Review By: JazzChicago
February 27, 2010
Media Alert: RG Royal Sound Orchestra "Impact" (RG Records 0201) Street Date February 2, 2010
CD Review: http://www.jazzchicago.net/reviews/2010/QuickHits3.html
Are you ready for an Afro-Cuban big band arrangement of the 1976 Eagles song "Hotel California?" You may be after hearing the RG Royal Sound Orchestra's version that opens up the debut album from this group of top notch Miami musicians paired with a contingent of musicians from Spain. Producer Recaredo Gutierrez - also the founder of the Grammy-nominated Tropicana Al-Stars - here seeks to recreate the sound of the 1950s Cuban orchestras, but with an additional flamenco flavor. And indeed, if you close your eyes, you may feel like you are sitting in a club in Havana during the heyday of the big band era. The band also takes on the Neapolitan song from the turn of the century - "O Solo Mio," but Gutierrez has updated the song choices to include recent era popular music, including the Beatles' "Yesterday," the Elvis hit "Can't Help Falling in Love," the Sinatra hits "My Way," "Strangers in the Night" and "New York New York" - along with the disco era's "That's the Way," Dino's hit "Volare," Tony Bennett's theme song - "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," "As Time Goes By" - and even the hugely popular (and sometimes despised) "Macarena." The arrangements (by eight different arrangers) are snappy, the love of classic Cubano music genuine and the production so glossy you can see yourself in it. Featured soloists include high-note specialist and Havana legend trumpeter Adalberto Lara "Trompetica" and his protege the 15-year-old trumpet phenom Richard Gutierrez - plus well-known Miami-based saxophonist Ed Calle, pianist Hilario Duran and guitarist Lindsey Blair. The nostalgic music contained here could easily fit the bill on an easy-listening format, yet offer plenty of hand-clapping/finger-snapping fun and excitement to cha-cha the night way to.
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