CD Havana Angels [Digipak] * (CD 16007107),
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Havana Angels [Digipak] *

  • 1. Little Angles
    2. Blue Christmas
    3. Camino de Navidad, El
    4. Santa Baby
    5. Olha Pro Cu
    6. Peregrinacin, La - (featuring Natalie Choquette)
    7. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
    8. I Hear the Bells
    9. Lune et la Neige, La
    10. I'll Be Home for Christmas
    11. Greensleeves
    12. Down to the River to Pray - (featuring Sntesis)
    13. Havana Light - (featuring Jesse Cook)
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 2423

  • Credits
    ProducerFlorence Florence K; Osvaldo Montes
    EngineerToby Gendron

    Personnel: Florence K (piano, Hammond b-3 organ); Osvaldo Montes (guitar); Francisco Pancho Amat (tres); Chantal Bergeron, Carla Antoun, Philippe Dunnigan, Ligia Paquin (strings); Juan Manuel Ceruto (flute); Didier Dumoutier (accordion); Walter Ros (bandoneon); Giovany Arteaga (saxophone); Thommy Lowry, Leider Candebat Chappotin, Garcia Rojas (trumpet); Edouardo J. Sandoval Ferrer (trombone); Angel Gaston Joya Perellada (upright bass); Michael Olivera Garcia (drums); Pipo Perabo (shaker); Tomas Ramos (percussion).
    Audio Mixer: Toby Gendron.
    Recording information: Abdalla Studio, Ciudad De La Habana, Cuba; Planet Studios, Montreal; Studio Buenos Aires, B.A., Argentina.
    Photographer: Krissi Campbell.
    Arrangers: Florence K; Osvaldo Montes.
    Completing her Cuban trilogy following 2006's Bossa Blue and 2008's La Historia de Lola, Havana Angels sees Quebec jazz-pop chanteuse Florence K transform her favorite holiday songs into Latino, dancefloor-ready numbers suitable for any time of the year, alongside several attempts to produce some of her own future seasonal classics. Recorded in the Cuban capital with producer Osvaldo Montes, the Canadian tackles vintage festive staples with aplomb, providing a Bacharach-esque lounge pop feel to Elvis' classic "Blue Christmas" with its elegant sweeping strings and flamenco guitar licks, turning Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby," and the Meet Me in St Louis standard "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" into toe-tapping samba anthems, and adding a subtle bossa-nova vibe to Bing Crosby favorite "I'll Be Home for Christmas." But it's away from the yuletide staples where her sophisticated timeless vocals and impressive musicianship shine, such as her faithful cover version of traditional Appalachian spiritual "Down to the River to Pray," made even more powerful by the guest vocals from Afro-Cuban ensemble Sintesis, and her poignant duet with her mother, soprano Natalie Choquette, on a gentle rendition of Ariel Ramirez's "La Peregrinacion." The self-penned compositions understandably feel second-rate when compared to such well-regarded material, but the gently strummed folk collaboration with guitarist Jesse Cook, "Havana Light," the longing piano-led torch song "I Hear the Bells" and the seductive brass-fused rhumba of opening track "Little Angels" all suggest Florence is capable of matching them in the future. With such a broad range of songs, Havana Angels sometimes strays from its original concept, but pedantics aside, it's a pleasant and charming final installment which doesn't need the excuse of a holiday to be enjoyed. ~ Jon O'Brien

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