Often it is the case that Latin musicians show up better in live recordings than in the studio. The combination of the raw, vibrant sound, the presence of the audience, and the spark that only comes when the entire ensemble is playing together in a concert setting can more than make up for whatever fidelity is lost. Such is certainly the case with Joe Arroyo's Live! Dedicated Arroyo fans will delight at the first chance in his recording career to have an entire record of live performance. True to form, Arroyo shifts constantly from montuno, to joeson, to carrebeno, to chande and back again. Such a diverse stylistic mix keeps the listener riveted. Every tune is fresh, and a welcome change from the previous one. The organic nature of the production style, though muddy at times, contributes to the pulsating, almost serpentine quality of the rhythm section. Though never technically brilliant, Arroyo's vocal approach fits the purpose of the group hand in glove. His singing is earnest and authentic, sometimes a bit dirty, and always moving. With a whopping 16 tracks, many of them extended from their studio version, 2004's Live! is the disc Joe Arroyo's fans have been waiting for.
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AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez