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Various Artists: New York Latin Hustle! The Sound of New York

Various Artists: New York Latin Hustle! The Sound of New York

Label:Soul Jazz
Release Date:2007

By Michaelangelo Matos | Posted 6/27/2007

Given its central importance to modern pop's conception of rhythm--not to mention the ever-rising U.S. Hispanic population--shouldn't your average rock/rap/R&B/dance music enthusiast be able to talk Latin music just as fluently? But beyond the mambo craze of the '50s and more recent Spanglish pop variants, Latin music has largely been ghettoized out of rock and pop history. This is mostly down the language barrier, because musically the breadth of Latin music isn't any more "foreign" than, say, Jamaican pop. So give the cool-old-stuff bandwagoneers at London's Soul Jazz label credit for having consistently pushed Spanish-speaking stuff in the label's ongoing campaign to colonize hipster earbuds. Its newest collection is a two-CD overview of New York's Latin music that spans the 1960s, '70s, and early '80s.

Like the label's Jamaica-centric Dynamite! series, New York Latin Hustle! pays scant attention to chronology, presenting its golden era as a playground for skipping around rather than a classroom (however hopping) for learning the evolution of its various genres. So Latin jazz from Machito rubs elbows with J. Walter Negro and the Loose Jointz's 1981 "Shoot the Pump," about the pleasures of jacking into the city's water supply and one of the great lost funk singles. And there's plenty of disco--Latin music to its core, whatever its Euro outposts--from Candido and La Charanga '76 (a smoking cover of McFadden and Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now"). You might not emerge from playing this comp with any more sense of Latin music's historical evolution, but you will undoubtedly have a good time.

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