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Viva Cugat!

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Album Review

The star of Viva Cugat! to many is the audiophile quality of this entry in Mercury's "Perfect Presence Sound Series." Indeed, the gatefold liners and beautiful packaging, not to mention the glories reaped from the lost art of microphone placement, make it a splendor of stereophonic experimentation. Risking nothing, the all-instrumental material includes three by Ernesto Lecuona and two by Cugat: the fabulously exotic, haunting "Nightingale" from 1942 and "Jungle Concerto." The warhorses "Siboney" and "Say 'Si Si'" appear yet again, both in swinging, "mod" versions with lasting appeal. Other tunes, such as "Anna" and "Poinciana," are beautiful enough to lend themselves to both the tricks of channel separation and the string section, neither of which is either staid or too overwrought.


Born: 01 January 1900 in Gerona, Spain

Genre: Latino

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Remembered for his highly commercial approach to pop music, Xavier Cugat (born Francisco de Asis Javier Cugat Mingall de Cru y Deulofeo) made an even greater mark as one of the pioneers of Latin American dance music. During his eight-decade-long career, Cugat helped to popularize the tango, the cha-cha, the mambo, and the rhumba. His hits included "El Manicero" in the 1930s, "Perfidia" in 1940, and the original recording of "Babalu" in 1944. Members of Cugat's band included Desi Arnaz, Miguelito...
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Viva Cugat!, Xavier Cugat
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