PROS VS CONS, A MUST HAVE...
Zolaid Raneiro | Mexico City | 08/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Harlow's great success on "Tribute to Arsenio Rodriguez", his collaboration in Fania All Stars, and singles like "Se me perdio la cartera", have lead many fans to disappointment when listen the suite "La Raza Latina", then underrating it.
But, as Harlow himself sets, it is one of his best contributions to the Latin music. A superior work than "Hommy. A Latin Opera", in this album we can listen a really successful effort to show the African roots of Latin music and it's rainbow-like products from the cultural melting-pot cities at the seventies. However, is not a museum exhibition but a fully rhythmic and colorful suite in which we will listen a so common New York: english, spanish, and african-mixed languages... Jazz, Rumba, Batá drums pieces and, of course, great voice performances from a young Rubén Blades and from Frankie Rodriguez, who "contributes a dramatic and authentic Santero narrative while angelic tones are added by a trio of singers from Latin Fever".
Larry Harlow once declared La Raza Latina was a work "ahead of its time"... But no such thing. The seventies was the perfect and only-possible time for such a marvel. No subsequent Latin musician can nor could give birth for this master-piece.
At the unlucky side of this CD, it's a pity the producers didn't provide a deserved remastering or, at least some simpler audio routines as noise reduction or equalization corrections. The original record is an engineering hard-work to rescue, cause the album, even though conceived as a unit, as a suite, was recorded in different studio conditions and then assembled together (you can notice that visually by opening track Nr. 2 in a wave editor)... but despite difficulties, this work, again, deserved more audio-lab efforts.
Pros and cons balanced, even nowadays this album is a must-be-known and a must-be-enjoyed (so, a must-have).