Mexican banda music has been moving in many different directions in the '90s and 2000s. In today's regional Mexican market, one can find anything from very traditional banda to pop-drenched banda to exuberant, club-friendly tecno-banda (which has been influenced by Dominican merengue, hip-hop, dance music, and other things). How has Banda el Recodo -- a banda institution that has been around since 1938 -- addressed all these trends? In a nutshell, the long-running group has made an effort to evolve and change with the times while being generally faithful to its history. Assembled in 2004, Exitos con Tradicion Sinaloense is a best-of that focuses on Banda el Recodo's Fonovisa era and illustrates the outfit's diversity. In Spanish, Exitos con Tradicion Sinaloense means "hits in the Sinaloan tradition," and that's an appropriate title because the Mexican state of Sinaloa is where banda got started. One doesn't have to live in Sinaloa to play banda -- the well-known Jenni Rivera, for example, was born and raised in Los Angeles -- but wherever a banda artist is based, he/she owes Sinaloa an artistic debt (just as a salsero can have a Brooklyn or Miami address while acknowledging that salsa's roots are in Cuba). And Banda el Recodo's Sinaloan heritage is very much at work on this CD, whether they are providing hardcore banda on "Los Reyes del Contrabando," "El Corrido de Mazatlán," and "Las Penas con Pan Son Buenas," favoring a banda/salsa hybrid on "La Reina del Baile," or making some pop moves on "Yo Quiero Ser" and the sentimental "Contigo por Siempre." Exitos con Tradicion Sinaloense is far from the last word on Banda el Recodo, who were making records long before they ever signed with Fonovisa. But this excellent collection is well worth obtaining if one is seeking an introduction to their Fonovisa output of the '90s and 2000s.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson