The group are called Cracked Latin, and the cover photo is of barely concealed ass crack. Okay, maybe it’s more about butt cheeks. But upon first listen to The World Is Cracked Latin (Transparency), I wasn’t sure if I was listening to something good or something that was someone’s idea of a joke. It’s Latin jazz done with English lyrics, and while they were trying to be humorous, I at first was not sure if it was blasphemous. The only thing that saved it was the tight music of the band which includes Tony Musante (drums), Emila Sousa (percussion), Jose Reyes (saxophone), Renny Lopez (trombone), Edwin Perez (trumpet), and Elvin Carone (piano, vibes, keyboards, and horn arrangements). I mean damn, if these guys brought on some proper singers I would want to become a Cracked Head or something.
After a few listens, it seems a part of their allure and partial novelty value is the fact that the vocalists (Lane Steinberg and Luis Accorsi) off off a bit like tourists who came off the boat to a foreign land, fell in love with the music, wanted to bring hints of their home and passed it off as this. They mean well, but there’s a few things in the mix that remove them from having a true authentic feel. With that said, I listened to them without thinking of authenticity and it’s just a decent party album by a party band who love the spirit of Latin jazz and what it does to the people who listen.
What I found to be cool is when they bring in different elements that one would not expect to hear on a “Latin jazz” album. There are parts that sound sample-based, but I’m not sure if they just isolated that track and heavily compressed it. Then there are the mindblowing psychedelic bits. That might be too weird for the salsa purists, but trust me, if they did that more often I would have praised this album even more.