Beny Moré

Mata Siguaraya

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The first volume in BMG's five-disc re-release, Mata Siguaraya mostly includes uptempo numbers drawn from Moré's earliest recordings with RCA/Victor. Here he is matched with several bands, most notably those of Rafael De Paz and Perez Prado. Typically, the strongest and best-known tracks -- "Mata Siguaraya," Yiri Yiri Bon," and "Ah Barbara" -- are recorded with De Paz, whose lush arrangements cloak Moré's voice in ermine. Other uptempo gems recorded with various groups include "Mi Chiquita Quiere Guarachar" and the thunderous "A Media Noche." "Batiri RCA" is a characteristic Moré/Prado matchup. Prado's horn section plays the introduction here with the nervous, wound-up sound that characterizes most of their playing. There's not much of a melody, and about halfway through Prado breaks in with one of his piano vamps, beginning with a frantic run that must use all 88 keys. He then plays a series of fractured, dissonant chords before giving the floor back to Moré. Nowhere is the tug of war between the two giants more evident.

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