Ibrahim Ferrer Buenos Hermanos (Nonesuch/Warner) Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
If Buenos Hermanos is, in fact, Ry Cooder's final fling as a producer in Cuba, it's a hell of a way to go out. Cooder might have an anachronistic view of the island, but here it serves him well. Backed by the Buena Vista big band and guests like the Blind Boys of Alabama and Tejano accordionist Flaco Jimenez, Ibrahim Ferrer actually sounds like the grand old bolero singer he's always wanted to be, and funky organ solos and grand string sections aside, actually comes close to the command and power of his old boss Beny Moré. Drifting gracefully through classics like Perfume De Gardenias and Mil Congojas, Ferrer sounds stronger and more confident than ever, with a range that was only hinted at before and the balls to lay down what's arguably the first-ever Cuban yodelling session.