Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - Page 12 News List

CD reviews

APOCALYPSE, by Thundercat; LA NOCHE MAS LARGA, by Buika.

By Nate Chinen and Ben Ratliff  /  NY Times News Service

The musical director is the pianist Ivan Melon Lewis, and one of the bassists is Alain Perez; together they were in the rhythm section of the Cuban singer Isaac Delgado’s miraculous timba band in the late 90s. Other monsters are here too — the drummer Dafnis Prieto and the conguero Pedrito Martinez, the young trumpeter Carlos Sarduy and the guitarist Pat Metheny, not un-monstrous himself, who plays in nylon-string ballad mode through Buika’s No Lo Se.

That song, and some of her others, tend toward gauzily sophisticated jazz-pop, nearly 80s-like. They may represent a more recent cast of mind, but they seem centerless; paradoxically, they don’t feel as new as her versions of the standards here that date back much further, songs containing a formal rigor that she can push against. In the best cases her voice splits the difference, with singing so musical and overpowering that it can override your built-in genre switch. Still, the problem remains.

— BEN RATLIFF, NY Times News Service

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