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Latin Pianos

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Album Review

Ferrante & Teicher's Latin Pianos, with an orchestra conducted by Don Costa, is not your standard 1960s middle-of-the-road fare, though the duo was undeservedly lumped in with Ray Conniff and other purveyors of soft music from that era. Yes, this is adult contemporary, but in the same vein as Esquivel, the Latin Pianos album taking sounds from south of the border and mixing them up with percussion and well-timed piano attacks, maneuvers Billy Joel and Elton John should study for their performances together. The "twenty most talented fingers now covering the twin keyboards," as the uncredited liner notes describe Arthur Ferrante and Louis Teicher, dance in a quasi-jazz mix that could fit on The Lawrence Welk Show as easily as it could slide into the bachelor pad. "Ariba" is one of the duo's two originals, a clever and sometimes funny three minutes and two seconds. Imagine Liberace maintaining a moody and less ostentatious approach, and that's what "Quizas, Quizas, Quizas" brings to the table, fragments of "Never on Sunday" flowing through the affair. Costa's orchestration is more than understated on "Amor" — it's more like a metronome and drummer borrowed from last weekend's wedding. Guitar meets xylophone in "Amor' to good effect, but there's none of that great dense sound found on their 1969 Top Ten hit, "Midnight Cowboy." Latin Pianos is intentionally low-key, very little getting in the way of the pianists' quick and efficient work. Some odd vocals appear out of nowhere on "Oye Negra," the most film-oriented title in this collection, and the 12 selections all hover around the two-and-a-half to three-minute mark. The longest and perhaps most elegant cut is "Brazil," opening side two with close to four minutes of musical movements that go up and down with colorful melodies and rhythm. The pair creates an interesting tune titled "La Cucachacha"; they do their own arrangement of the classic "La Cucaracha" as well. Madriguera's "Adios" brings things down nicely, but the incessant and simple drums do become monotonous, and by the eighth song one wishes they would drop out altogether and just allow these virtuosos to have their fun unencumbered by the nonstop accompaniment. A little more creativity from Costa would have been most welcome; perhaps he was approaching this project with the "less is more" philosophy. Things pick up on "La Cucaracha," the drums getting a bit more exotic, but overall the album feels like it is holding back. Latin Pianos captures the pair at an interesting moment in time, and one wonders what the approach would have been to this had it been recorded a decade or two later. The former Juilliard students from New York and Pennsylvania know how to catch a wave and ride it; they slip a bit of magic between the grooves of this album, which looks and feels like it was made for a specific audience, an audience the pair's work has transcended.

Biography

Formed: 1947

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Piano duo Ferrante & Teicher were one of the best-selling easy listening acts of the '60s, offering light arrangements of easily recognizable classical pieces, movie soundtrack themes, show tunes, and similarly compatible fare. Arthur Ferrante (born September 7, 1921, New York City) and Louis Teicher (born August 24, 1924, Wilkes-Barre, PA.) met while attending the prestigious Juilliard School of Music; both were child prodigies, and they struck up a fast friendship, performing together as a duo...
Full bio
Latin Pianos, Ferrante & Teicher
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  • 4,99 €
  • Genres: Latino, Music, Rock
  • Released: 24 May 2011

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