Rico Monaco and Sol Sons ~ Luna Salerno
Date: Saturday, April 07, 2007 @ 09:45:36 UTC

Artist: Rico Monaco and Sol Sons

CD: Luna Salerno

Home: Orlando, Florida

Style: Latin Pop/Jazz

Quote: " ... hot Latin groove with great pop sensibilities, all played with superb musicianship."

By Jamie Anderson

When Tito Puente Jr says they’re one of the best bands he’s ever worked with, pay attention. And hot damn, you don’t wanna sit still while this band is cranking up their hot Latin groove with great pop sensibilities, all played with superb musicianship.

Pull your lover close with the title track, a beautiful instrumental that begins with slow sensual strings and angelic vocals, building slowly with a laid back guitar then adding percussion and picking up tempo until the drums – a set with a steady groove with bursts of timbales and congas – take center stage. It’s breathtakingly sensual.

Party with “Say Cabo,” a song that tells the story of winning a battle of the bands and going to Mexico to jam with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony and indeed, there’s a feel reminiscent of vintage Van Halen but done to a reggae beat. Anthony Miceli and Zoraida sing a passionate duet on “My Dreams.” “One Step Closer to You” is jazz pop ballad that goes down like smooth whiskey. “Cio Bella Signorina” is a gorgeous love song with Latin percussion. The verses are in English, the chorus in Italian but you don’t have to know the language to understand.

Two live studio jams are included, “Ya Ya Ma Ma,” recorded with Puente Jr on timbales, percussion and backing vocals; and “Vesuvio,” an ambitious Latin jazz piece that tells the story of the eruption and aftermath of Mt. Vesuvio. The guitar on the former sounds a bit too much like one of Santana’s songs, but in this genre, it’s probably hard to get away from that sound. The latter is like a movie with many changing moods played out through different tempos and textures that blend seamlessly. Not all musicians could play live without overdubs and still sound like this. Amazing.

I love the production of this album. The instruments and vocals fit like lovers in a slow dance. It’s polished but doesn’t sound like some producer labored over every second.

If you’re the first in line for Santana tickets, and of course, if you love Latin pop, you’ll want this album. Highly recommended.

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