Various Artists

Serie Top 10: Salsa

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Taking ten hits from some of the more popular salseros from the 1990s and 2000s (though some, like Ismael Miranda and Oscar D'León, have had careers that began much earlier, and Willie Rosario's track "Ojala Che Ye Vaya Bonito" is from his 1978 album From the Depth of My Brain...), Serie Top 10: Salsa is a nice snapshot of the contemporary face of the genre. And being that Universal has access to everything from RMM (since 2001, when the merger occurred), many big names are included on the compilation. While the pieces may not all have that raw punch that much of early salsa had (though it's still apparent in Orquesta Guayacan's "Torero" and Miranda's "Mi Trayaectoria," both of which utilize flashy brass riffs and sharp, quick percussion to give the songs a lot of attitude -- and danceability), all of Serie Top 10: Salsa is well-composed and well-executed, and the musicians are all in top form. India's "Ese Hombre" is sultry and smooth, while Michael Stuart's "Te Amo" has a gentle, lilting rhythm that fits nicely with his clean voice. For someone who wants an overview of some of salsa's younger stars, as well as newer songs by some of the mainstays, the Serie Top 10 is a good place to start.

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