Willie Rosario

Back to the Future

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Superb return for Willie Rosario after a four-year recording hiatus. He brings in a few alumni from the past (arranger/bass player Bobby Valentin, singers Tony Vega and Gilberto Santa Rosa, conga player Jimmie Morales, and arranger Humberto Ramírez) and a few extra hands (Papo Lucca on piano and Roberto Roena on bongos). With that personnel, Rosario crafts his best album in years, still distinguishing the timbalero's compact, restrained rhythm sense, supported by his fiery four-trumpet and baritone saxophone lineup. The standouts are "La Bomba" (sung by Rosario's regular vocalist Ricardo "Rico" Walker), Santa Rosa's version of "El Apartamento" (which is closer to the singer's own solo approach than his days with Rosario), and a newer version of "Arrepentíios Pecadores" by Tony Vega. A superior addition of the bandleader's remarkable four-decade career.

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