The Latinaires

Like It Is

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The Latinaires are often associated with the boogaloo movement, the integration of soul vocal sensibilities and salsa instrumentals. Though they bear all the telltale markings of a boogaloo outfit -- their youth, their Bronx heritage, their mixed nationality, even their relationship with the Cotique label -- their music tells another story. The rich heritage that they honor on Like It Is is of a finer pedigree than the back-street mutt boogaloo. Though there are selections where the Latinaires experiment with R&B-contoured melodies and English-language lyrics, they are not true converts to the cause, like contemporaries the TnT Band or the Lat-Teens. They are not true believers. The all-saxophone horn lineup is churning and funky, and the lack of brass adds an interesting timbre that allows the vocalists to shine, not compete. Bandleader and pianist Louis Small is a confident, mature arranger as well as soloist. Sonero Ray Ramirez has a charming, smooth tenor that while youthful, confidently navigates the sometimes complex arrangements. The Latinaires are mature far beyond their years, and musically sophisticated far beyond the scope of their genre classification.

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