Fredy Omar

Desde Nueva Orleans

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The debut album by Honduran-born, New Orleans-based bandleader Fredy Omar is a collection of Latin dance tunes performed in a distinctly New Orleans fashion. The dominant New Orleans musical style, as exemplified in decades of recordings by the likes of Allen Toussaint, Fats Domino, and the Meters, is based on the laid-back shuffle, a style not immediately identifiable with the hotter, sultrier Latin dances of the Caribbean. Yet somehow, Omar and his five-piece band (augmented with special guests on a variety of horns and percussion instruments) manage to inflect merengues like "Hasta Aqui Llegue" with the relaxed swagger endemic to the best New Orleans music. The inclusion of not one but two pieces of modern son, "Linda Flor del Paraiso" and "El Son Bonito," smacks a bit of Buena Vista Social Club bandwagon-jumping, but those missteps aside, Desde Nueva Orleans is a good to great slice of regional dance music.

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