If this CD were not to have emerged from Havana's Buena Vista district, it really wouldn't be that interesting. It would just be a chick with a good set of pipes singing lite-jazz songs about love and loss. Competent, yes. Pleasant, of course. But certainly nothing too exceptional. However, the very fact that Cuban singer Yusa does hail from Havana's storied Buena Vista district and that her CD is actually possessed of a somewhat modern feel is exceptional. "New" Cuban music tends to be pop-oriented, while it's largely Cuba's musical history that gets marketed to adults. To stumble across a Cuban CD that's musically complex and engaging -- but not totally mired in the musical past -- is a treat. It's just unfortunate that much of Yusa's music is overly detailed and meticulously arranged to the point of distraction. Much of the CD sounds like the result of intense labor (on behalf of her producer) to create an album that parrots the "maturity" of modern r&b/jazz fusion. Sadly, that producer managed to just scrape the sterile surface, and "Yusa" winds up sounding ultimately empty on a musical level, despite the truly impressive power of the singer's strong, melancholy voice.
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