Celia Cruz, Mi Diario Musical: Celia Cruz

Ned Sublette

By Ned Sublette

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
The Havana years of this famed singer’s career.

This compilation, first released in 1963 after Celia Cruz had left Cuba, summarizes the years of her Havana career, when she became a star appearing in front of the already-established La Sonora Matancera. From her first hit, “Cao Cao Maní Picao” (1950) to “Caramelos” (from 1960, its riff is about the same as “Good Lovin'”), the conjunto sound is perfectly consistent — two trumpets phrasing exactly together, a perfectly balanced coro, and light, insistent rhythm, all behind a singer who had only to open her mouth for perfectly formed phrases to fall out.