ISSUE #8 FEB 06

David Wright

NuYorican Soul
"NuYorican Soul"

10th June 2005
reviewer: David Wright
rating: 5 out of 5
published by: Talkin Loud
released: 17th February 1997
  1. Jazzy Jeffs Theme
  2. Nuyorican Soul (Intro)
  3. You Can Do It (Baby)
  4. I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun
  5. Shoshana
  6. Runaway
  7. Sweet Tears
  8. Roys Scat
  9. Habriendo El Dominante
  10. Taita Caneme
  11. Nautilus (Mawtilus)
  12. Gotta New Life
  13. Maw Latin Blues
  14. Its Alright I Feel It

Kenny “Dope” Gonzales and \"Little\" Louie Vega are better known as Masters at Work, and were already prominent DJ’s in the early 80s, well before they became Nuyorican Soul. The duo released their first full-length record under this name in 1997.

Kenny Dope and Louie Vega are New Yorkers of Puerto Rican heritage and grew up with Latin rhythms, mambo, and salsa around them. Later they were influenced by the Chicago house style, NY hip-hop, and the evolving Latin freestyle. They have remixed and played out live under various guises such as Masters At Work, Nuyorican Soul, Vega or Gonzalez, KenLou, the Bucketheads, and The Untouchables.

This album is one of the best I own; I bought it on a whim, after hearing a couple of tracks on a basketball programme on Channel 4 and then recognised some tracks I\'d heard in a club. It\'s a pretty simple album to listen to in terms of style and sounds: it’s a jazzy house album essentially, with a big lean towards a Latin sound. \'Nuyorican Soul\' is an album unlike most in that, in my opinion, it caters for every taste. It caters for those who like house and club music, it caters for people who like big instrumental music and likewise those who prefer some vocals and lyrics. It can be played out loud for parties and for clubs alike, whilst still being delicate enough to play in the background while you’re chilling out.

Since the first release of \'The Nervous Track\', Masters at Work\'s \'Nuyorican Soul\' project has been one of the most highly acclaimed and ground-breaking acts in the dance community, breaking out from being held in just the house category, and crossing over into several different musical genres - meanwhile blurring the lines between the styles and combining them with ease and style. Talkin\' Loud label manager Gilles Peterson had hooked up with masters at work and an album deal had been arranged and was being worked on. The single, \'You Can Do It (Baby)\', had George Benson scatting, working his guitarist skills and laying down smooth vocals over nearly 16 minutes of pure funk jazz, (provided by Kenny Dope). The fourth single, \'Runaway\', a cover of the Lolita Holloway classic, features the unique vocals of Louie Vega\'s ex-wife India, along with guitarist Ronnie James and strings by Vincent Montana Jr. \'Runaway\' was the first single to receive reconstructions by outside remixers: Armand Van Helden provided a 11-plus minute funky hard house remix that often crosses the border into some disco-vibes, while Mousse T gave in a soulful house remix.

Just when you think the guest list on the first four singles can\'t be surpassed; the album proves you wrong, hosting even more legendary stars: Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Roy Ayers, Dave Valentin, wheels-of-steel master Jazzy Jeff, and vocalists such as Paulette McWilliams, Jocelyn Brown, and Lisa Fisher. Needless to say, the album is nothing short of legendary...

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