Daniel McCabe; Adriana Bosch; Laurens Grant; John J. Valadez; Joe Cardona; Jeremy Marre; Pamela A. Aguilar
Number of Discs
Album Notes and Credits
Audio Remasterer: Oscar Diaz.
Liner Note Author: Leila Cobo.
Director: Robin M. Santos.
Photographers: Michael Newell; Gert Kelu; Joseph Hutson; Jorge Gonzalez ; Yury Shirokov.
Intended as something of a concise soundtrack to the PBS TV special of the same name, Latin Music USA makes no claim to be definitive or even representative of this vast genre. Instead, it concentrates on the most familiar and the biggest sellers, focusing on artists and tracks that successfully crossed over to the mainstream. That's probably the only way a collection as diverse as this can get by and make any sense, and the producers were smart to divide the program into four themes to make their case stronger. The "Bridges" section includes early tracks by mega-influences Tito Puente, P?rez Prado, and Tito Rodr¡guez; "The Salsa Revolution" narrows the focus to proto-salsa by Willie Col¢n, Rub?n Blades, H?ctor Lavoe, and Celia Cruz; "The Chicano Wave" broadens the music's reach by allowing tracks by Santana and highly regarded Linda Ronstadt (who recorded a series of Spanish-language albums), as well as Selena and La Mafia; and "Divas & Superstars" predictably features Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, and, to bring things up to date, Cuban-American rapper Pitbull. By keeping the roster so scattered musically, Latin Music USA doesn't always make for coherent listening, but it does prove its point that Latin music both incorporates all of America's other major musical strains (jazz, country, rock, etc.) and, in turn, puts its own stamp on so much of what is recorded outside of the Latin arena, which despite its influence, still remains ghettoized by marketers and media in its purest forms. ~ Jeff Tamarkin