Grupo Niche

The Best

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With a fiercely loyal fan base and over ten years of success in the salsa world, Grupo Niche decided that with its six studio albums, and as many compilations, 1994 was ready for The Best. According to the charts, they were right. The Best charted well for them, and continues to be among their best-selling records. Unfortunately, though this may be the best of Grupo Niche, it is not artistically the best that salsa has to offer. Somehow, Grupo Niche has managed to make a name and lasting career for themselves without ever raising their horn-writing above the rudimentary or introducing any of the improvisational elements that give salsa, as a genre, its heat and flavor. Specializing in both smooth, romantic ballads and sensual salsas, the vocals, arrangements, and even the percussion section are incredibly smooth. They are so smooth at times that they are utterly ignorable. The listener might wonder where to direct his attention. Though every element has merit, it is difficult to find a standout, to find the true center of Grupo Niche. Similarly, The Best is a nondescript listen, lacking movement and direction. For the dedicated fan, those who know and love the repertoire, this may be a perfectly good addition to his collection. However, for those looking to explore and wander slightly off pop-salsa's beaten path, this could prove a disappointment.

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