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Album Review

A Celia Cruz/Willie Colon collaboration is to salseros what a Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell duet is to soul lovers or an Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong project is to jazz enthusiasts; in other words, you're bringing together two of the best artists that the genre has to offer. When Cruz and Colon get together, the sparks usually fly — and Celia y Willie is no exception. Considering how much this LP had going for it, one would have been surprised if things hadn't gone well. Celia y Willie is an album that boasts Cruz on lead vocals, Colon producing, salsa impresario Jerri Masucci serving as executive producer, and talent like Luis "Perico" Ortiz and Louie Ramirez helping with the arrangements, not to mention Cruz having access to excellent material. Add those things up, and it would have been surprising if Cruz hadn't soared on exuberant gems like "Kirimbambara," "Latinos en Estados Unidos," and the hit "Don Jueyes." Equally strong is "Come Down to Miami," which has an English title but offers mostly Spanish lyrics. Praising Miami, the song playfully urges New York's Latinos to say good-bye to the Big Apple's chilly winters and make Miami their permanent home. And even if you're quite happy living in New York and don't care for Miami's year-round heat, "Come Down to Miami" is still fun and infectious. A fine example of the chemistry that Cruz and Colon enjoy, Willie y Celia is happily recommended to salseros.


Born: 21 October 1925 in Havana, Cuba

Genre: Salsa and Tropical

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Celia Cruz was one of Latin music's most respected vocalists. A ten-time Grammy nominee, Cruz, who sang only in her native Spanish language, received a Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement award, a National Medal of the Arts, and honorary doctorates from Yale University and the University of Miami. A street in Miami was even renamed in her honor, and Cruz's trademark orange, red, and white polka dot dress and shoes have been placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute of Technology....
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Celia & Willie, Celia Cruz
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