Various Artists

Coffee & Latin

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Coffee & Latin is a very loosely themed compilation assembled by the Inakustik imprint. This label licenses a ton of music, seemingly throws the tapes up in the air, and reassembles them in the most generic manner possible; then they spend a little money on a nice computer-enhanced photo for the cover and put it out there for...who knows? This set contains 11 tracks of Latin music from all over the spectrum; little of it fits together, making for a helter-skelter collection of tunes that have no relationship to one another let alone to coffee. The best numbers here -- the Fania All-Stars' “Morena,” the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet's version of “Ma Ce Nada,” and the Sons of Buena Vista's postmodern reading of “Chan Chan” -- stack up well against slickly produced Latin pop like Jaime Cuadra's “Cholo Soy” and Ana Caram’s terrible reading of "Girl from Ipanema.” Why there are not one but two tracks by Al di Meola included is anybody's guess. When added to the rest in this case of sonic schizophrenia, they become part of what is merely an exercise in frustration rather than listening pleasure.

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