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1. Buena Vista Social Club
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2. Lagrimas Negras
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3. Wave
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4. Elis & Tom
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5. Introducing...Ruben Gonzalez
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6. A Toda Cuba Le Gusta
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7. One Blood: Una Sangre
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8. Buena Vista Social Club Presents:
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9. Jazz Samba Encore!
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10. El Arte del Sabor
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11. Oye Como Va: The Dance Collection
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12. Concord Records SACD Sampler 1
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13. Verve Unmixed 2
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14. Vol. 5: Carnival
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15. Ken Burns's Jazz: The Story of
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16. Congo to Cuba
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17. Que Pasa
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18. Trumpet Evolution
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19. Caliente!
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20. Live at the Blue Note

1. Buena Vista Social Club
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B000005J56
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 435
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Ry Cooder's name has helped bring attention to this session, but it's the veteran Cuban son musicians who make this album really special. Reminiscent of Ellington in its scope and sense of hushed romanticism, Buena Vista Social Club is that rare meld of quietude and intensity; while the players sound laid-back, they're putting forth very alive music, a reminder that aging doesn't mean taking to bed. Barbarito Torres's laoud solo on "El Cuarto de Tula" is both more blinding and more tasteful than any guitar showcase on any recent rock album; a quote from "Stormy Weather" and some very distinct parallels to Hawaiian styles remind us of why it's called "world music." --Rickey Wright ... Read more

Reviews (277)

5-0 out of 5 stars Full Of Life And Energy.
"Buena Vista Social Club" is a collection of music done with true feeling, talent and spirit. Great music never gets too old and here is evidence the great music from Cuba is still vibrant today as it was 40 years ago. The film based on the group had a special message about how age doesn't matter in the area of the great artists. One of the musicians here is in his 90s and look at how alive and energetic and moving this music is! The vocals, the music, the lyrics are all rich and full of style. These are real musicians playing real music. Like Santana's "Supernatural," "Buena Vista Social Club" is more of an experience than just good music. Songs like "Chan Chan" are really deep and move you in a nice way, others like "Candela" just excite you with the energy and fun feeling of it all. I'm grateful to Ry Cooder for bringing back these incredible musicians who play some of the best Cuban music ever. The only reason other arists like Celia Cruz don't mention them that often is because they still live in their homeland, Cuba. But they deserve praise and more. Recently we remembered Tito Puente who was a great musician and recently passed away, but we should also appreciate those who really brought Latin music to life, the ones who really play it with spirit and feeling. "Buena Vista Social Club" is no less than a masterpiece.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Cuban Masterpiece
I have no words to describe how brilliant this recording is. Buena Vista Social Club bring alive the music that has sustained Cuba as far back as the 1920s. Listening to the likes of Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez, Eliades Ochoa, Compay Segundo and Omara Portuondo paint a picture of a vibrant and soulful Cuba from the not too distant past. Needless to say, all musicians on this album have such incredible talent, that it is difficult to believe that we've missed out on such a musical extravagance for over 50 years. I have not come across a singer that can deliver such heartfelt passion in their music like Ibrahim Ferrer (83) and Compay Segundo (93), but the person that moved me the most on this recording was the 77 year old pianist Ruben Gonzalez. You just have to listen to PUEBLO NUEVO and MURMULLO to realise this man's incredible talent. It is hard to believe that Ruben virtually had given up playing due to arthritis in his hands, and that he has no piano at home.

It is amazing to think that none of the musicians received recognition at the height of their careers, and seeing their current living conditions is a humbling experience. Nonetheless, I am happy that they achieved fame at last. All songs on this album are masterpieces. This recording is worth ten times its price, and it is one of my most treasured CDs in my music collection. It is a nostalgic, yet brilliant piece of Cuba.

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this cd.
I saw the video on PBS a couple of years ago. I was instantly hooked. I don't speak Spanish but like other reviewers have said, music is a universal language, and the beauty of this music proves that. I highly recommend this cd as a must own.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cuban Music Like Mama Used To Make
I happen to come across this cd by sheer luck. It is the best cd that I have purchased to date. I mixes latin jazz, big band and ballroom music all together. There are several fun songs with a deep routed soul that I thought had been lost. Even if you do not understand spanish this is a wonderful treasure to have in your collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Unbelievable!
Buena Vista Social Club's self titled first album is musical excellence. Focusing predominantly on son, a traditional Cuban musical form, BVSC delivers, and with spectacular results. This collaborative masterpiece between BVSC and Ry Cooder simply must be experienced. From the first chords on the tres on "Chan Chan" to the final notes of "La Bayamesa", BVSC takes the listener on a trip to both Old Havana as well as rural Cuba. BVSC provides an excellent introduction to traditional Cuban music to those who are new to the genre, as well as a more than satisfying offering to even the most discerning Cuban music afficionado. In all honesty, I feel (and I think that most of this album's reviewers would tend to agree with me on this one) that to discredit this album is truly to demonstrate profound ignorance and lack of appreciation for son music, one of Cuba's oldest and most respected musical styles. In short, this album is ablsoutely essential listening and a must-buy, hands down. If you don't already own this album, buy it as soon as possible. You won't be disappointed. ... Read more


2. Lagrimas Negras
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0001EKZOQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1086
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This album pairs one of the greatest flamenco singers of today, cantaor Diego El Cigala, with one of Cuba's finest Afro-Cuban pianists, Bebo Valdes. With Valdes (father of the great Chucho Valdes) born in 1918, there's a 40-year age difference between the pianist and the singer, but they do a fine job crossing generations and oceans to discover the commonalities between Caribbean and the Iberian music, coming up with a romantic marriage of the two cultures using rumbas, guajira, sons and boleros. All the songs are classics out of the Latin music tradition, using just a handful of players in support. Valdes's fingers are delicate and prone to dramatic flourishes; Cigala's voice is pure flamenco in its hoarse intonation, cadence and emotional outpourings. The two masters make the union work by focusing on the drama of the love songs--"Veinte Años," "Inolvidable" and the title track are just three amazing examples--as fuel for some of the most exquisitely passionate music to come out in ages.--Tad Hendrickson ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sublime
That's pianist Bebo Valdes, one of Cuba's great jam session players of the 1950s (and still a potent force on the music scene) and flamenco vocalist Diego "La Cigala," whose half-croaked, Arabic-tinged inflections offer a fine counterpoint to Valdes's trademark sleek, supple piano runs. Cigala sounds like he, too, must be an ancient old-timer, un viejo, like all those Buena Vista dudes... But in fact he is a youngster, a ponytailed whippersnapper who just happens to channel weight of the the ages... Quite a lot of gravitas, subtlety and artistic firepower is assembled here; just to spice things up, they bring in some highpowered guests, such as jazzman Paquito D'Rivera, Milton Cardona and Brazilian superstar Caetano Veloso, who duets with Cigana on a version of "Coracao Vagabundo," which closes the album. Also included are classic compositions by Miguel Matamoros, Maria Teresa Vera and other Latin American and Iberian legends. Mighty classy material.

5-0 out of 5 stars Master Bebo Valdes, El Maestro...
Bebo Valdés is not only a superb piano player, he is a great composer of Cuban music.
Exile in Switzerland, and great cuban gentleman.
Qué siga la tradición, Bebo!
Gracias.
José Porcell Sr.

4-0 out of 5 stars Musical Paradise for Latin Music
2 Bad Cigala sings . Otherwise is Perfect .

5-0 out of 5 stars Is there anything else?
This is the question I would like to ask to Mr. Valdes if I have the opportunity. And I'm sure that he would answer with a "yes", because music is always changing, because we must be ready for such nice surprises as long as musicians like "Bebo" and "El Cigala" are among us. My grandparents used to listen to some of these boleros, and because of them I like this music. Now, I have the chance to listen to them in a different way. I'm pretty sure that they didn't imagine this deep and marvelous interpretation, and that it's not going to be the last one. ... Read more


3. Wave
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Asin: B000002G6J
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3544
Average Customer Review: 4.94 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

It's hardly a stretch to say that Antonio Carlos Jobim--the wonderful Brazilian composer almost single-handedly responsible for all things bossa nova--influenced some of past half century's best and most insipid musics, from bossa nova jazz to elevator Muzak. Wave, a collection of 1967 dates featuring keyboardist Jobim backed by an extensive orchestra, straddles that line: it's full of amazing original compositions, but the arrangements have a certain faux suave, late-'60s lounge feel that reeks of stale cheese. The result is actually great, the veneer of kitsch insidiously masking Jobim's trademark immeasurable sadness, which creeps up on you and leaves you unexpectedly affected. --Keven McAlester ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars The album that defines bossa nova
I first bought WAVE on vinyl, shortly it was released, already being a fan of Jobim. I played the grooves off of it. Now, I have it in CD. It's doubtful anyone in the world has played and listened to this album more than I have over the years. The appeal is threefold: First, Jobim's music is relentlessly upbeat and mood elevating. There is a happiness and joy which never fails to make your outlook on life better. Second, the music is relaxing. It cuts through tension and removes the stress and aggravation of everyday living. Third, it's rhythmic. Brazilian beats are recognized as the most expressive and soul-moving in the world. If these rhythms don't get your body subtly moving, you'll need life supports! If you don't know Jobim or haven't listened to Brazilian Bossa Nova, start here! Jobim is the undisputed, heavyweight champion of the genre and THIS album is at the absolute top of his work. Do NOT miss it!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Have
This CD is a classic, no doubt about it. It's a release that I would have to recommend to anyone that's a fan of Bossa Nova and Antonio Carlos Jobim's music. To many, Wave is like the essence of Bossa Nova and a cornerstone in the genre. Simply put, you haven't heard all there is to hear of Bossa Nova if you haven't heard this.

I love this CD - I can put it in no matter the time of day and unwind and relax. It has soothing orchestration, gentle touches of life and the musicianship is stellar, of course, and it's very romantic. It's almost like there's a song for each season of the year and once the music plays, you're taken to another place. Of all the Antonio Carlos Jobim releases, this is certainly an essential - along with Elis and Tom. So many artists have redone works here and it's safe to say that very very few of them capture the magic that the versions here do - with the notable exception of Elis Regina's "Triste" IMO.

Definitely PICK THIS UP! It's worth every penny. But be warned if you're a bit new to Bossa Nova, this isn't so much about Astrud Gilberto, Stan Getz or Joao Gilberto so the versions here are very different from theirs. And if you do pick this up and like it, certainly check out Getz/Gilberto, Elis & Tom, Astrud Gilberto and of course Joao Gilberto and work by Joyce. Oh yeah, and check out "Tide", by Antonio Carlos Jobim too. Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Music of Antonio Carlos Hobim
Jobim Music is to float on a cloud of dreams. I have most of his music performed by all the great Brazilian artists including a
a superb rendition by Frank Sinatra {not Brazilian}
Ilove this CD.Although it is Instrumental The music is divine.
Jobim inspires love and romance in me.
From Arti a 24 years GUY

5-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate bossa nova album, and Tom Jobim's best
I just received this album, today, and I can't get enough of it! I had sampled listening to the tracks after being attracted to "Wave"'s unique album cover with the giraffe silhouetted in a 'green sky' background. (The picture on the back with Tom Jobim in silhouette is also nice, adding a haunting, dramatic touch.) I immediately fell in love with this album, and had to order it.

All of the tracks on Tom Jobim's "Wave" are bossa novas - bossa nova being my favorite style of Brazilian music. One can't help imagine being on a Rio beach while listening to the tracks, such as "Wave", "The Red Blouse", "Mojave" and, my ultimate favorite, "Antigua", which reminds one of the beach and sea. When I listen to "Antigua" (at least, just this version), whimsical person that I am, I imagine Alexander Belayev's "Amphibian" Ichthyander romancing his sweetheart, Gutierre on an isolated beach on that Caribbean island. I see them tenderly embracing (and kissing!) at the surf.

Okay, back to reality, and Tom Jobim's "Wave"!

I sampled the tracks on "Tide", Jobim's follow-up album to "Wave". "Tide" is good, but many of the songs veer from the bossa nova sound. Which is why I'm sticking with "Wave". An Amazon reviewer mentioned that "Wave" is the better of the two albums. I agree. For me, it is THE BEST! Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Wave" is a must-have for lovers of standard bossa nova music, and for lovers, in general.

5-0 out of 5 stars Chillout, lounge... this is where it all began
Close your eyes, forget about names and time. If you do that, you can picture "The Red House", the now-legendary "Triste", the 3/4 "Mojave" or "Lamento" being recorded by some of the 21st century's hottest chillout acts... but truth is that it's yet another revival (not implying that today's work lacks value or originality)... quite simply, Tom Jobim did this back 1967, with his new Bossa (Bossa Nova) in this follow through to classics such as "The Girl from Ipanema", "One Note Samba" and "Desafinado".

Digitally mastered and engineered by mega-producer Rudy Van Gelder, this reissue of Jobim's 'Wave' blends in a perfect mix of downtempo, romantic tunes with upbeat tracks that bring out the best in Bossa Nova from the father of the genre himself, for the new generation and those who heard the music back in the days, to enjoy alike. ... Read more


4. Elis & Tom
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our price: $14.99
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Asin: B000001FCB
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3125
Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bossa Nova Twilight
"Elis and Tom" is one of the half-dozen essential bossa nova works. Jobim, on his own, is interesting; albums like the 1967 "Wave" are a weird hybrid of cool jazz and something else that can come off as saccharine. Those benighted souls who think that Astrud Gilberto is the voice of Jobim have been misled, since Elis Regina is a fantastic and sexy singer and Astrud is a terrible and sexy singer, sort of the Sandie Shaw of Brazil. That's the problem in general with this music--there have been so many ghastly versions of classics like "Corcovado" or "Double Rainbow" or "Waters of March" that it's hard to hear them for what they are. "Elis and Tom," recorded in Los Angeles in 1974, is the perfect corrective to this perception. These are indeed the definitive versions of fourteen Jobim tunes and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. Elis Regina recorded many things that I don't care for--she could be histrionic, and the rock arrangements she was using in the early '70s render her music from that era just about unlistenable. But at her best, singing the great compositions of Jobim, Gil, Nascimento, Jorge Ben and Ivan Lins, she bears comparison with the best pop singers of the century (she dressed just as weird as Aretha Franklin and seems to have been every bit as [messed]-up as Billie Holiday).

5-0 out of 5 stars Unabashedly romantic...and a slice of Heaven
As stated in my 'profile', this is one of my top 5 'stranded on a desert isle' recordings. In fact, though I wasn't stranded, this recording has made the island routes and made some friends for me who spoke different languages. The music on this recording has a universal language, though all the lyrics are in Portugese. The language is Love. The previous reviews say most of what I would have - but anyone who loves Elis and Tom must find (or buy) the Jobim compilation put together by Oscar Castro-Neves entitled "Antonio Carlos Jobim - The Man From Ipanema". On it you will find a rare treat or two. For instance, after the last track on the last CD (which is the Astrud Gilberto version of "Vivo Sohando"), unannounced in the notes or the discography, come 6 or 7 out-takes of Elis and Tom working on Aguas de Marco. It is at the same time revealing and hilarious. It is a glimpse into the fun and the personalities of both Regina and Jobim. Also included is the track "Bonita" which does not appear on this recording. Somewhat wickedly, Astrud is placed between Elis Regina or followed by her a few times just in case anyone really thinks she is a singer... I have heard this described as a musicians' recording, but judging by the number of reviews here and the comments, it appears that it is also a damn good listeners' recording as well. One last thing - if one were to be stranded on a desert island with this recording, if you played it loud enough you would not be stranded for long, trust me on this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless beauty
Superlatives do no good. I was going through the vinyl collection of a 60+ year old friend and stopped at this disc. Bob said he picked it up in Brazil back in the 70's and explained what a huge record it was back in that day. Well I borrowed it, slapped it on my SOTA and through the scratches came the most enchanting and genuine of sounds. Instant love. The charm and chemistry of the two is undeniable as you laugh along. Other parts set a mood that is pure romance and relaxation. I ran the record through ProTools and descratched it, only to find the CD release some months later. This a great soundtrack for a warm easy summer day or a cold urban winter night. Gentle, honest and affectionate music. Great for sharing. One of the all too rare true gems.

5-0 out of 5 stars The album all Brazilians own
Locals consider Elis Regina the most gifted Brazilian singer ever. She died too soon, in 1980. Tom Jobim is one of the creators of Bossa Nova and the conductor that made the genre famous worldwide. This combination alone would make this CD remarkable. But there's more. A lot more.

Elis was in her top shape in 1974 when the CD was recorded. The arrangements are subtle, delicate. Jobim's piano is sublime here. The recording is flawless, the textures, the tones, everything is crisp and present. Many takes are FIRST TAKES. The emotion was captured raw and sincere, very few overdubs were done.

A rare gem.

If you go to a Brazilian's home and browse through his/her CD collection, chances are this CD will be there. If you ask a musician from that country what are the top 10 albums ever, chances are this will be listed.

If you have to own ONE Brazilian CD, this should be it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Furacao
Elis, the little hurricane, had one of the most powerful singing voices--amazing range and acuity, and it's all on display on this record, because Jobim's compositions have an equally impressive range. Some of the arrangements are a little too "poppy" for my taste, but the electric organ works to great effect on a tune like "So tinha de ser pra voce." And everyone is familiar with the version of "Aguas de Marco"--the very structure of the lyrics allows Elis and Tom's voices to engage in a sinuous cat-and-mouse game. By the end of the song, they are simply singing out disconnected syllables, both under the spell of the music. "Triste" is given a nice turn, though the guitar solo at the end doesn't quite fit. Elis lets it all go on one of Jobim's quintessential ballads, "Retrato em Branco e Preto", Tom very tasteful on the piano behind her. All in all, a little syrupy, yes, but it can be forgiven because it was the 70s, and syrup was everywhere. ... Read more


5. Introducing...Ruben Gonzalez
list price: $17.98
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Asin: B000005J55
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3692
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Cuban pianist Rubén González has lived through this century's greatest musical windstorms, from the emergence of son to salsa to Latin Jazz and more. Born in 1919, González also retired from playing professionally years before this, his debut CD, was even recorded. He reemerged in 1996 when World Circuit stopped in Cuba to record for several days. He ended up making a thrilling debut. This impromptu CD was cut in a day, and its limber vibe shines for all its uptempo looseness. González plays a rainbow of Cuban rhythms and prods his percussionists and lone trumpeter to great depths of conversation and great heights of flash. --Andrew Bartlett ... Read more

Reviews (72)

5-0 out of 5 stars Music to the ears!!!!
In more ways than one, this CD gets to you. As a Cuban, is music that brings you back to your roots. Ruben plays very smoothly and with a lot of feeling. It is incredible that he retains such ability at his age. Of course, he is a great artist, and to him this music is his life. He can play it in his sleep. He is refreshing and warm. His rendition of "melodia del rio" is so romantic that I kept playing it over and over. It was so relaxing and warm. This CD is a must to any collection of Cuban music. What a human interest story Ruben represents! He did not own a piano anymore and had not played for a while. He was all but forgotten. He has come alive again and a lot of us feel very proud of him and this music. To him, playing piano was like riding a bicycle. He did not forget!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful
I hate to "ride the wave" of popular trends, but in the case of the musicians affiliated with the Buena Vista Social Club, the praise and adulation is fully deserved. I rented the film a few weeks ago and was blown away by the marvelous performances of these legends. I work in a CD store and I put this Ruben Gonzalez disc on our PA system at work the other day. In a span of about two hours I had at least a dozen people either ask me who the artist was or examine the CD case sitting on the counter. I've never seen such a wide variety of music fans show that kind of appreciation for one artist. Ruben Gonzalez isn't just some geriatric has-been who people are showing sympathy for due to his age -- the man would still be considered a stunning musician if he were 30! (he's 81, by the way). His command of the piano is breathtaking. Ry Cooder was right in his liner notes...Ruben sounds like a cross between Thelonious Monk and Felix the Cat. The music is sumptuous and Ruben's hands glide across the keyboard with utter grace. Whether or not you like Cuban music, it's impossible to resist the songs on this disc. I can't recommend it strongly enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars Farewell to Ruben Gonzalez
On Monday, December 8, 2003, Ruben Gonzalez died at the unregretful age of 84. Farewell to an unbelievably charismatic and talented musician! His death is the sad realistic reminder that as great musicians like him grow old and die, so does a priceless era of music that will never be emulated.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sadly no longer with us...
Ruben Gonzalez no longer is with us. He passed away yesterday. At least he lived a life worth living! He was one of the best Latin pianists ever, one of those (like a friend said) that you just don't find any more. He combined technique and charm in a way that few have been able to. Fortunately for the rest of the world, Ry Cooder discovered him, along with Ibrahim Ferrer and a host of other Cuban geniuses of Latin music with his Buena Vista Social Club initiative. After that album, this "Introductory" recording presented Ruben Gonzalez's work to the world in a more focused way. You are bound to respect this gentleman once you take a listen to this album. Ruben Gonzalez: descansa en paz!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Past Re-Introducing Itself to the Ever-Emerging Present
Ry Cooder once described Ruben Gonzalez as, "A Cuban cross between Thelonius Monk and Felix the Cat." Ruben Gonzalez is no Thelonius Monk...and I cannot really say if he is Felix the Cat...but he is definitely an extremely rare piece of jazz history...an "endangered species" of sorts in comparison to today's lacklustre jazz scene. Thanks to the re-emergence of mostly forgotten Cuban musicians in the late 90's through such vehicles as the Afro-Cuban All-Stars and the Buena Vista Social Club, the world...or at least a portion of it...has had the opportunity to experience a truly unique skill and sound that once flourished. This description of Ruben Gonzalez's music cannot do him justice. When you listen to him either pounding out or softly lifting notes off the piano keys, feelings of excitement, nostalgia, appreciation, comfort, and reflection can all rise to the surface. His skill is difficult to match; his love of music nearly impossible to emulate. Ruben Gonzalez "is" the music he creates and plays...a living example of the musical past re-introducing itself to the ever-emerging present. ... Read more


6. A Toda Cuba Le Gusta
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Asin: B000005J54
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1760
Average Customer Review: 4.95 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

A rousing ensemble recording, A Todo Cuba Le Gusta features a band made up largely of Cuban music elders. As a reflection of their collective experience playing multiple percussion instruments and brightly lit trumpets, the Afro-Cuban All Stars churn with high drama, even while playing music that's paced with extravagant patience. The time signatures overlay and run against each other in a casual trot while the trumpets blare with fat fullness. Add to that the impassioned group vocals and you've got a hard-to-beat Cuban traditional music session. --Andrew Bartlett ... Read more

Reviews (42)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is the world's most danceable music!
I bought this album because the group is coming to the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore in March of 2000. I'm a telemarketer and wanted to know what they sounded like so I could pitch them. I've also been to Cuba and really enjoyed the music there. The verdict: This is a fabulous album and I've been raving about it and about the group to my patrons ever since. I predict that people will be dancing in the aisles at the Meyerhoff! It is impossible to sit still while listening to it; even my totally nonmusical sister was dancing to it. (I'm still in shock about that!) I've also just seen the Buena Vista Social Club film about Ry Cooder's trip to Cuba to pull that group together. I was very pleased to see some of the same people are also members of the Afro-Cuban All Stars: the great pianist Ruben Gonzalez, and 90+ year old vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer (who looks 70, if a day.) I can't wait to see them in person. Anyone who likes world music will love this CD. I guarantee it!

5-0 out of 5 stars This Cuban is thrilled w/this Cuban album. Read my review
This album is a work of art. It is only rivaled by its companion albums, "Buena Vista Social Club", and "Introducing Ruben Gonzalez". I would strongly recommend buying all three and listening to them in succession, although each is excellent in its own right. "Afro-Cuban All-Stars" is a collection of old standards, mostly from the Cuba of the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Although to many (including this Cuban-american) that Cuba is gone, what with the political scene such as it is now under Castro, the music IS ALIVE, as this album definitely proves. Lush, big band sounds, impeccable singing by such greats as Ibrahim Ferrer and Manuel Puntillita Licea, combine to paint a vivid musical picture that practically includes the tropical aroma of the island itself. The first track, "Amor Verdadero", is a "son" that tells an unforgettable story of a man and his relationship with his mother which sustained him during a traumatic life. "Habana del Este" has a beautifully nostalgic, melancholy feel to it that reminds one of simpler, more romantic times of yesteryear. Yet tracks like, "Pio Mentiroso" leave one with a desire to jump up and dance, shyness be damned. Take it from this Cuban, this is the album to get, whatever your culture, whatever your taste. You'll love it.

5-0 out of 5 stars MUST HAVE!
You cannot even claim to have a collection without THIS! Brilliant! Beyond brilliant!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Food for your Soul !
This definitely is an album that is full of life! If you love music this indeed needs to be in your collection of albums. You can hear the warmth of Cuba in the sounds and rhythms of the tracks.

If you aren't having the brightest of days it will lift you out of any kind of 'blue' mood you might be in.

Buyt it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Recommended only if you're in one of these two categories...
Honestly, I can think only of two groups of people who will enjoy this recording, and if you're in either group, I urge you to order it immediately if not sooner.

If you're one of those totally or mostly unfamiliar with Cuban jazz, you'll love this. It's a celebration of life, full of good humor and vigor. The excitement of the music is bound to get to you, and you'll wonder why you've never given it a chance before.

On the other hand, you might be quite familiar with this sound, with the vocals of veterans such as Ibrahim Ferrer, Pio Leyva, Manuel 'Puntillita Licea, Raul Planas, Jose Antonio 'Maceo' Rodriguez, and Felix Valoy, and with the full sound of trumpets, teombones, enhanced by sax, flute, and piano. If so, you'll find this the best you've heard, and will insist on its being in your collection.

If you're in neither group, well, what can I say? ... Read more


7. One Blood: Una Sangre
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00023GFT0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1559
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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There’s no doubt that singer Lila Downs' profile is on the rise after her appearance in the film Frida and on the accompanying soundtrack, which led to a performance at the 2003 Academy Awards. The dividing lines between cultures and classes are major themes throughout the Mexican-American singer's decade-long career; but whereas 2001’s Border is more angry about the disparities, One Blood: Una Sangre is more inclusive, if only for the hopeful note of unity sounded in the English-language version of the title cut (the album has two distinctly different readings of the song sung, respectively, in English and Spanish). While much of the cumbia-based, genre-breaking material here is original, Downs and her band completely revamp two covers: Ritchie Valens classic "La Bamba" features techno beats and African drumming; the folk song "La Cucaracha" opens with wailing guitar before settling into a gentle reggae groove. Stylistically restless and lyrically didactic, One Blood: Una Sangre is as ambitious as it is beautiful. –-Tad Hendrickson ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprising
Listening to the first track the first time, you think this is going to be an average album, maybe a mistake to get it. But as the album progresses each song reveals flavours and styles that are surprising, interesting, varied and strong. Even two songs as overworked/corny as La Bamba and La Cucaracha come off new and fresh. This could album could appeal to people who like cumbia, flamenco, jazz, Cuban, or Latin influence music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Haunting and Hip
This is a beautiful album! I had never heard of Lila Downs but was immediatly struck by her vocal prowress and the unique musical arrangement of the songs. I heard the album playing in a bookstore and ran over to the music department to purchase it right away. The lyrics have many layers of meaning that leave you with a rich satisfying experience. The music is soulful, haunting, and hip with a nod to tradition. I recommend this album to anyone who thinks and feels.

5-0 out of 5 stars Until there's a live album...
this will have to do!!! But, hey, this is one killer album and a must buy for any fan of Lila, World Music and Women's music.

Although I would have to say La Linea is probably still my personal fave--mostly because it was the current album when I first got into her music-- Una Sangre will likely go down as her best effort yet and will at the very least set the bar really high for the band for future albums.

This is, of course, due largely to the awesome ensemble sound of her new international band and the excellent input of her husband (and band's keyboardist and sax player), Paul Cohen. Arguably this group should have its own name, as this is less a solo album by a singer and noticeably more a "group effort".

This is not to say that Lila's signing is anything less than superb on this album! I think she demonstrates better technique and is in generally "better voice" (you singers know what I am talking about!) on this album than she is on her previous albums.

There are so many excellent tracks on this disc that I cannot do all of them justice in less than 1000 words, so I will mention just one in particular: Malinche. Check out the syncopated timing, the communication and tightness of the musicians, the unmistakable way the band gradually weaves its intricate sound, the way parts of the song melt and blend into each other.

This is called style, folks, and that's what this album has achieved: a signature sound that only this collection of musicians can accomplish. It's funky, it's hip, it's jazzy, it's intellectual, it's traditional, it's cutting edge, it has monster grooves, impressive instrumental sections and beautiful vocals.

Buy it today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great album, get this please
Using different languages and musical styles as vehicles, Lila Downs' new album, Una Sangre (One Blood), is an emotional journey into cultural diversity and understanding in an effort to show us all our similarities. While cultural exploration is undoubtedly the focus of Una Sangre, under the rich tapestry of music lie poetic social commentary and themes of empowerment. Subtle hip hop-like production and Downs' entrapping vocals handsomely conceal a tribute to a female lawyer murdered in 2002 for fighting for human rights on the Spanish sang "Dignificada."

Heavy handed notions do not prevent Downs from having fun on Una Sangre. Creative and intriguing renditions of "La Bamba" and "La Cucaracha" add reason for there to be dancing amid all the dialogue Downs encourages. While the unifying thoughts behind it are praiseworthy, the true attraction of Una Sangre is Downs' herself. Hovering somewhere between Celia Cruz and Dinah Washington, Downs' voice is gorgeous and amazing as she easily goes from the bluesy growl of songs like "Mother Jones" and "Paloma Negra," to the fluttering weightlessness of "Yanahuari Nin." Down's proves the lofty thesis of her album title, Una Sangre, by crafting cohesive beauty out of a plethora of style(she even rhymes), sounds and languages. Una Sangre is a wonderful offering.-Christopher Sanders

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Great One!
Lila's CD "La Linea" has become one of the "can't-live-without-it-desert-island must-have" disc in my collection. With the arrival of "Una Sangre", I happily have another disc with the same status. The CD opens joyfully with "Viborita". She continues with her political and spiritual messages in the title track and with cuts like "Dignificada", the re-worked "La Cucaracha" and the magical "Flower of Marigold". The band, which I was lucky enough to see recently, is truly international and the music reflects this, from Mexico to Japan to the deep southern blues and gospel notes included the cut "Mother Jones". Great disc! ... Read more


8. Buena Vista Social Club Presents: Manuel Guajiro Mirabal
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B0006SSNCI
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 26946
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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For his first solo album, 71-year-old trumpeter Mirabal has created a tribute to the seminal bandleader Arsenio Rodriguez. The latter was a tres-wielding maverick who reveled in Cuba's African heritage and gave new opportunities to the piano and brass. With three trumpeters on board, it is not surprising that the tracks often explode into blaring, festive, sloppy--precise fanfares, but Papi Oviedo on tres and pianist Roberto Fonseca more than hold their own. The singers also get a workout, notably on Me Bote De Guano, with its humming opening chorus and robust tenor lead vocal. The late Rubén González, who was Rodriguez's original keyboard man, is heard on Dombe Dombe, a tune he suggested for the set list. The sessions were recorded in Havana at legendary Egrem Studios with a minimum of technical bells-and-whistles and if the sonic texture is somewhat rough and remote, it only adds to the studio-live atmosphere.--Christina Roden

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Buena Vista Social Club

BVSC Presents Omara Portuondo

BVSC Presents Ibrahim Ferrer

Introducing Ruben Gonzalez

Mambo Sinuendo

Cachaito

... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hot Latin Big Band
This album burns from start to finish. It is a straight up party album--- if you're looking for romantic make-out music, try another Buena Vista member. This record is loud and hot and made for dancing. Imagine a sweaty ballroom in a Havana casino in the 40's and this is the band that would be playing there. All of the musicians are excellent. The band has the traditional three trumpet, dual percussion, tres, bass and sonero line-up and there is not a weak member of the group. The vocalists are uniformly outstanding. Most of the album was recorded live in one take, and it definitely has the spontaneous, joyous feel of a live recording. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars "debut solo for Manuel Guajiro Mirabal"
Nonesuch Records and Warner Music present "Buena Vista Social Club Presents - Manuel Guaijro Mirabal", in his solo debut album featuring the music of Arsenia Rodgriguez performedby Manuel "Guaijro" Mirabal and a very selective group of Buena Vista Social Club musicians...recorded at Havana's Egrem Studios with that electricity of "Live Performances"...this is an album you would stay up late at night for, sipping a glass or two of your favorite...entire album is performed in a playful setting.

Composer Rodgriguez sends our way "CANTA MONTERO", "EL RELOJ DE PASTORA", "EL RINCON CALIENTE", "ME BOTE DE GUANO", "MI CORAZON NO TIENE QUIEN LO LLORE", "PARA BAILAR EL MONTUNO", "TENGO QUE OLVIDARTE", creativity and innovation sends a modern salsa conjunto that will keep your head spinning...craving more of the same much like "Mambo Kings"..."DEUDA", composed by Luis Marquetti in 1945..."CHICHARRONERO", composer Louis "Lili" Martinez Grinan blends piano solo and brass to this rhythmic tune..."NO VUELVO A MORON LAS TRES MARIAS APJURRUNENME MUJERE MEDLEY", composers Otilio Del Portal and Arsenia Rodriguez favor us with a 5 minute medley of Cuba's finest offerings..."DOMBE DOMBE", beautiful opening trumpet solo, with haunting counter-melodies arranged and performed by Ruben Gonzalez, just the way it was back in the '40s...gotta love it!

Total Time: 46:36 on 11 Tracks ~ Nonesuch Records 79810 ~ (1/04/2005)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Gem From A Buena Vista Social Club Veteran
I owned all the albums of Buena Vista Social Club veterans and this one I waited with great anticipation. And I'm proud to say that I am not disappointed. All the selections in this album are superb and Guajiro Mirabal's playing of the trumpet is simply superb, most specially, if you are aware that he is more than 70 years old. Trumpet sound can be very annoying because of its inherent loudness but in the hands(or mouth) of Guajiro Mirabal, it is simply intoxicating. I played the album any time of the day and it never failed to amaze me. You can listen to it in any kind of mood you are. Morning. Late afternoon. Late night.

I highly recommend this album, along with all the albums of Buena Vista Social club members. Let's enjoy this music. This is the kind of music that you will not get tired listening at. Why? Because they are made by real musicians. All the sounds you hear are coming from real instruments all recorded live in the studio. If you are tired of listening to "manufactured" music, this kind of music will surely give you an entirely different experience. ... Read more


9. Jazz Samba Encore!
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0000046WB
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8521
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Albums Ever Created ie. a masterpiece
Luiz Bonfa's playing is as beautiful as Stan Getz's playing is as good as Maria Toledo's singing. After several years I still can't get over how good these three are, and how beautiful each arrangement is - Antonio Carlos Jobim lent a hand with the arrangements and also appears on several tracks playing the piano in his distinct and most singinglike way. There are upbeat sambas as well as some incredibly moving slower tracks. Their version of "Insensatez" is, without doubt, the most beautiful ever recorded.

It's such a treat to hear such wonderful music!

Both Stan Getz and Luiz Bonfa as masterful "singers" of their instruments. Everything they play on this album is singable; and I give you my personal guarantee that they will give you goose bumps, make your eyes water, spine tingle. Maria Toledo's voice is one of a kind - powerful, with a dark but sensitive tone.

Writing these things now as I ponder the effect "Jazz Samba Encore" has had on me, I realise that I am in love with the album. Everything I could and would say about it will be written from the perspective of one dizzy and confused by his emotions. It is impossible for me to retain a cool, unaffected tone in my writing because of my feelings for the album. As a result, I risk hyperbole and sickly attempts to poeticize upon what really speaks for itself - sample the music, keeping in mind that the initial beauty that strikes you will continue as you come to know the album better and the subtleties reveal themselves. Everyone who hears this album loves this album.

5-0 out of 5 stars It will haunt you forever.
'Jazz Samba Encore' is a more muted affair than its predecessors 'Jazz Samba' and 'Big Band'. Although featuring both men, the emphasis is more on Luiz Bonfa than Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Bonfa's songs 'lack' Jobim's pop instincts, favouring a restrained, more groove-based effect, which can be quietly intoxicating, Getz's melancholy sax contributing to the mood. Even more upbeat songs like 'So Danco Samba', despite its title, are more of a late night shuffle than a beach monster.

The effect can be largely attributed to singer Maria Toledo, whose strangely disembodied voice haunts the songs. She is rarely the focus, floating in and out of the background like a presiding ghost. Even in a song she clearly dominates, such as 'Insensatez', a phantosmagoric quality makes her vanish into the precious sadness of this song which, with Jobim's understated, unbearably poignant piano, is surely the most beautiful ever written.

5-0 out of 5 stars grbouder56
This is just what the title implies. ENCORE. Great Jazz Samba music for listening.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magical Mystery Tour
A fella from Madrid (I'm above 13 years):
I think Sgt. Peppers; Ziggy Stardust, ............and Jazz Samba Encore! are a must have. Luiz Bonfa's solos takes your heart and Getz fills all the amazing space. Smoke something, fix yourself a drink and
enjoy the Magical Mystery Tour.

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST have Master Piece
This album should get a rating of 6 in the scale of 5. Is incredible how a guitar, a saxophone can make exquisite harmony with the addition of just percussion and a bass. Master Bossa Nova masters Luiz Bonfa and Stan Getz leave a great legacy no other instrumental album in the history of Bossa Nova has done.

If you are a Bossa Nova, Jazz or guitar afficionado, this is a must have album. Luiz Bonfa, the one and only player that "makes a guitar sound like and orchetra by itself", proves to the world that he is indeed has earned the respect of his peers as the "one and only". I guarantee you, once you listen to this album, you will be looking for Luiz Bonfa music all over. I did.

And for Stan Getz, can someone else make a sax create moods of happiness, melancoly, sadness etc...

The combo of Getz and Bonfa is an incredible harmony of one master speaking to the other via their instruments.

I have heard nearly all Bossa Nova music and others alike. I highly recommend this album. Once you listen to it, you will be listening to it over and over. The guitar improvisation will make you think, "how in the world can someone play like this". And you will then be writing the next review like me in here. ... Read more


10. El Arte del Sabor
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00005QDEN
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3285
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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They are the holy trinity of Latin jazz: pianist Bebo Valdés, the musicdirector of the Tropicana and father of Chucho Valdés; bassist Israel "Cachao"Lopez, the mambo and descarga innovator; and percussionist Carlos"Patato" Valdes, who played with greats from Cuba to California. These masterswere showcased in the documentary and soundtrack Calle 54. On this CD,which translates as "The Art of Flavor," they sprinkle zesty Afro-Caribbeanseasonings on 17 swinging Cuban classics. Tunes like "Lamento Cubano," "Sonde la Loma," and "Negro de Sociedad" are interpreted as tasty trioarrangements. Alto saxophonist and clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera adds hissophisticated solos to the compositions "Priquitin Pin Pon," "Ogguere," and"Romance en la Habana." Bebo Valdes's elegant ivory ticklings on theCubop-tinged hit, "Route 66," pays homage to the great Nat "King" Cole, whorecorded Holiday in Havana with Valdes in the '50s. All told, thisselection offers a sonic snapshot of Cuba's elegant pre-Revolutionary jazzscene. --Eugene Holley Jr. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful must have for Cuban music lovers
Highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Cuban/Latin Jazz music. I have been to a Chucho Valdes live concert and I 've been hooked ever since... Both Bebo (his father) and him are wonderful musicians.
It is a true delight!

5-0 out of 5 stars saboring el arte del Sabor
I've been hooked on the old Cubans since I took a chance on BVSC before the hype caught on. Discovered Cachao around the time Andy Garcia found him. And have filled my CD collection with a motley assortment of winners (and a few losers.) I am convinced there are seven melodies that get recycled on every CD. And everyone has a slightly different take on it. That said, this is an incredibly satisfying disc that reflects the average 150 years of experience brought to the session by these guys. Maybe the precision of their youth is missing - but none of the passion is. There's an ease and familiarity and comfort level of old friends making their favorite music come alive. And as for Cachao - his bowing is more immediate in this small group than it is in his Master Sessions CDs - even though he was fronting the orchestra then and is supporting Valdes here. Overall, a wonderful low key (as low key as latin music can be), and satisfying listen.

5-0 out of 5 stars Remembrance of things past (with Paquito)
This is an indispensable CD for lovers of Cuban music (not to speak of cuban lovers of cuban music). All of the cuts except Route 66, are music that we have heard since childhood. And they sound that way even when they are not played in the traditional way. You want to know why Chucho Valdes plays like he does? Listen to his Dad here. This is a CD not to be missed.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Legendary Trio
EL Arte del Sabor is an accurate title for this great CD by the Bebo Valdes Trio. The Trio composed of the great pianist Bebo Valdes, master congero Carlos "Patato" Valdes and the legendary bass player Israel Lopez "Cachao" is a combination made in heaven. Paquito D'Rivera makes a guest appearance on a few of the tracks, in which case the trio becomes a quartet. Tracks like "Ogguere" or "El Maranon" just blew me away. Each musician shines through with great clarity and fantastic swing. These legendary musicians lay no waste in preparing these pieces which such a pleasant savor or "sabor" that the music simply overwhelms and entices the senses. A must have for any Jazz fan or Latin music fan. If you love good music, get this album - It does not disappoint. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Correction To Prior Review.
The Bebo and Cachao rendition of Trio Matamoros' "Lagrimas Negras" appears in the Calle 54 movie CD, not in El Arte del Sabor.

So, "Buche Y Pluma" by itself may not be worth the price of the CD, but get it, since it is a very fine recording. Repeat, all of the cuts are expertly and *tastefully* done. The CD gets better the more you listen to it and appreciate its nuances. ... Read more


11. Oye Como Va: The Dance Collection
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000003OZA
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10566
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best Tito Puente CDs available
This is easily one of the best Tito Puente CDs availabe. A compilation of some of Tito's best songs, these versions inspire awe and intense dancing. In addition, the notes by Joe Conzo succinctly detail Puente's life from the beginning of his musical career (or at least by the time Tito was 13 ... ), Tito's influences, playing with Machito, to the Navy in WWII, to the Palladium era and beyond.

Even just the mention of the infamous and influential Palladium establishes the authenticity of the biography, the music and the album. Within the New York Mambo scene, abundant reference is still made to the Palladium, both to the music and the dancing (which cannot exist without each other). Conzo notes that "Ran Kan Kan" was first recorded in 1949 -- a fact that many of the people 'in the know' today are not familiar with.

This CD is so good that for a while, it was the first thing I wanted to hear in the morning and the last music I wanted to hear at night. Don't miss this one!

Thanks go first and foremost to the creators and second to those who chronicle the music, the musicians and the culture. The growth in this art achieved by the next generation will only be possible because they learned from you.

5-0 out of 5 stars What A Great Musical Talent
Tito Puente Made Incredible Music.The Grooves&Arrangements were Ahead of Their Time.You Feel The Emotions&Vibes all The way Thru here.his Music was World Music.The Musicians are Great as well.it's very Essential.

5-0 out of 5 stars You gotta dance, you can't help it
I love this album. I have a bunch of Tito's stuff, close to all of it, I imagine. (I don't think anyone has every Tito album, not even Tito.) This one's nearly as hot as his 50's releases. He just gets more tasteful and refined without damping his red-hot latin soul. And I love Carlos, but this is how Oye Como Va is SUPPOSED to sound

5-0 out of 5 stars Mr. Puente is a exellent music artist
Mr. Puente is an exellent music artist and not only is his music very addicting but he is quite a comic when performing live shows I definitly give Tito five stars because he is truly a great musician, and a shout out ta SR. SHORTY.

5-0 out of 5 stars Latin music lovers watchout, this is a great CD
I became a fan of Tito and Latin music after listening to this wonderfully ecclectic CD. Being a musician myself, I was in awe of the great players and Tito's leadership. The beats are fantastic, guaranteed to move you. Buy it, and try it, I guarantee you will not be disappointed! ... Read more


12. Concord Records SACD Sampler 1 (Multichannel Hybrid SACD)
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B0000BWVCO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7851
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great demo disk
Fantastic disk with which to demo your SACD audio system. Start with Clooney, which has the original mono sound through the center channel and watch the reactions when it broadens to a modern 5.1 version. Then play 'Watermelon Man'. Jaws will drop. ... Read more


13. Verve Unmixed 2
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B0000ACAOI
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 14272
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The price is right
Why can't more CD's be priced like this fine offering from the Verve vaults?
For the cost of a couple of gallons of gasoline this music will take you further and you'll get plenty of mileage out of these classics. Beginning with the Carnegie Hall live recording by Dizzy Gillespie of "Manteca" in 1961, this disc will either take you down memory lane or set you on a new path of jazz discovery. Jazz means many different things to many different people, often discredited as being too cerebral or just plain high music, jazz often gets a bad rap. There is no clear definition because like many other genres there are many sub categories. Within the broad context of jazz this disc is diversified . Several great songbirds are featured including the marvelous, so nice the used here twice, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald(two songs too), Betty Carter and Astrud Gilerto. Unlike the remixed versions featured on "Verve/Remixed 2," the complete songs display the full spectrum and range of depth of some these artists. For example, Nina Simone's vocals on "Sinnerman"show the gospell influenced style more clearly than on the remixed version and her piano skills are demonstrated along with her jazz interaction with other instrumentalists. It is a thing of beauty. The live version of "Brother , Where Are You"? by Oscar Brown Jr. has the passion of the Civil Rights movement, a slow swagerring, gritty song that builds momentum as the audience claps along joining the artist in unison in approval of his message. "Blues For Brother George Jackson"(check your history) fits the mold of what most non jazz people think of as jazz with it's multiple horns led by Archie Shepp with yet another Civil Rights era song. I would be remiss without mentioning the exceptional Latin influenced songs by Cal Tjader and Willie Bobo entitled "Soul Sauce" and "Fried Neck Bones and Some Home Fries" respectively. These two songs alone are worth the price of admission. It is worth comaparing the versions to the remixed versions to fully appreciate both the originals and the great job with the new interpretations. Recommended as is but even more so as a companion to the remixed versions. A super compilation for traditional jazz fans or those interested in the roots of "Verve Remixed /2."

5-0 out of 5 stars Real Value for Money!
Even if you only liked two or three of the tracks here, you'd still be getting a great deal for your money. That said, every track here is a winner and it's easy to see why these were picked for remixing on Volume 2. Virtually all of them feature wonderful percussion, which usually translates into arresting remix sounds (like the mighty Six Degrees Records roster!). If you don't own any Nina Simone, start right here with the mighty 10 minute "Sinnerman," used to dazzling effect in the "Thomas Crown Affair." Her "Black is..." shows us what a unique talent she was. As far as Volume 3 goes, it will interesting to see if Verve ever gives the OK for some remixes of Getz, Bird or the mighty Trane. Perhaps people are scared to touch those, but regardless of your position of remixing, Verve Unmixed 2 is the perfect present to get for someone, especially if you're CHEAP!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Verve Unmixed - the Sequel.
"Verve Unmixed 2" is the companion CD to "Verve Remixed 2," in which a handful of dance DJs successfully revamp several jazz classics. Here, each track appears in its pure original version, giving the listener a tour through some of the genre's most respected artists. The album kicks off with the infectious bite of Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca," which sets the tone for the rest of the album. Ella Fitzgerald's "Slap That Bass" and Ramsey Lewis' "Do You Wanna" stand out pretty well, while Cal Tjader's stunning "Soul Sauce (Guachi Guaro)" is a timeless fusion of traditional jazz and Latin flavor. Another winner is the beautifully piano-laced "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair," which features Nina Simone's voice in all its aching glory. There isn't much more for me to say, as the music really speaks for itself. If you already have "Verve Remixed 2," it would be foolish to pass on this release which not only has the original versions but also one of the most impressive tracklistings I've seen on any compilation.

5-0 out of 5 stars More classics
This follow-up disc is every bit a great as the first. Do not let the low price scare you into thinking it's something less than high quality. A must have disc...fans and those unfamiliar with the Verve label will both enjoy that this music is BACK!!!! ... Read more


14. Vol. 5: Carnival
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Asin: B0007QCLI6
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9287
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"Come and party with me, y'all," exhorts Bill Summers on Los Hombres Calientes' latest multi-culti celebration, telling you not only what the album is about and where he and co-leader Irvin Mayfield are from--the South, New Orleans to be precise--but also what their attitude is in breezingthrough Cuban and Brazilian styles, funk and jazz, samba and mambo and salsa. Though they have an agenda as world travelers, they're neither purists nor rootsologists; they're mostly after a good time and will toss anything into the mix to attain it. On "Carnival," their deepest and most sustained effort, their ability to synthesize styles is so secure, tributes to a pair of Crescent City legends, piano maven James Booker and bass funkster George Porter of Meters fame rub off happily on West African and Congolese numbers, and vice versa. Reaching back to the Satchmo tradition with his high, hard-edged, trilling solos, but flashing modernistic colors aswell, Mayfield rides over and through the sound while Summer keeps things percolating on his usual assortment of percussion instruments. The hometown cast includes the Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins and the Mardis Gras Indians. Party on, indeed. --Lloyd Sachs ... Read more


15. Ken Burns's Jazz: The Story of American Music
list price: $59.98
our price: $47.99
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Asin: B000050HVG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1252
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (53)

5-0 out of 5 stars I Love Jazz 2000
I Love Jazz is a sampler that comes out every so often that tries to take the biggest jazz hits of its time and put them onto a single disc. This is kind of like that in a much larger and ambitious scope. Even at five discs, it still feels like a sampler! While I enjoyed this set immensely, I still have the feeling that something is missing.

Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington are well represented here, as they should be. It is a joy to listen to music I wasn't as familiar with such as Coleman Hawkins and many of the earlier cuts. The sound quality is pretty good, especially for recordings of the earlier eras.

After listening to this, I felt that the history of jazz ended at about 1970, when obviously it did not. Fusion, Latin, Cool, and Avant Garde did not receive enough attention. Probably due to contractual restrictions, some artists only receive either a mention or are missing entirely. Only one track for Art Tatum, Mingus, Weather Report, and Stan Getz, ECM artists missing entirely, no John McLaughlin (as leader), McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans (as leader), or Art Blakey (although he does get his own disc in this series).

Every jazz afficionado will have their own ideas of what should be on here. This set serves a great purpose in showing how jazz and history affected each other and a glimpse of the talented artists behind the music. This set is a generous sampling of a great and wonderful iceberg and should be used as a springboard for a lifetime of exploration into jazz. At least the likes of Kenny G, Dave Koz, and John Tesh are nowhere to be found on this set.

4-0 out of 5 stars A very fine introduction to jazz
The box set is rather like the documentary film: toploaded with dixieland-swing-bop, then a futile effort to cram all the postbop period into too little space. If anyone tried to sum up the history of rock n' roll in 5 CDs, imagine him cramming everything since the Summer of Love onto the last disc. If the Doors and Pink Floyd got left out of such a set, or a label like Atlantic was virtually overlooked, people would be upset then, too. It's not snobby to complain that Bill Evans or a Rahsaan Roland Kirk are left out here, or that Burns practically ignored Blue Note Records in his history. Stakes are high here. It's important that certain figures are not forgotten in the history just because Ken Burns could not find space for them in his canon.

However, despite the limitations of the project, this box is still a darn good introduction to jazz music. The selections might have been broader if pre-bebop had its own 3-CD set, and postbop had its own 4-CD set; but, this way, someone who is beginning to get into the music might get a better picture of the total continuity running from early New Orleans through some of the postbop movements. When I was starting out, I had to piece things together from odd records found at the library, until I got to college and could take a Jazz History class. If this sort of set had been presented to me at the start, I would have been in heaven.

If you're just getting interested in jazz, buy the set. Read the notes, take note of the names of sidemen (who may have led great sessions of their own, not represented here), pick up an album guide or two, check out some musicians who aren't in this set, join the conversations on jazz bulletin boards, and, most of all, enjoy the music. Once you jump in, there's no end to the worlds you might discover in jazz.

2-0 out of 5 stars Too much, too little
Contrary to what some reviewers have stated, this is not a good place for someone wanting to get into jazz. This is mainly because this set costs too much for that. Also, there's over-whelmingly too much Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Dizzie Gillespie tracks here and little else. You would think that with a 5 disc box set, that Ken Burns could have come up with even little known but great jazz artists to include in this collection aside from adding a few more of the wider known ones as well. I am not a "jazz snob" and I feel it's unfair to some of the newer, more contemporary artists to be ignored as well - the rock equivalent of that would be refusing to acknowledge the talent of Jack White simply because he doesn't play like Clapton or Hendrix.

5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific value
The fact that this box set has so much music for the price makes this collection a must-have for beginners or makes for great driving music to keep in your car. Forget about how you felt about the documentary, just look at this collection of great jazz and ask yourself, "How many better anthologies are out there that aren't twice the price?"

I understand those who feel that there were too many omissions, but face it: jazz has been around for 100 years (or so). Mr. Burns would have required 10 disks, with each disk representing a decade of jazz. Once again, look over the playlist, look at the price, and realize what a value this is.

2-0 out of 5 stars It smells a little funny here
There is a lot of great music/artists here, but a lot of great music is missing and a lot of artists are too heavily favored.
I don't like it when a group of writers try to shape the minds of a unknowing public. I think Kenny should stay away from the ARTS and stick with war and sports. ... Read more


16. Congo to Cuba
list price: $15.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0000658O5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6144
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice...Very Nice
I heard one of the songs at the San Francisco Latin Film Festival playing as the audience entered for the screening. I could not wait to ask the sound man for the title and I have not been disappointed. The songs I heard that night were Safiatou and the next song. Since I bought the CD earlier this year, I've been hooked. Very bright recording allows me to hear all the nuacnes of the melodic and percussion driven African and Latin music. I great find. I'm looking for other releases by these world artist on this compilation. Go get it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice flow...
What I loved best is how the music flowed from one to the next...
My fave tracks are 1, 5, 10 and 11... Great blend of two countries music that complement each other extremely...

5-0 out of 5 stars latin and african paraiso
as a listener of all sorts of interesting music, this complitation hits the spot. while i'm playing the cd i'm not sure if i'm in cuba or africa, but that doesn't matter. this is a must for those whoe like up tempo latin groove. hitting the repeat button over and over i feel the passion and soul of these artists. putamayo stepped to the plate, usually my only complaint is their compilations are too short, this one goes on......thanks for the groove...pete saloutos ... Read more


17. Que Pasa
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000002BR7
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 22687
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Caliente!!
For those astute jazz listener's who may have noticed that I have convienently 'borrowed' the title of one of Gato Barbieri's previous cd's to use as the title of this review ( and no you don't win any prizes! ) congratulations! Wracking my brain for a heading to Gato's wonderful " Que Pasa " album the term Caliente ( meaning Fire ) just seemed incredibly appropriate for an album that carries not only so much heat but true passion as well! All apologies aside let explain why this disc is so powerful.

Other than the song " Europa ", to be found on a previous cd entitled " Caliente " written by Carlos Santana, I was unaware of anything by this extrodinary tenor sax player. And shame on me for that! I had listened to two tracks from " Que Pasa ", played by my local 'smooth jazz' station, and while I thought they were interesting I didn't rush out to make any quick purchases. Again...shame on me! For some odd reason I finally came to my senses the other day and picked up a copy [...] and it's rarely left my cd player since. You can call this smooth jazz ( ouch! ) if you'd like but I like to think that Gato is actually quite a bit more than that. And please, no Boney James comparisons! Be forewarned though that Gato's playing is impressively strong and full bodied. In fact the disc is recorded so loud that I found myself rushing to my cd player to turn down the volume when it started to play ( I have extremely thin walls and testy neighbors! ).

Anyway, starting off the disc with " Straight To The Sunrise " is Gato at his very best. Again, playing while holding nothing back he simply breathes fire into this song and let's the listener know what to expect for the rest of this wonderful album. " Blue Gale " is a worthy follow-up tune that is just as melodic and forceful as anything else you're likely to hear. And with some truly remarkable percussionists surrounding him it only adds to the intensity of the set. I did want to mention " Dance With Dophins " an unfortunate title to a wonderfully stirring number that may be my favorite track on the disc. The album, as a whole, does capture an almost exotic feel with pulsating rhythms, some smooth background vocals and Gato's talent for pushing each song, with some truly inspired melodies, into a different stratosphere! Fortunately, each song is distinctive from the next and no doubt you'll be asking yourself where has he been all these years? As opposed to where have 'we' been all these years!? In ending while I'm aware there is an army of smooth jazz sax players out there i.e. Dave Koz, Walter Beasley, Boney James and Steve Cole to name but a few you may want to give this aging Argentinian a listen before those other 'kids'. It's always a nice experience ( to say nothing of educational ) to hear where these other artists learned their chops from. As for me I'm still listening to Gato ( which by the way means 'cat' in Spanish ) and thinking of asking my neighbors over to join me. Que Pasa!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Classy Latin Jazz
This was my first Gato Barbieri CD. I've since purchased two others because his style really turned me on. My favorite tracks on Que Pasa are "Straight Into the Sunrise, Guadeloupe, and Woman I Remember." I'm so attached to this smooth delight that I feel "Guadeloupe" was created especially for me. Jazz enthusiasts, lovers of Latin rhythms, R&B and soul survivors will enjoy this CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Sexy and Sassy"
You don't have to ask what's happening on Gato Barbieri's "Que'
Pasa" cd.....Love and Passion. This is one of the sexiest cd's I've heard since Marion Meadows' "Next to You" and John Klemmer's "Touch." I can't lie....I'd never heard of this man until one day I heard the local college jazz station play "Straight Into the Sunrise" and I said to myself, who is playing that raspy, sexy saxaphone? I popped my pin off my chest, found some scratch paper and wrote the name and title track down while I was driving, and ordered it the same day. The music is absolutely beautiful. Music should be able to take you somewhere else, and Que' Pasa does just that. It is a "must get" cd. I can't wait to play it for when "the love of my life" comes by...he's gonna love it too! And you know what we'll be doing while it's playing!![.]

5-0 out of 5 stars DEFINITELY BARBIERI'S BEST!
We have all of Gato Barbieri's CDs, and this one is #1 on my list. In general, when you listen to a whole CD, sometimes there comes a song that you want to skip over. That is not the case with this CD. All of the songs are GREAT! Out of all of the jazz CDs we own, this is definitely in the top 5 for me. Track #1,3,7 & 9 is some of the SMOOTHEST, SEXIEST JAZZ YOU'LL EVER LISTEN TO!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Back On Track
It had been so long since Gato had released an album, I thought he had disappeared from the music scene. From Tropico on, Gato seemed to have lost his bearings only occasionally showing glimpses of his storied past. Now here he is again after a ten year hiatus and he's back on track. Que Pasa opens with the wonderfully smooth Straight into the Sunrise and winds up with the moving Adentro. Though I like every cut on this CD, the best are Straight Into the Sunrise, Blue Gala, and a tremendous rendition of Stevie Wonder's Cause We've Ended As Lovers which is even more powerful than Jeff Beck's standout version. I recommend this to anyone who appreciates saxophone and especially to Barbieri apostates who had given up on him. Que Pasa is a winner! ... Read more


18. Trumpet Evolution
list price: $18.98
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Asin: B000093FJT
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6348
Average Customer Review: 3.58 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

It wouldn't seem possible to do a reasonable survey of the 20th century trumpet playing on one CD, but somehow trumpeter Arturo Sandoval has done just that. Known as an immensely gifted and versatile player, Sandoval tips his hat to such jazzmen as Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, and his mentor Dizzy Gillespie, as well as classical players such as Timofei Dokschizer and Maurice Andre. More than simply playing tunes these trumpeters made famous, Sandoval plays in the style of each trumpeter, even pulling signature quotes from their solos. It's a remarkable feat. With Quincy Jones at the production helm, the music and backing band changes according to the tributee--lush big band swing, bebop, organ jazz, classical, and Latin music are all covered. Surprisingly, there's not as much Latin jazz as you'd expect from the former member of Irakere, but with so much ground covered, this is more of an observation than a complaint. --Tad Hendrickson ... Read more

Reviews (24)

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Technique and Tribute
I don't really understand why other reviewers are trashing this album. Listening to the original recordings by the original artists is, of course, wonderful, but that's not what this album is about. It is an amazing tribute to some of the most influential trumpet players of the 20th century. This album is Arturo Sandoval's salute to many of those who have inspired him over the years. The fact that Sandoval can play in this many different styles with such technical ability is a real tribute to him as a musician. This album is a wonderful example of the range of the trumpet as an instrument and a good addition to the collection of any serious jazz listener.

3-0 out of 5 stars Sandoval's Strange Tribute
I liked Arturo Sandoval the first time I heard him play 14 years ago. But the more I listened to him, the more I realized he was more smoke than fire. He plays lots of technically difficult things on the trumpet, and he likes to show off his range. Problem is, the more you listen to him, the more you realize he has a standard "bag of tricks" and you hear relatively the same things over and over. And when all else fails, lean back and go as high as you can and wow the crowd. Maynard Ferguson can play high...hell, he created the art of playing high...but unlike Arturo, Maynard can actually play with tone up there. MF has a big sound. Arturo has a whistle. And if you doubt my word, take a listen to cut 14 on Arturo's Tribute..."Maynard Ferguson" is the tune. I salute Arturo's attempt to honor Maynard. But all he proved on this tune is he can't keep up with MF in the upper register and he is not as technically proficient as MF was in his heyday. But I give this one 3 stars, if only because Arturo honored a number of great players like MF, Diz, etc. who deserve such honors from anyone. Arturo is a great piano player and percussionist as well...and when he sticks to his knitting, like keeping his range under control, he is a great musician. He really stretched on this one.

1-0 out of 5 stars the only question is - why?
This isn't jazz. It's the exact opposite of jazz.

Jazz is, or was, about creativity and originality - not just transcribing great jazz tracks note-for-note and re-recording them with better audio quality.

1-0 out of 5 stars Arturo=Crap
There is not a hint of originality on this CD whatsoever. Arturo may be a master technician on the trumpet but his musicianship is nonexistent and his musical interpretations are downright WRONG. I can actually picture Artro's thought process when he was deciding to make this CD:

"I want money"
"But I am lazy"
"Good albums require lots of work"
"How about instead I make a crappy album and sell it to chumps"

My advice: Don't be a chumpa and DONT buy this album!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Two questions
Why listen to this CD when you can listen to the original trumpet players' renditions of these tunes? Then, ask yourself, which do you like better, the originals or Arturo's mimics? ... Read more


19. Caliente!
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000002GC0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 12524
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The album on which a fire-breathing revolutionary transformed himself into a smooth Latin love man, under the guidance of producer Herb Alpert and associate producer Michelle (Mrs. Gato) Barbieri. The rhythm tracks are tight and funky in a facile '70s fuzak sort of way, and Jay Chattaway's CTI-inspired orchestrations sound dated and corny. The arrangements conspire to stifle the Third World scream in Barbieri's raw and impassioned tenor sax tone. Yet he still manages to mate the steamy temperament of the tango with upscale funk on covers of Santana's "Europa" and Marvin Gaye's "I Want You." --Rick Mitchell ... Read more

Reviews (14)

2-0 out of 5 stars Jazz vs. Peanut Butter: Creamy or Chunky?
Some people like Crunchy peanut butter. Some like Creamy.

In jazz, some people like the funky, visceral grit of Mingus or the quirky genius of Monk, and others like the more contemporary, tranquil sounds of Kenny G or Najee.

Those who prefer the former should, as I did, take measures to avoid purchasing this slick, poppy, modern-sounding CD.

Those that prefer the latter will no doubt enjoy this CD as much as, say, Manhattan Transfer, or perhaps David Sanborn, who Gato sounds a little bit like, with a slightly raspier tone, less honking tone.

This reminds me of a joke I heard the other day:

What did Sanborn say when he stepped into an elevator?

"Man, this place ROCKS!"

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Saxophone!!
Go out right now and buy this CD. Gato can blow. Oh my, and the band...the band. Musicians this talented are rare. I first heard him on the radio, playing Europa. I think I badgered the DJ for a week trying to find out who was playing the hottest, most erotic saxophone I've ever heard. Haven't been getting served? Might I suggest Gato Barbieri's Caliente, a bunch of votive candles, and some cheap wine. Send the kids to grandma's and the dog outside. Secure all breakables. Oh yeah, make sure the CD player is on repeat. ;-)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic Jazz CD Without A Doubt
In 2003 I was doing 7 to midnight at Smooth Jazz 106.5 in Kansas City before it flipped to Country. Whenever I would play "Europa" off of this cd the phones would light up-sometimes up to 12 phone calls-asking "who is that doing that Santana classic so well and so beautifully" and even more amazing was the fact of getting such great listener response from an album of songs released in 1976. I swear it happened everytime I played this song without fail. Europa is truly a beautiful song and a Smooth Jazz classic and should be part of the night time rotation at every Smooth Jazz station in America. Other fantastic songs on this cd include "Don't Cry Rochelle", Marvin Gaye's "I Want You", and "Behind The Rain" are my favorites.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is one of the greatest jazz CDS
Gosh....where do I start...Gato is blowing and taking his saxophone to great heights..The entire CD is great..My roommate and I have had this CD in our CD player for months..It is a must have for any quiet storm jazz lover..

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Jazz to enjoy and relax on a rainy night
I love the music on this album. This is the kind of Jazz that I like listening to indeed. The first time I heard Europa, I was blown away by it's beauty and romantic tone. I never knew that Carlos Santana had written the song originally until I heard it on a Greatest Hits CD that I have of him. Besides Europa my other favorite song on this CD is Behind The Rain, it is truly spectacular to listen to and Gato's sax soars to incredible heights on this one as with the rest of them. This album is great to listen to on a night when is raining you can see the rain tapping your window. A great album by one of the great sax players ever. ... Read more


20. Live at the Blue Note
list price: $16.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0009A3ZRG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5599
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