Los Soneros Del Barrio, Siguiendo La Tradicion

Charles Farrell

By Charles Farrell

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Where have these hombres been all my life? Here is a fantastic old-school band with great material, a first-rate vocalist in Frankie Vasquez, sharply articulated horn parts, a rhythm section that handles everything from the most subtle boleros to powerhouse propulsion with complete aplomb, and the astonishing pianist Ricky Gonzalez (the closest spiritual descendent of Papo Lucca I've ever heard).

Fantastic old-school salsa.

Siguiendo La Tradicion — along with Remembranzas — is an indispensable salsa album. There are no weak spots, no filler. It's hard for me to pick favorites, since each tune is so strong. But how about the opener “Canuto”? Pianist Gonzalez takes a solo of such jarring originality — starting with a bold off-key statement and then citing Papo Lucca — that it almost knocked me off my chair on first listening. I was so taken with this track that I was afraid to keep listening, worried that the rest of the album couldn't possibly hold up to it. I needn't have been concerned. “Ahi Na'Ma" picks up where “Canuto” leaves off, introducing an infectious coro that stays pleasantly with you long after the album is complete. And so on to track three.

I can't recommend Siguiendo la Tradicion highly enough; it's a magnificent program of salsa. When you've finished downloading it, do the same with Remembranzas.