To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the passing away of Celia Cruz, Universal Music Latin dug into its vault and unearthed some previously unreleased vocal tracks by the Queen of Salsa that presumably date back to her stint with the Universal-affiliated RMM label in the 1990s. These performances were then dressed up with present-day productions to sound thoroughly contemporary and released as Dios Disfrute a la Reina. Thankfully, a lot of love, care, and respect were put into this posthumous album, with producer Oscar Gomez at the helm of the project. Gomez had worked with Cruz on many of her latter-day albums such as Siempre Vivire (2000), La Negra Tiene Tumbao (2001), and Regalo del Alma (2003), and he also had worked with her during her '90s stint with Universal/RMM, including her debut for the label, Azucar Negra (1993). In fact, many of the songs on Dios Disfrute a la Reina were penned by Gomez ("Cuando Volverá," "La Cuba Mía," "Vámonos de Aqúi," and "Estrella Dulce"). Consequently, Dios Disfrute a la Reina doesn't sound too much different from the other latter-day Cruz albums helmed by Gomez, except for the vocals, that is, which at times do sound like leftovers. Even if Cruz isn't in great voice here, generally because of the sometimes-murky quality of the tracks rather than on account of her performance, it's nice to hear her sing once again. Curiously, there are a handful of attempts here to spice up the music with rap/reggaeton remixes, namely the versions of "Son de la Loma," "Cuando Volverá," and "El Muerto Se Fue de Rumba." For the most part, these are poor-fitting, if not just plain bad, songs on an otherwise fairly good album. Dios Disfrute a la Reina overall falls well short of matching the quality of La Negra Tiene Tumbao and Regalo del Alma, which were both fine latter-day efforts, but this posthumous album is nonetheless a welcome addition to the Cruz catalog.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
feat: David Montes
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