The Bottom Line
Venezuela's "El Leon De La Salsa" is back with his distinctive salsa sound, this time in the form of salsa fused with reggaeton, hip hop and flamenco. Call it what you will, Fuzionando soars on the wings of D'Leon's strong voice. If you like D'Leon or distinctive, compelling music, you'll love the album.
- D'Leon's great voice mixed with reggaeton, hip hop and flamenco
- If you like complex musical fusion, this may be too simple for you
- 10 tracks of salsa /salsa fusion
- With Tego Calderon, Barullo, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Wahero, Zona 7
- Released by Sony BMG Latin
Guide Review - CD Review: Oscar D'Leon - Fuzionando
Venezuelan Oscar D'Leon is a giant name in salsa, a country where salsa is popular, but frequently overshadowed by its neighbors. D'Leon was a fan of Cuban style salsa, imitating Beny More in the early days. While his roots are Cuban, his music is not as complex as Cuban salsa tends to be. He has a big voice and a big sound, but it tends to be a bit slower than some artists' and his voice can often dominate the orchestra and the music.
Fuziando, as its name implies, is an album of fusion, following in the footsteps of other great salseros like Andy Montanez and his Salsaton offering. While salsa fusion, especially when melded with reggaeton, seems to be all the rage these days - and salsa and reggaeton do seem to do well together - in Fuzionandothe fusion is more diluted and what we get is a gentle variation on D'Leon's big salsa sound.
This is not necessarily bad; when someone is as good as D'Leon, there's really no need to vary a winning combination all that much.
The album starts with "Llamame", a salsa/reggaeton number that uses the ringing of the telephone as a percussion instrument and features the talents of Tego Calderon. "La Canto" is a flamenco fusion with the flamenco singer Barullo adding his distinctive voice to the mix. Gilberto Santa Rosa mixes it up with D'Leon on "Me Fallaste" while the Michigan based group, Wahero, helps out on "Hablando Solo". Finally, Venezuela's merengue / hip hop group Zona 7 helps bring the album to a sizzling finale with "Mirala".
Whatever your opinion is on the fusion of salsa with other musical forms and how it should be done, D'Leon is still himself: bold, brash and deliberate, qualities that have always worked well for a vibrant, interesting tropical sound.