Various Artists

Radio Latino

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On Radio Latino, Putumayo covers a fair amount of ground touching on radio hits from around the Latin world. The realm of contemporary Latin is, of course, quite wide. Nonetheless, that gives the label a method to explore a pretty good range of styles. Generally, when one thinks of contemporary Latin, they come up with either the lighter end of the spectrum (think Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony) or the edgier alternative rock (think Café Tacuba or los Mocosos). Here, there's a little bit of both, but also a fair amount of all points in between. A larger focus here is the fusion of old and new. Most, if not all of the tracks here include some slick production values. At the same time, most, if not all of the artists play more traditional instruments or stick with some fundamental rhythms and motives from the local styles. A few of the pieces can fall a bit flat, but there are plenty of highlights even so. Fan favorite los Pinguos contribute a very nice track spilling fusion everywhere. Las Orishas have their own brand of modern Latin R&B. Raul Paz has a slightly more traditional, but very sophisticated sound and structure. Even Martin Buscaglia, usually known as a sideman, contributes a funky groove on a cover of an old Trio los Panchos number. A little more focus on one aspect or another of the spectrum might be appreciated for the sake of coherence, but it's hard to argue with the talent on these pieces.

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