The elements that caused Cuba to fall in love with Issac Delgado first, and then European and American markets to follow, are all present on Primera Noche: Desde Europa con Sabor. As always, Delgado's collaborators are the finest young Cuban talent around. Many of the arrangements reach further, and in a different direction, than his fans have come to expect. There is something noticeable, however, about hearing this Cuban favorite record on European soil. Perhaps it's something in the Spanish water, or maybe Delgado was still jet-lagged from the flight from Havana. Delgado's typically understated "cool enough to never really get excited" vocal style crosses over occasionally from sounding measured to uninterested. Especially evident on Cuban classic "Obsesión" is the fine line between relaxed charm and detachment or boredom. "Dos," a duo with Ana Belén, a simmering ballad over painfully hip Cuban R&B instrumentation, feels more like the artist listeners have come to know and love. "Asi Era Ella" is a pleasantly surprising tropical track with a light, upward-looking melody, and the only Delgado original on the disc. The quality that has always made Issac Delgado so irresistible is the juxtaposition between his cool relaxed vocals and the infernal heat of his band. There is a Euro-cool quality about many of the arrangements on Primera Noche that sacrifices one half of the yin-yang, and ends leaving the listener cold. Though there are some real musical gems, most Delgado fans will be pleased that after this project, he went back to recording in Havana.
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AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez
feat: Ana Belén
feat: Cheo Feliciano