Beny Moré

Great in Duets With...

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Released by the Madrid-based Mojito label in 1997, A Duo Con focuses entirely on Beny More's inspired duets with fellow salsa artists in the 1940s and 1950s (although back then, the son, guaguanco, mambo and rhumba that made him famous had yet to be called salsa, a term popularized by the Masucci Bros. of Fania Records). The Cuban legend is united with Pedro Vargas on "Obsesion," "Perdon" and "La Vida Es Un Sueno"; with Tony Camargo on "Sin Razon Ni Justicia" and "Barbaro Del Ritmo"; and with Joseito Fernandez on "Guantanamera" -- possibly the most famous and often recorded Cuban song of the 20th century. When More teams up with Los Hermanos Bermudez (or the Bermudez Bros.) on the dreamy ballads "No Te Atrevas" and "Vagar Entre Sombras," it's obvious how much their harmonies owe to the American jazz and jazzy pre-rock pop of the 1940s. In fact, you'll hear a lot of jazz influence throughout this fine CD, which underscores the impact that American big bands had on More's horn-laden work. (And at the same time, Dizzy Gillespie and other American jazzmen were certainly hip to what More was doing in Cuba.) It's frustrating that Mojito fails to list either recording dates or personnel in the liner notes, but even so, this is a collection to savor.

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