May 17, 2016
Miramar | Dedication To Sylvia Rexach
TITLE: Dedication To Sylvia Rexach
Singer Rei Alvarez and pianist Marlysse Simmons Argandona are two of the key members of Bio Ritmo, a remarkable modern salsa band that’s dynamic, multi-cultural and progressive. But Marlysse and Rei have a dirty secret: both of them love boleros, the old-fashioned, archly romantic ballads that were popular with their mothers (and probably grandmothers) and have been staples of Latin American music for more than a century. “[T]here were only so many boleros we could do with a salsa band” says Simmons: hence Miramar, whose debut album is a deep dive into the genre. The session features seven compositions by Sylvia Rexach, a proto-feminist Puerto Rican songwriter who’s little known off her home island; track 5, written when Rexach was 17 years old, shows off the perfectly paired voices of Alvarez and Laura Ann Singh (who’s just as at ease in Spanish as she is in Portuguese with her band Quatro Na Bossa) and Simmons’ classically-influenced piano. Rexach’s 2 is jazzed up by Simmons’ Wurlitzer organ playing; originals 6 (a waltz) and 10 feature string players from Classical Revolution RVA. And best of all is another original, 3, with a Turkish flavor.
TOP TRACKS: 2 3 5 6 10
ALSO RECOMMENDED: 1 4 7 8 9