In Spanish, the word "inolvidable" means "unforgettable." A title as lofty as Inolvidable would, in many cases, be an example of excessive hype, but when the artists in question are percussionist Candido Camero and singer Graciela Perez, the word "unforgettable" is definitely appropriate -- their contributions to Afro-Cuban jazz music are exactly that. Camero and Perez go back a long way; they first met in the '40s, when Perez was a featured vocalist for Machito's band (a gig that lasted into the '70s). Perez retired from performing in 1993, but Camero managed to lure her back into the studio for this 2004 release. Both of them were octogenarians when Inolvidable came out; Camero was 82, while Perez was 88. Produced by Nelson Gonzalez and David Chesky (with Charles Carlini serving as associate producer), Inolvidable finds Camero and Perez turning their attention to classic Latin gems like "Cesar Portillo de la Luz," "Tu Mi Delirio" and Rafael Hernandez' "Desvelo" -- and the octogenarians happily recreate the spirit of jazz-influenced Afro-Cuban dance music as it sounded in the '40s and '50s (but with the digital technology of the 21st century). Despite Perez' physical limitations -- she has been plagued by debilitating arthritis -- the veteran singer brings a great deal of enthusiasm to this project. And for 88, Perez still sounds surprisingly good; she doesn't have the vocal stamina of her youth, but she gets her points across nonetheless -- and being reunited with Camero seems to really inspire her on the album's up-tempo selections as well as romantic boleros such as Hernandez' "Amor Ciego," and Arsenio Rodriguez' "La Vida Es Un Sueño." For Afro-Cuban enthusiasts, a Camero/Perez reunion is truly an historic event -- one that yields consistently enjoyable results on Inolvidable.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson