Cheo Feliciano

Salsa Caliente de Nu York!

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On this collection showing the spicier side of Cheo Feliciano, known primarily for his more romantic work, the salsa great proves to be a more versatile talent than many might realize. Salsa Caliente de Nu York! puts a different foot forward, and it's wearing its dancing shoes. This album compiles Cheo's earlier work as the frontman for the Joe Cuba Sextet, solo records for the Vaya, Alegre, and Tico labels, all before his long stint with the Fania All-Stars. The understated and tasteful Feliciano displays the improvisational abilities that put him in league with fellow great Puerto Rican soneros such as Ismael Rivera and Hector Lavoe. Also displayed in full glory is his long and fruitful collaboration with songwriter "Tite" Curet Alonso. Songs like the invigorating "Mano Caliente," blistering-hot cha cha "Salsaludando," or Cheo's biggest hit, "El Raton," all are of Curet's pen. Though later becoming famous, and even pigeonholed as a "sensual" or "romantic," Feliciano reminds you that his beginnings and heritage are in the dancehalls. Though the recording quality of many of these tracks cannot stand beside his later works with Fania or RMM, the strength of the musical performances shines through with ease. The opportunity to be become familiar with the bright, up-tempo side of this versatile modern master is not to be missed.

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