Daughter Lucie is here tributizing dad Desi with grand Broadway airs and old club cool via chestnuts performed with full orchestration a la The Copacabana and not an inconsiderable amount of Liza Minelli in a blend of easy familiarity and brass-backed flourish. Think Joel Grey, think Bette Midler, and, of course, think Ricky Ricardo. Especially in the third cut, Rumba Matumba, is where el vibración Cubano begins to dig in full throttle. The entire CD really does sound like it was taken from a stage production and, thus, captures an ambiance quite different from the usual jazz take on these songs.
Lucie makes the stage her second home as matter of course, so none of this is surprising. What's unusual is the Peter Allen-ish tang blent with Julie Andrews and coquettish Helen Reddy. She also ushered her son, Joe Luckinbill, in to play on The Music in Your Heart, well demonstrating his talent on the guitar and ukelele—in fact, I coulda used a lot more of his fingers and strings throughout; the guy has a bright confident style.
The liner notes by Lucie are gossipy and informative, and thus we learn that much of this music is material Desi loved or is rendered in the style the famed percussionist-singer favored. In the final analysis, the disc proves indeed to be a love letter from daughter to father, but what it really is, is the spine of a stage musical that has yet to be produced. I doubt anyone else sees it this way, but that's as may be: Latin Roots provides a three-dimensional proscenium dressed out in south of the border sparkle and spangle, a recreation of old Tin Pan Alley with a bit of barely requited love (Just to be Near You) for spice alongside a balmy wind from the Gulf reminding us that much of our country has roots as deeply south of Florida-to-Texas line as across the ocean in Britain.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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