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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

CENTRAL PARK SUMMERSTAGE: LIVE FROM THE HEART OF THE CITY

By Ernest Barteldes
Published September 23, 2005

CIM

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the people behind New York’s annual outdoor live music event have released a compilation of some of its greatest moments. The CD could have had more tracks, but that was not possible due to licensing issues. The crown jewel of the album is “Bemba Colora,” taken from the great, late Celia Cruz’ final performance, in which the Queen of Salsa, aware of the illness that would later claim her life, freestyles into the song: “As I prepare to leave, please God remember my name/and if I die, hell, just bury me here in Central Park...” Also worth the price are Ojos de Brujo’s “Tanguillo de Maria” and Susana Baca’s poignant dedication of her “Molino Molero” to “the end of all borders.” Ben Folds and Guster go jazzy on “Fair,” while NRBQ seems to have had a lot of fun on their rock and roll treatment to Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm.”