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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By MARTY LIPP
Published March 3, 2006

OXFAM LATIN DANCE
World Music Network

Picking a CD’s worth of good Latin dance tunes should be like shooting bacalao in a barrel, but some collections go straight for pop silliness while others run into licensing problems and have to settle for weaker cuts. Fortunately, the compilers of this collection have deftly assembled a wide-ranging roster that may not include Latin America’s biggest sellers, but taps some brilliant, lesser-known performers such as bolero singer Armando Garzón, Latin jazz pioneer Mario Bauzá and Dominican innovator Chichi Peralta. And it doesn’t hurt that the collection benefits Oxfam, which works for the rights, economic self-sufficiency and health of disadvantaged people around the world. With only a brief nod to salsa, the disc jumps around the world, taking in samba, cumbia, Latin jazz, plena and even some alterlatino. Here’s a disc that is a well-thought-out look at the many facets of Latin music, but more importantly is a consistently fun listen.