Viva Cugat!

Xavier Cugat

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Viva Cugat! Review

by Tony Wilds

The star of Viva Cugat! to many is the audiophile quality of this entry in Mercury's "Perfect Presence Sound Series." Indeed, the gatefold liners and beautiful packaging, not to mention the glories reaped from the lost art of microphone placement, make it a splendor of stereophonic experimentation. Risking nothing, the all-instrumental material includes three by Ernesto Lecuona and two by Cugat: the fabulously exotic, haunting "Nightingale" from 1942 and "Jungle Concerto." The warhorses "Siboney" and "Say 'Si Si'" appear yet again, both in swinging, "mod" versions with lasting appeal. Other tunes, such as "Anna" and "Poinciana," are beautiful enough to lend themselves to both the tricks of channel separation and the string section, neither of which is either staid or too overwrought.

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