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Album Review

A collaboration between an Afro-Cuban jazz band led by pianist/arranger Arturo O'Farrill and vocalist Claudia Acuña sounds like it should be a rewarding session. Yet in spite of the strong cast of musicians, including guitarist Adam Rogers, trumpeter Michael Mossman, saxophonist Yosvany Terry, and drummer/composer Dafnis Prieto, the CD is slow to get underway, with initially more of a pop emphasis than jazz for the first few tracks. Acuña proves seductive in the playful opener "In These Shoes," though songs like "Paciencia" and "Cuando Cuando" end up sounding like little more than middle of the road Latin pop. Part of the problem is due to the lack of instrumental breaks in the first few songs, while the vocals are sometimes over-engineered. Oddly enough, it is Van Morrison's tiresome "Moondance" that helps the CD come alive with a perky Cuban chart, Rogers' crisp acoustic guitar and the leader's inventive piano backing Acuña's magical vocal. The funky cha cha setting of the standard "Willow Weep for Me" is also a lively affair. The invigorating workout of Rubén Blades' salsa "Dime" would get any audience up dancing. This is still a valuable release, though it falls somewhat short of its potential.

Customer Reviews

It

If the name O'Farrill and Acuna' does not catch you, you just doan know latin music, and this effort will make you clamor for more. From the first humorous title cut, you know this is a ride not meant for 6" stillettos, and should be listened to with a nice thick throw rug at your feet.

"Paciencia" left me visioning a slow swinging "get close together" tempo, and Claudia's sensous voice just lifts you. I was a bit disappointed in the cover of "Moondance" from Van Morrison. It might have been neat to translate it into spanish, and I might have taken the Coltrane-ish soprano sax solo out. Still the collection is superb and "LaPiye" is just fun!

"Willow Weep For Me" is my favorite with a gorgeous arrangement. This is a great step in the latin direction!

Biography

Genre: Latino

A veteran figure of the Afro-Cuban jazz movement, Arturo O'Farrill was born in Cuba and grew up in New York City. The son of big-band leader Chico O'Farrill, Arturo was educated at the Manhattan School of Music and the Brooklyn College Conservatory. From 1979-1983, he played piano with the Carla Bley Big Band. O'Farrill then went on to develop his skills as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre, Papo Vazquez, the Fort Apache Band,...
Full Bio
In These Shoes, Arturo O'Farrill & Claudia Acuna
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Latino, Music
  • Released: Aug 28, 2008

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