Celia Cruz

Anthology

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The last time Fania released a double-disc compilation on Celia Cruz was back in 2001 in their Legends of Salsa series. Since that time, the label's manufacturing and distribution network has changed hands a few times; it is currently part of Codigo Music. This is a plus given how prolifically Fania is remastering and reissuing not only its catalog, but also compilations like this one. Cruz's discography is voluminous and can be very confusing. While there are numerous greatest-hits and best-of compilations, many come from disreputable sources, tend to center on very specific periods in her work, or sound just plain bad on compact disc. Fania's Anthology is an excellent place to start with Cruz. Its 31 tracks cover her work with Tico, Alegre, and Fania itself. It contains many of her undisputed greatest hits as well as some real surprises, and conveys the astonishing array of styles she authoritatively performed: from rhumbas and mambos to guaguancos, pachangas, boleros, sons, and of course, salsas. Among her many collaborators here are the stars of Latin music itself, from Pete Rodriguez, Tito Puente, and Johnny Pacheco to Ray Barretto, Willie Colón, Papo Lucca, and the Fania All-Stars, to name a few. The sound on these tracks has been thoroughly and beautifully remastered from the original 1/4" master tapes. Ernesto Lechner's fine liner essay is in Spanish and English, and the set features photos as well. This is highly recommended for both the newcomer to Cruz's work, and for the seasoned fan looking for the best of the best.

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