Various Artists

Very Best of Salsa

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Divided into two discs, one highlighting the stars of classic salsa and the other those more contemporary, Very Best of Salsa, while perhaps not living up to its exalted title, still manages to compile some of the biggest names in the genre for one very satisfying collection. While the songs themselves may not be among the artists' most famous (notable exceptions being Oscar d'León's "Me Voy Pa' Cali" and Joe Arroyo's "Rebelion"), Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Rubén Blades, Johnny Pacheco, Eddie Palmieri, Celia Cruz, Willie Colón, and Héctor Lavoe (sometimes working in pairs) all have pieces included, which is sure to satisfy any fan of Fania-era salsa. And for those looking for more modern sounds, Jimmy Bosch, Tito Nieves, Africando, José "El Canario" Alberto, and Victor Manuelle are all talented performers who convey the same passion and skill that many of their predecessors had. Though it's nowhere near complete, at 30 songs, Very Best of Salsa is a good compilation, better for those with a serious interest in learning about the music than those with an already strong knowledge of it, but fun no matter what.

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