Gilberto Santa Rosa

Directo al Corazón

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Evidently someone at Sony International advised Gilberto Santa Rosa that what the Latin music world really needed was more heartfelt pop love songs. Whether he bought it or not, one may never know, but that's exactly what he made. Though Santa Rosa's 2006 release Directo al Corazón begins with the confident, mature salsa that made him the superstar he is, this path is quickly abandoned. The majority of the playlist reveals a side of Santa Rosa, arguably one of the most credible salsa vocalists around, that most of his fan base never knew existed. The side that lives and dies for keyboard-drenched teary-eyed balladry. Though Directo al Corazón is peppered with the simmering grooves and skillful improvisation that is more typical of Santa Rosa's records, it aches for more. Gilberto spends much of the time swimming in a sea of emotion and reverb, which completely masks his strengths as a vocalist. Though he's never been one to go completely over the edge for intensity, Santa Rosa seems to barely ever rouse from sleep. Though the production and musicianship throughout are top drawer, and even Santa Rosa's vocal performance is at his usual high level, this release marks an artistic direction that doesn't quite put his best foot forward.

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