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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

BANDA EL RECODO DE CRUZ LIZARRAGA

By MILOS MASSAMOUR
Published April 19, 2006

No Me Se Rajar
Fonovisa

In Mexico’s banda music lore, the late Cruz Lizárraga is the equivalent of Elvis Presley in American rock. After leading the most popular banda orchestra in history for more than half a century, Banda Sinaloense El Recodo, Lizárraga died in 1996. But Don Cruz’s name and legacy lives on through sons Germán and Alfonso, who lead this multigenerational group of 16. This ambitious album is a fine introduction to the genre, albeit some numbers are only good for campiness. Banda is characterized by a waltzing, oompah sound propelled by its most prominent instruments: the honking tuba and bombastic side drum. Garnering mainstream attention in the early ’90s with the quebradita dance craze, El Recodo remains on top of its game here, integrating the clarinet for a Glenn Miller-does-polka frolic. Interpreting a fused version of a classic by ranchera legends Vicente Fernández and José Alfredo Jiménez is the highlight here. The younger members of the group undoubtedly influenced the remixes on two cuts, but unfortunately these wouldn’t go good even in a quesadilla. Will someone please connect them with the Nortec Collective…