Down Beat (pp.80-81) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] stunningly original album....It's a crazy and irreverent cross-hatching of rhythms and styles."
JazzTimes (p.78) - "From the opener and title track, 'In These Shoes,' it is evident that these artists are truly testing the boundaries of musical categorization in this genre-defying pastiche of grooves and songs."
Personnel: Claudia Acuña (vocals); Arturo O'Farrill (piano); Pedrito Martínez (vocals, percussion); Adam Rogers (guitar); Yosvany Terry (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Michael Philip Mossman (trumpet); Renaldo Jorge (trombone); Rubén Rodríguez (bass instrument); Dafnis Prieto (drums).
Recording information: Dae Bennett Studio, Englewood, NJ.
Arrangers: Arturo O'Farrill; Michael Philip Mossman.
A collaboration between an Afro-Cuban jazz band led by pianist/arranger Arturo O'Farrill and vocalist Claudia Acuña sounds like it should be a rewarding session. Yet in spite of the strong cast of musicians, including guitarist Adam Rogers, trumpeter Michael Mossman, saxophonist Yosvany Terry, and drummer/composer Dafnis Prieto, the CD is slow to get underway, with initially more of a pop emphasis than jazz for the first few tracks. Acuña proves seductive in the playful opener "In These Shoes," though songs like "Paciencia" and "Cuando Cuando" end up sounding like little more than middle of the road Latin pop. Part of the problem is due to the lack of instrumental breaks in the first few songs, while the vocals are sometimes over-engineered. Oddly enough, it is Van Morrison's tiresome "Moondance" that helps the CD come alive with a perky Cuban chart, Rogers' crisp acoustic guitar and the leader's inventive piano backing Acuña's magical vocal. The funky cha cha setting of the standard "Willow Weep for Me" is also a lively affair. The invigorating workout of Rubén Blades' salsa "Dime" would get any audience up dancing. This is still a valuable release, though it falls somewhat short of its potential. ~ Ken Dryden