Salsa bad boy Michael Stuart comes into his own with his self-titled 2002 release for cutting-edge salsa label, RMM. Though still maintaining a fresh, clean tenor, Stuart has moved past his previously boyish timbre toward the more confident, gutsy delivery of a man. Similarly, Stuart's artistic voice has matured into something unique, incorporating more urban influence, and doing so more naturally than in previous releases. Though hip-hop and R&B flavors come in small measures, he owns them. Some things, on the other hand, never change. Stuart's salsa is still a cut above average, with both writing and arrangements that are consistently among the most sophisticated in the genre. Employing the arranging and production talents of Ceferino Caban (unsung hero of the tropical music world) and A-lister Ramon B. Sanchez is money in the bank. Caban and Sanchez take chances that others would not, and the results are exhilarating. Stuart and crew are able to handle them and then some. There's a delightful variety of style and attitude on Michael Stuart that will keep listeners engaged and excited, listen after listen. The sometimes stale and beleaguered salsa genre looks a bit brighter with artists like Stuart on the scene.
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AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez