Music Reviews

The renowned Grammy winning Venezuelan band LOS AMIGOS INVISIBLES hit London with a bang on Sunday 21st Nov with an energetic show at the Islington Assembly Hall.
Joe was one the faces of New York’s Latin music movement in the late 60’s and 70’s. He recorded some of the biggest hits of Latin Soul, Boogaloo, Salsa and Funk, including ‘Gypsy Woman’ and ‘Subway Joe.’ He has become a cult artist, but unlike many other cult musicians, Joe is still recording and making some great music. This was his return to recording in 2004 after a few years away from the studio, and retains the quality of his older works. After being out of print for a few years, this revamped edition features new artwork and notes by the producers. A great album that will please hardcore fans and newcomers alike.
A compilation that includes Airto Moreira, Gilberto Gil, Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobin is always going to be good. “ The Beat of Brazil” bring together 21 songs from the Warner vaults, this cd compiles some not that known tracks with some classics, to a great result. Covering the period from 1961 to 1982, probably one of the most important and prolific periods in Brazilian music, this was the music that would influence the rest of the world in years to come. Hopefully more stuff like this come be coming out from the label in the near future!
Despite being as rich in music treasures as its neighbours Brazil, Colombia and Cuba, few Venezuelan artists are known outside its borders. The country has a fascinating musical history, and in the 70’s, with loads of petro-dollars to attract top talent, Caracas was (and still is, though in a different way now) a creative hub for musicians. Compiled by Mexico based, Venezuelan born DJ Tony Arelano, this compilation showcases some of the most daring experimental rock of its time. This was not commercially driven stuff, but creative freedom at work by a whole generation of great musicians looking for their musical identity. A Fantastic release from Soul Jazz Records
Grosso! Recordings Arsenio Rodriguez, aka the ‘Marvellous Blind man’ is one of Latin music’s greatest unsung heroes. A true genius, he created the roots s of what eventually would become Salsa. He died poor and forgotten in the USA while the Fania record label made a fortune by using his tunes, without paying royalties. This double Vinyl is a compilation of some of his most known recordings, including the original Fuego en el 23. For those vinyl lovers, this is as good as it gets when it comes to Latin grooves, limited to only 500 copies.
Following his great debut San Agustín, Sanz delivers another solid Salsa album. This album is a daring production for Sanz, going into a more mature sound, with three English songs and an array of guests including his producer/mentor/friend Alex Wilson on piano and Oscar "Chuky" Cordero un trumpet. Sanz is part of the already consolidated new wave of European salsa bandleaders and this album is testament of the quality of the Salsa sound created away from the Americas.
Dominican pianist Michel Camilo and Spanish guitarist Tomatito, have become one of the great musical pairings of the century. Back in 2000, after being friends for years, the two maestros recorded the seminal album ‘Spain’, which won the Jazz category in the first ever Latin Grammy awards. In 2006 they were at it again with ‘Spain Again’. It has taken them 10 years to come together to complete the trilogy; at last the long-awaited ‘Spain Forever’ arrives. Camilo's flawless technique and rhythm alongside with Tomatito’s virtuosity come together once again to deliver if maybe not their masterpiece, without doubt a beautiful work of art.
The 2016 season of BBC Proms has featured an unusual programme of high profile musicians from Latin America, starting with the brilliant young Argentine Sol Gabetta, soloist in an outstanding performance of Elgar's 'cello concerto and with the celebrated Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez bringing the festival to a climactic finale in the popular Last Night on 10 September. This week, however, witnessed a moment of crowning glory with the talented young pianist from Venezuela, Gabriela Montero, joining forces with the Sao Paulo Symphony and Jazz Symphony Orchestras under the baton of American conductor Marin Alsop to play music ranging from the high romantic European tradition embodied in Grieg's Piano Concerto to a celebration of the last 100 years of Brazilian popular music.
The biggest selling salsa artist of all time showed he could still be surprised by adoring fans, as he was visibly moved and energised by an 02 full of London's latinos.
South London producer Mala’s latest production on Brownwood records is every bit as good as his previous album ‘Mala In Cuba’. This time Mala went deeper south and dug into the sounds of Peru: from the Afro sounds of the Cajon to the deep sound of the jungle, and he delivered this masterpiece ‘Mirrors’. Fusing folk sounds with modern synths is nothing new, but Mala really works his magic, crafting a beautifully minimalistic sound. Each song is completely different in cadence and groove but the whole production is a showcase of his skills as well as the powerful music of Peru. Electronic music does not get much better than this. I cannot recommend this enough!