Luis Enrique

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Transparente Review

by Evan C. Gutierrez

El Principe de la Salsa returns from years of inactivity to salsa's forefront with his 2002 release, Transparente. In collaboration with Latin music super-producer Sergio George, the prince of salsa offers up eight original compositions to his growingly impatient fans. The trademark salsa/hip-hop/R&B amalgam that has become synonymous with George's name offers the perfect backdrop for Enrique's unique, sensitive vocal style. The arrangements are consistently top drawer, with memorable horn lines and time-shifting percussion breaks throughout. Sir George may be the only producer on the scene today who has the confidence and skill to integrate both raw, natural instrumentation and streetwise drum programming. In the hands of a lesser producer, the results could have been (and often are) disastrous, but here they are pure gold. Though Enrique's ornamentation can sometimes cloud a song, and can obscure the melody on certain tracks, his sensibilities by and large don't lead him astray. Hearing him sing songs that he had a hand in crafting is a refreshing change for this artist, whose name has never before appeared in the writing credits. Both the caliber of his collaborators and the depth of his involvement in the creative process denote a new level of maturity for this longtime crowd favorite.

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