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Los Van Van

En El Malecón De La Habana
CD (Universal/Pimienta 360556), Released 2003;
Produced by Eduardo Ramos Montes, Juan Formell
Editor's Pick:
If you come to the record without preconceptions you'll be better off. It's nice to hear the band loose and able, and recorded well live. They run through old material, and material off of recent studio recordings and the versions have evolved. At times Formell's bass comes through the huge band sound, and it's amazing to hear what a great player he is. And when the band breaks apart a tune, like they do to "Soy Todo," the recording reminds you that the band deserves its reputation as one of the best live orchestras in the world.
Mayito sings with power on five the nine tunes, and he's singing well (though he's got the unlucky role of singing government slogans on "Tim-pop Con Birdland," a tune that quotes the group Weather Report, therefore sounding doubly dated). Yenisel Valdez, who used to rock the house in NG La Banda, sings one song, placing some extraordinary rhythmic improvisations in the middle of "Mi Mimi." And the drummer Samuel Formell is everywhere on the recording, driving the band, marking off sections of tunes; he's one of the Caribbean's best drummers and he makes the music take off.
But the group's in transition, having lost half of its personality in Pupy Pedroso, the composer, arranger and pianist, who left. Pedro Calvo has also gone, replaced by Valdez. So the recording, if one is looking for something new, isn't going to give it up; the band sounds as if it's working toward a new identity. As well the majority of the tunes fade out, cutting off what would seem like the best parts of a live performance, the parts where the band breaks the tunes apart. You can hear that sort of explosion on "Esto Te Pone La Cabeza Mala" (before that fades out, too) and it's what's missing on the rest of the album.
Recommended, if only as an artifact. (Peter Watrous, 2003-03-24)
Description:
Highly anticipated new Van Van release, recorded live in the summer of 2002 in La Plaza de La Piragua, Havana, for an audience of 220,000 Van Van fanatics. Featuring Mario "Mayito" Rivera, Roberto Hernández (Guayacán), Abdel Rasalps (Lele) and terrific new female vocalist Yenisel Valdés (Yenny).

Song titles include:
Tim-Pop Con Birdland 7:38
Quien No Ha Dicho Una Mentira 5:18
Soy Todo (Ay Dios Ampárame!) 7:58
Mi Mimi 5:28
Esto Te Pone La Cabeza Mala 6:37
Mi Chocolate 7:37
Que Cosas Tiene La Vida 6:41
Temba, Tumba Y Timba 6:59
En Sol Natural (Repris) 5:15
Musicians include:
Juan Formell Director musical, bajo y coros
Samuel Formell Drums, timbales y campana
Mario "Mayito" Rivera Voz solista, coros y congas
Roberto Hernández (Guayacán) Voz solista, coros y congas
Yenisel Valdés (Yenny) Voz solista y coros
Abdel Rasalps (Lele) Voz solista y coros
Hugo Morejón Trombón, órgano y sintetizador
Roberto Carlo Rodriguez (Cucurucho) Piano
Jorge Leliebre Flauta y coros
Boris Luna Teclado
Alvaro Collado Trombón
Edmundo Pina Trombón y pads
Pedro Fajardo Violín
Irving Frontela Violín
Julio Noroña Güiro
Manuel Navarrera Tumbadora
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa Cubana => Cuba
Shipping Value: 1
ORDER TL-19785.10 CD $17.98

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