In 1997, when Steve Turré released his self-titled production for Verve, Graciela Pérez interpreted José Antonio Méndez's bolero "Ayer lo vi llorar. At the time, I wondered why Graciela's yumminess wasn't featured more often as it was obvious there was plenty of feeling and interpretive capacity left in her vocal chords in spite of her advanced age. Seven years later, even at 88 years of age, she's still very sabrosa or swingly tasty, as evidenced in Chesky Records' standard laden Inolvidable.
Listening to Graciela interpreting Arsenio RodrÃ-guez's "La vida es un sueño, or "Life is a dream, is simply breathtaking. Accompanied by Manny Oquendo on bongos, who pretty much recorded every bolero album ever made by Tito RodrÃ-guez, and master violinist Federico Britos Ruiz, with Nelson González ...who's very well the most advanced tresero extant... in tow, Graciela devours "Amor ciego with its swinging hopeful languor. In "Desvelo, Xiomara Laugart and Graciela weave their way through the multigenred composition by noted author Rafael Hernández. By the time they get to the heated cha violin solo, with the tight and tasty montuno by pianist Sonny Bravo and the nasty flute of Eddie Perales, one realizes the agelessness of both repertoire and their interpreters.
On congas, Cándido Camero, who just celebrated his 83rd birthday, shares on the swinging seasonings alongside a New Yorker backboned recording in which just two of the musicians are not Big Apple veterans. For all of its cubanÃ-a, this recording is very much de los niuyores baby and don't you forget it... Andy González on bass and Cándido on skins, put that jazzy urban pulse to test in "Conga Jam, enveloping themselves in a tip-of-the-hat to Gillespie and Chano Pozo. "Cachita, one of the most aired songs in the world, rates high in the danceability factor. Britos on violin, and González on bass, laid it on rather heavy and the rest of the ensemble brings it to the next level as they should've. Oquendo, Cándido, Bravo and Perales are tight, the latter playing the shit out of them holes...
Perhaps I might not be the fairest judge of Inolvidable as the recording is very much old school, with terrific sound, featuring time tested compositions, interpreted by some of my favorite musicians from the earliest recesses of my memories. Just the way I like it! Go ye and judge by thyself... As Graciela says, "...¡qué se repita esta rumbita!
Contact: For more information, go to Chesky Records.
Personnel: Graciela: Vocals. Cándido Camero: Congas. Sonny Bravo: Piano. Eddie Perales: Flute. Frederico Britos Ruiz: Violin. Andy González: Bass. Nelson González: Tres. Manny Oquendo: Percussion. Joseph González & Jorge Maldonado: Back-up vocals. Special Guest: Xiomara Laugart: Vocals (6,8,10).