New Reviews: May 1, 2001

Shapeshifters: The New Pulse of World Fusion
Soundings of the Planet

The inspiration-inspiring Shapeshifters is intended to accompany trance dance. This fine collaboration of Alain Eskinasi, Aziz and Khabira Paige and Richard Hardy is rich in melodic contouring of aerophones, chordophones, keyboards and vocals and is supported effortlessly by energetic percussion. The skillful, professional use of instruments and styles from throughout the world identifies this effort as truly a contemporary approach to the generic genre "fusion". In keeping with the artistic devotion to the healing of the planet through sound, the creators and realizers of this enlightening work share sonically the vision for which they work tirelessly. Brava!

Cero farandulero
Los Jubilados
Discos Corason

This release is a landmark CD by former members of the Conjunto Cubanero, the most celebrated orchestra in Santiago during the "golden era" of Cuban son, bolero and swing. Most of the members of Los Jubilados, who formerly were known under the names "El Nuevo Cubanero" and "Santiago Son", are seasoned, "retired" musicians over sixty years old. It is said that their age enables them to play sweetly and effortlessly a remarkable repertoire upon Spanish and Tres guitars, bass, bongos, congas, hand percussion and trumpet, accompanying vocals. This group embodies the heart of Santiago, the years of devotion to a heritage that remains strong in the midst of a struggling tropical land.

Like a Prayer: The Sound Of New Gospel
Music Collection International

Artists in many musical styles, from R+B to hip-hop, rock and roll to the blues have credited gospel as inspiration for their own endeavors. This new compilation is a reverse tribute in that musicians such as Shirley Caesar and the New Jersey Mass Choir here steep gospel with some newer elements of these styles, while remaining faithful to the tradition. With a funk, giving a higher message is the aim of these energetic ensembles; one cannot but agree that surely they accomplish this, given the resurgence in popularity of gospel and the respect shown to this genre by countless musical icons, from Aretha Franklin to James Brown. Like a Prayer serves as an excellent introduction to the genre of gospel yet has enough to inspire even ripe collectors.

Reviews by Jenece C. Gerber.