04 December 2011

Review: Nuyorican Soul 'Nuyorican Soul'

Nuyorican Soul
[GRP Records]

Nuyorican Soul is the name of the musical project assembled by "Little" Louie Vega and Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez, aka production and remix duo Masters At Work. The self-titled album features appearances from Roy Ayers, George Benson, Vincent Montana Jr., Jocelyn Brown, Tito Puente, Jazzy Jeff, India and some of the Salsoul Orchestra. Original tracks (You Can Do It (Baby), with fluid guitar and vocals from George Benson atop a trademark MAW broken beat) crop up amongst covers of songs, often re-interpreted by some of the original performers (Sweet Tears, with Roy Ayers at his nonchalant best). Other notable tracks include the Jocelyn Brown-voiced epic I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun; an inspired and deeply respectful reading of Bob James' classic jazz-funker Nautilus (subtitled 'MAWtilus'); and the gorgeous disco floor-filler Runaway, featuring members of the Salsoul Orchestra - and lead vocals from Louie Vega's ex-wife, India. From hands-in-the-air house to laidback head-nod hip hop, slinky jazz to heavy Latin ibes and percussion - and plenty more besides, Nuyorican Soul is one of the most fully realised dance albums in the last thirty years. There is only one Nuyorican Soul album - and there may well be a reason for that. Essential listening.

4 and 1/2 stars from 5

You can check out music from Nuyorican Soul by clicking on the song titles highlighted above, or by taking a look/listen here at Last FM...

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