Various Artists

Rough Guide to Salsa: Second Edition

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This second edition of the guide comes eight years after the first, and salsa has come a long way in that time. Pulling from various Latin styles, it all came together in New York before going international -- Congo-based Kékélé do salsa in beautiful graceful style, showing how the influences moved back and forth between continents. Ricardo Lemvo brings a strong African sound to bear of "Papa Na Bana," although it's easy to hear Cuba in the sound too. On the other hand, Alex Wilson brings salsa bang up to date, using loops on "R&B Latino," as well as adding the kind of piano solo that makes you sit up and take immediate notice. There is some old-school salsa from Wayne Gorbea and the immediately recognizable Jimmy Bosch, both of whom have been part of the music since the '70s, but what's apparent is how much the younger players have absorbed from their elders. Perhaps the most gratifying part of this disc is how relevant the older acts still are -- Fruko y Sus Tesos and Sonora Carruseles have both spent decades in salsa, but the music is as fresh as anything made by a band in their 20s. The result is a good if not groundbreaking disc that shows the power and energy of salsa, and you get a feeling for why it's stayed so popular.

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