At first glance, he may look like just another Latin heartthrob of the Enrique Iglesias variety, but Victor Manuelle has proven himself to be one of the most deserving young potential heirs to the "King of Salsa" throne left vacant by Tito Puente's passing. On a decade's worth of superlative recordings, Manuelle has showcased his passion for the classic salsa sound, establishing himself as one of the few third-generation performers to truly understand the music's twin roles as a serious art form and an excuse for serious rear-shaking.
Although TRAVESIA's wonderfully clear and full production keeps the album from ever becoming a retro affair, the music here has an undeniably old-school quality. The gloriously earthy horn arrangements have a lot to do with it, and beginning right with the opening track ("Llore Llore"), the players revel in their instruments' sheer brassiness. Other highlights include "Te Propongo," which features a distinctly Spanish accordion part that subtly reminds the listener of salsa's roots in 19th-century European salon music, and "Tengo Ganas," a folk-like ballad that shows the full range of Manuelle's soaring tenor.