Afro Cuban All-stars present felix baloy Baila Mi Son (Ahora/BMG) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Sierra Maestra founder and Buena Vista Social Club headhunter Juan de Marcos González must have been just a tad bitter when his star find, Ibrahim Ferrer, was scooped up and swept away by Ry Cooder. Luckily for González, Cuba is filled with "the greatest singers you've never heard before." Enter Félix Baloy, a butter-voiced sonero who grew up in Havana next to Beny Moré's legendary Ali Bar and openly models himself on the Barbarian of Rhythm. Baloy's debut is a blustery, high-octane affair, with the singer winding gracefully through a set of son and bolero standards over the All-Stars' typically elegant grooves. There's nothing particularly radical about Baloy's singing, and González remains defiantly obsessed with the golden age of Cuban son, but for those looking for the next Ibrahim Ferrer, that will do just fine.