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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Jacky and Strings

New Era

Review by Gary Hill

Latin elements blend with jazz and even modern urban sounds in Jacky & Strings New Era. The result is an intriguing disc that has a lot of great music. Personally it tends a bit too much in the neighborhood of soft rock for my tastes, but it’s still quite strong. Most of the lyrics are in Spanish, but there are a couple songs with English lyrics.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Vamonos Paya
The energized Latin groove on this is just so cool. The horns add something special. So do the vocals. They are along the lines of Latin hip hop. This tune has a lot of cool built into it. The guitar soloing is tasty. The name check on this is in English, and is definitely hip hop oriented.
Meta-Morphosis

Once more there is some hip hop in the mix, but then again the Latin textures are really all over this. It feels like something you’d hear on one of the Spanish language radio stations – and in fact, it’s probably played on them. There’s actually a touch of space rock keys right at the end.

Rosa Maria

This pretty ballad feels a lot like something from Jose Feliciano – or something you’d hear in a Mexican restaurant.

Caribbean Soul

The hip hop sounds are all over the beginning of this. As you might figure it takes on Caribbean sounds as it carries on. Whereas the majority of the vocals on this disc are in Spanish, there are a couple lines on this song in English.

The Groove Is On Fire

This might well be my favorite cut on show here. It’s killer number that’s very much in keeping with Latin sounds. Yet there is some hip hop in the mix and some great world music textures that seem to stretch beyond the Latin. Some of the lyrics here are in English, but the majority are in Spanish.

Yanvalooh

There’s a killer Latin music meets jazz groove on this. It’s got plenty of old school sound, but yet some modern elements, too.  There are some sections here that remind me of Sting solo, or even the Police.

Madre Querida

This number is an acoustic based Latin ballad. It’s pretty but also feels a lot like something you might hear in a Mexican cantina.

A Brasileira

Another energetic piece, this is pretty and very definitely Latin flavored. There’s plenty of jazz on this. The vocals are non-lyrical ones.

New Era

The acoustic guitar solos like crazy on this number. It’s definitely got a Latin texture and some Caribbean sounds. It feels very much like something we might get from Al Di Meola. There is flute and other unusual instrumentation to be found here.

Father And Son
An instrumental, there’s a lot more of a pure rock/mainstream feeling to this. It’s pretty and tasty and almost country at times. While this is very pleasant and a wonderful closing shot, it’s really the odd duck out here – very different from everything else.
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