balladry are not left adrift here: "Let's Say Goodbye," a piano-vocal track supported by lush strings, will get the tears flowing with its wrenching plea for a second chance at love. Today's got it all, and then some. Raul Malo is a juggernaut.
Performance CreditsRaul Malo Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Shelby Lynne Vocals
Steve Berlin Organ,Baritone Saxophone
Pedro Eustache Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Danilo Lozano Flute
Michito Sánchez Percussion
Ramon Stagnaro Guitar
Arturo Velasco Trombone
Billy West Background Vocals
Bob Roman Background Vocals
Ruben Estrada Drums,Timbales
Alberto Salas Piano
Pablo Mendez Strings,Violin
Jaime Hanna Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals
Luis Eric González Trumpet
Rene Camacho Bass,Background Vocals
Michael Guerra Background Vocals
Technical CreditsSteve Berlin Producer
Raul Malo Producer
Matt Marshall Executive Producer
Dave McNair Engineer
Dan Selene Executive Producer
Greg Ross Art Direction
S. "Husky" Hoskulds Engineer
Alberto Salas Arranger,Producer
Richard Barron Engineer
Dave Glover Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What can you say? Latin rhythms with horns, a great voice. Blows the faux Latin music explosion out of the water. Great party music and should be a good one to have playing in the background in a bar.
"let's not say goodbye anymore" says it all!i just love the full range and style of that song...god bless and great job!!!
I would challenge you to listen to "I Said I Love You" and not dance around and sing along - this is worthy Malo material, each song infused with Latin rhythms and soulfulness. . .each song right on emotionally, whether its the brassy horns on the title track jolting you awake or the wistfulness of 'Are We Almost There?' Critics always say that Malo's voice is reminiscent of Roy Orbison, but as a woman I have to say that while Orbison's ethereal quality is lovely in its own way, Malo's more overt maleness in his vocals does it for me, and the songs sung in Spanish make me want to practice my Spanish lessons. . .in fact, maybe I'll take Latin dance lessons, too. . .
Great sound - great beat - great lyrics. Bet you're up and dancing around before the first tracks ends!