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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Various Artists

By Tom Orr
Published April 16, 2008

Think Global: Salsa
World Music Network

While other salsa compilations have reached farther geographically, this one goes pleasingly deep into the music’s Afro-Latin roots, showcasing artists who move beyond the formulaic and, most importantly, into realms that just plain sizzle. Spanish Harlem Orchestra’s opening “Salsa Pa’l Bailador” recalls the glory days of Fania Records, while the West Coast scene is ably represented by Phil Robinson’s sonero-like vocalizing and the always-adventurous Ricardo Lemvo. Further in the sequence, London-based Adriana Santana strikes gold with her hard-but-sensual Colombian take on salsa romantica—it's also a perfect preamble to the swinging Latin jazz selections from Grupo Latin Vibe and Wayne Gorbea. As each successive track turns up the heat, the snappy piano patterns, bubbling percussion and blazing horns become more naturally prominent. This is a fine, celebratory salsa selection that’s rendered all the more important because of its ties to Amnesty International, co-producers of the Think Global series.