Don Perignon Y La Puertorriquena, 30 Aniversario A Otra Nivel

Charles Farrell

By Charles Farrell

on 01.12.12 in Reviews
Eight tracks of stunning salsa

Don Perignon leads a big, glossy, meticulous band that simply never misses. They play inventive arrangements with almost embarrassing dispatch, their singing is sensational, the choral work just as good, and everything they do is in service to first rate material. 30 Aniversario A Otra Nivel ranks among the orchestra’s best work — eight tracks of stunning salsa. “Negrura” features burly trombones over a lively percussion section, fervent singing and an infectious coro. This leads into the stop-time, baritone sax led “Mi Mal Necesario,” which doesn’t cede an inch, the coro and trumpets digging in, creating a hook of churning power. Despite its title, there’s nothing humble about “Mi Humilde Cancion.” Maybe Don Perignon is speaking comparatively, since the tune eases off a little from what preceded it, but, with its smartly timed coro “ayes” and perfectly blended brass punctuation, it too builds up a mighty head of steam. “Cascara con Afinque” is an optimistic vocal tribute to the band itself, with lyrics that call attention to its numerous virtues. There’s a great piano figure that runs through “Afinque Total,” consolidating the voice and brass parts. Changing pace, Don Perignon uses a different lead voice on “La Colora.” The leader eschews ballads, and this tune is typically up-tempo, so featuring another sound on top varies the tonal pallet effectively. “Si No Mi Quieres” is a well articulated cha cha, with congas and bongos brought up front in the mix — perfect dance material — and a terrific piano solo. The familiar three chord flamenco pattern of “Apenao” is idiomatically leavened by closely voiced trombones and mirrored baritone sax. It eases the program to its conclusion. 30 Aniversario A Otra Nivel consistently maintains its high energy, pulse generated tone, but the music is sophisticated and various enough to keep listeners looking for more than a dance album completely absorbed throughout.