As a DJ, there's not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to remixing the hardcore salsa dura that came out of New York City in the '60s and '70s. You can spin it live and enjoy it like the rest of us audiophiles, but trying to "improve" it with new sounds and (gasp) cool electronic effects just isn't as good an idea as it might initially seem. Thankfully, the folks at the newly revamped Fania Records are well aware of this, and, for their relatively new Fania Live series, they're focusing on DJs with reputations for stellar live sets rather than just solid production skills. For their second installment, Fania Live 02, Miami's DJ Le Spam was brought on board, and the collection of tracks he uses is great for both Latin music education, and more importantly, they make you want to go out and dance. It's almost a given that certain salseros would be included: Willie Colón, Johnny Colón, Tito Puente, and Charlie Palmieri among them. And Le Spam's decision to use cuts like Palmieri's "Sandstorm" and Mongo Santamaria's "O Mi Chango" creates an audible treat. Other cuts aren't as well known, but that's the beauty of this disc. There's a bevy of kick-ass Latin jams for listeners to feast on. Some you'll recognize, but a few are rarities that even the most faithful of crate diggers probably won't own. There are also a couple of outtakes from famed New York radio DJ Symphony Sid included for extra effect. What stands out the most is that the disc has a great deal of fluidity. The slow cookers and harder, edgier tracks are spaced out enough that you can enjoy Fania Live 02 and appreciate the various styles that it encompasses. That's what good DJing is all about.
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