Celia Cruz / Tito Puente

Cuba y Puerto Rico Son...

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Although they'd appeared together several times, this was the first time that Celia Cruz and Tito Puente had been featured together on an LP, and fortunately not the last. Cuba y Puerto Rico Son… has firepower like no listener could have expected, despite the fact that two of Latin music's most explosive artists were headlining an LP. All of the major Cuban and Puerto Rican forms are heard, from the opening mambo ("La Guarachera," with no holds barred) to bomba (the equally frenetic "La Plena Bomba Me Llama"), and a softer detour into bolero for "Desencanto." (Celia even sang a sultry pop number for "Mi Desesperacion.") Puente's orchestra is in prime form, and he provides all the arrangements, while Cruz ably matches the band for energy. An outing remarkably free of salsa, Cuba y Puerto Rico Son… covers nearly every popular Latin rhythm and remains one of the high points in each artist's nearly incomparable discographies.

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