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Latin Boss
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  • Released around the time that Edmundo Ros was celebrating his 100th birthday, Latin Boss: The Centenary Collection samples the popular bandleader's considerable output during the years 1958-1975. Drawing upon more than a dozen Decca and London Phase 4 albums, this five-CD box set illustrates the Ros approach to popular music during the second half of his recording career. Show tunes, dance numbers, jazz standards, and pop favorites are modified with a more or less Brazilian rhythmic formula which compares nicely with the equally successful exploits of Xavier Cugat. Active as leader since the late `30s, Ros broke up his band in 1975. Some of the material reissued here was first released to the public in the late `70s. A neat stack of 100 titles in mixed progression offers a well-rounded listening experience. Textures and arrangements vary enough to offer a few mild surprises, as in the funky electric handling of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree." If "Hello Dolly" receives an uncharacteristically gentle treatment, the best response to "How Are Things in Glocca Morra" and Waldteufel's "Skater's Waltz" would be a cheerful "what the hell, why not?" Part of the fun here is the pleasure of hearing what Ros and his arrangers did with the tunes of the times, especially `60s pop hits like "Mrs. Robinson," "Light My Fire," and "Tequila." Unfortunately, those who crave a wider selection of Ros-i-fied heavy classics like "I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman" and selections from the Broadway musical Hair won't find them herein. The good news is, most of the Edmundo Ros oeuvre has now been reissued, and anyone bowled over by his Centenary Collection should investigate what he accomplished during 35 years as the leader of one of the U.K.'s most popular dance bands. ~ arwulf arwulf
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