Oye como suena Libre, MEJOR QUE NUNCA
arthur_owen_proyectosalsa | Cali, Colombia, South America | 10/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Any afrocaribbean music fan with any self-respect owns the complete collection of Manny Oquendo & Libre (formely Conjunto Libre). This is has been the most powerful U.S. salsa band in the history of latin music, challenged only by Eddie Palmieri's "La Perfecta". Directed by Andy Gonzalez, one of the most respected bassists in the business, the band's incredible swinging and thick sound is driven by Manny Oquendo, a monster timbal and bongo player who has created a unique percussion style, who's secret lies in the tuning of his pailas, the timming of his strikes and the way he "drops" his sticks on the instrument; a technique that continues unmodified for more than 40 years. Libre, the undisputed masters of the "Crecsendo", have the incredible ability to take the listener from the cadence of a son montuno, cha cha cha or guaracha, to a potent mambo section and ending in a climatic "descarga" or jam fueled by the attack of four trombones.... we are talking about Hard Core salsa for the people that now the business. This particular recording is arguably their best in the past 17 years. This is patented "Moña" style is evident in the tunes "Alabanciosa" and "Mejor que Nunca". In their incredible version of "Las Ingratitudes", the band demonstrates how latin music can be spicy and emotive like no other, giving the sonero the chance to improvise. Other beautiful arrangements include their renovated version of "Tu no me quieres" and "Prelude to a kiss / El misterio de tus besos". Maybe the most interesting tune is the english sung "I want you", a perfect example of what Manny Oquendo & Libre's music is all about: Power, control, improvisation, swing, tradition, innovation, and above all, SABOR at its highest standards.Arthur Owen, Director Proyecto Salsa, 107.5 FM, Cali, Colombia"