Susie Hansen: Representante de la Salsa (2010)
On the opening title track, Hansen's first solo demonstrates a narrow and focused tone, though elsewhere on the albummost notably on the burning "Si No Contigo"her sound is a bit richer and more vibrant. Vocalist George Balmaseda is featured on the first two album tracks and he appropriately exudes a certain amount of machismo during these performances, occasionally sounding like Marc Anthony but with more heft. "Vehicle," a staple of '70s rock radio, features Kaspar Abbo's passionate vocals and then, unexpectedly, morphs into a scintillating Spanish-language stew, with some group vocals and appealing horn lines.
Standards make their way onto the album in the form of a Frank Sinatra tribute ("Frank Sinatra Cha Cha Cha") and "Beyond The Sea," both delivered in English. Balmaseda, Hansen and Abbo each have an opportunity to sing on the Sinatra medley, which covers "Fly Me to the Moon," "It Could Happen to You," "It Had to Be You" and "All of Me"; the results are largely positive.
While Hansen is obviously the featured instrumentalist on a large part of this material, the other standout soloist is pianist Joe Rotondi, his playing on "Las Calles de Chicago" and "Si No Contigo" lifting the music to new heights. The little touches that he adds elsewhere add authentic stylistic detail to each exhilarating performance on this album.
Track Listing: Representante de la Salsa; Te Quiero, Te Amo; Vehicle; Frank Sinatra Cha Cha; No Te Metas Conmigo; Si No Contigo; I Want to Love You; Si Me Vas a Querer; Las Calles de Chicago; Beyond the Sea; Y Sigue Pensado.
Personnel: Susie Hansen: electric violin, lead vocals, background vocals; George Balmaseda: lead vocals, background vocals; Kaspar Abbo: lead vocals, background vocals; David Stout: trombone; Tim Messina: tenor saxophone, flute; Joe Rotondi: piano; Rene Camacho: bass, background vocals; Jimmy Branly: timbales; Joe De Leon: congas; Erich Bulling: background vocals; Ricardo "Tiki" Pasillas: bongos, hand percussion.
Record Label: Self Produced