Lena Horne

Lena Goes Latin

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After a lengthy and successful run on RCA from 1955-1962, Lena Horne cut a few albums for the small Charter label. Picking up on the period craze for all things Latin -- mambo, bossa nova, or otherwise -- Horne recorded this 1963 collection of swinging, Latinized standards for the company. With husband and bandleader Lennie Hayton directing a crack group through some fine Shorty Rogers arrangements, Horne shows off her powerful and supple voice on both obscure fare ("Cuckoo in the Clock") and perennial classics from Tin Pan Alley ("My Blue Heaven"). And while some might balk at the Mancini-like lounge touches informing highlights like the fiercely delivered "From This Moment On" and a bravura reading of "Night and Day," one must ask what would be better to temper the driving rhythms, frenetic horn charts, and Horne's theatrical phrasing. Taking the edge off further, there's the lilting bossa nova of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Meditation." A fine disc for any Lena Horne fan to pick up.