Ibrahim Ferrer
Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer
World Circuit/Nonesuch (www.worldcircuit.co.uk/)

Ibrahim Ferrer began his singing career at the age of 12 in the streets of Santiago - 60 years later, he possesses one of the mellowest voices in Cuban music. His contributions to Buena Vista Social Club and the Afro-Cuban All Stars led to this consummate solo debut, backed by many of the same session veterans, most notably pianist Rubén González, guitarist Manuel Galbán (of Los Zafiros) and Gil Bernal, original saxophonist for the Coasters. Ferrer is at home in a range of tempos and musical settings, from Afro-son to bolero and guaguancó, guajira to canción and son montuno. Among the 45 guest artists are Omara Portuondo ("Silencio"), Teresa García Caturla ("Marieta"), the female quartet Gema 4 ("Herido de sombras," "Nuestra última cita"), laúd player Barbarito Torres ("Guateque campesino," "Ojos verdes"), and tres player Papi Oviedo ("Mami me gustó"). Despite the all-star lineup and the lush, all-out arrangements, there is nothing flashy about the album, just the straight-ahead romantic feeling and laid-back clave sensibility (e.g., Beny Moré's "Que bueno baila usted") of which Ferrer is a connoisseur. - Michael Stone

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