Rolling Stone (9/18/97, p.104) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...revisit[s] the lovelorn ballads, patriotic hymns and gentle son-based dance numbers heard in swank Havana lounges as far back as the 1920s....enduring reminders that in Cuba, the wisdom of the ages still counts for something."Spin (9/99, p.156) - Ranked #71 in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s."Entertainment Weekly (10/03/97, p.85) - "...The rhythms vary, but the sound is gentle yet flamboyant throughout. It brims with warmth." - Rating: B+Q (1/98, p.112) - Included in Q Magazine's "50 Best Albums of 1997."Vibe (11/97, p.152) - "...The beguiling fusion of Cooder's twangy slide guitar with the danzon and other, conga-tinged Afro-Hispanic rhythms...makes for an exciting multicultural marriage..."Village Voice (2/24/98) - Ranked #21 in the Village Voice's 1997 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.Mojo (Publisher) (p.65) - Ranked #23 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "Witty, wistful, and above all wise."
Rolling Stone (8/19/99, p.118) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...first-rate Caribbean warmth....[allows] Ferrer to luxuriate in symphonic settings....Stunning."CMJ (1/10/00, p.25) - Included in CMJ's "New World '99 Top 5" - "...[His] masterful debut is one of Buena Vista's best solo releases...featuring another set of Cuban classics recorded in Havana..."Dirty Linen (10-11/99, p.75) - "...There are not adjectives enough to describe the music on [this]....It is difficult to try and choose a favorite track....heartily recommended without hesitation."Mojo (Publisher) (1/00, p.31) - Ranked #13 in Mojo Magazine's "Best of 1999."
Rolling Stone (8/17/00, p.114) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...A session of blinding beauty....The kind of record that forces you to stop worrying and enjoy life to the fullest...an exquisite trip to the heart of Afro-Cuba."Q (5/00, p.117) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Cuba's foremost singer of boleros and 'feeling' music....the album should guarantee, if not pulse-threatening excitement, at least a prolonged warm glow."The Wire (5/00, p.68) - "...Backed by strings or a smoldering ensemble...Portuondo's singing is beautifully balanced and effortlessly sultry."CMJ (5/29/00, p.3) - "...Some of the most beautiful, romantic singing you'll hear anywhere..."JazzTimes (10/00, p.75) - "...A quiet stunner...evoking a palpable, almost cinematic, sense of great musicians generating friction in a funky, charming old studio..."Mojo (Publisher) (5/00, p.103) - "...[She] reveals a sadness to Cuban music that previous Buena Vista albums have rarely even hinted at. Beautifully orchestrated...and with a wonderfully intimate sound, this is the Feeling Lonely On A Saturday Night album of the year so far."
CMJ (7/10/00, p.33) - "...Reflects the island nation's unique musical perspective....Hard to categorize, but if you must, file this album under 'Roots Of The Buena Vista Social Club'."
Yoga Journal (06/03, p.188) - "...A cross between the lilting acoustic orthodoxy of Cuba's Buena Vista Social Club and the sonic experiments of Brazil's Tropicalia movement..."
"Think of it as Jamaican soul; beautifully sung, frequently heartbroken but with a strong civil rights agendaUncut
Spin (7/00, p.153) - 8 out of 10 - "...Cuban music that upholds tradition at the same instant it lampoons the overwrought sentimentality of Batista-era balladeering....Just when he's digging a relaxed rumba, [Ribot] kicks out the skronk, sending his rhythm section into a clattering freakout..."Entertainment Weekly (5/12/00, pp.78-9) - "...There's nothing phony about the stellar musicianship on display....Imagine a hipster Buena Vista Social Club at a packed SoHo basement party..." - Rating: B+Q (8/00, p.105) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...It works a treat, Ribot's endlessly inventive fingers using the slinky rhythms like a trampoline to bounce playfully all over the shop....worth it for the scorching 'Baile Baile Baile' alone."CMJ (4/24/00, p.24) - "...Shake-shake-shakes the Afro-Cuban pop....Working vicariously through the apple-eyed spirit [Arsenio] Rodriguez, while bringing more of Ribot's seamless, improvisational style to the cha-cha line....Very entertaining."Down Beat (6/00, p.60) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...[The group] fully hit their stride....It's crazed and concise, a chops disc that banks on songs and it driven by a performance that effectively matches sound and attitude. It's also the first great pop-jazz album of the year..."Mojo (Publisher) (5/00, p.98) - "...Wry pseudo mambos: songs sounding like Arsenio Rodriguez originals put through a psychotic blender....it's not for purists, just for people who like to smile."
Rolling Stone (6/22/00, p.135) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...A lazy dissolving dream of a record that glimmers in and out like a mirage and sharpens to a hard focus with songs like 'Sonic Wind'....conjuring a phantom photograph of the American West, overgrown with cactus and the unemployed."Entertainment Weekly (5/19/00, p.74) - "...Burrows deep into south-of-the-border territory, with authentic waltz-time instrumentals, then warbles murder ballads and emotional road-kill tales that sound like Will Oldham fronting a mariachi band." - Rating: A-Q (6/00, p.102) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Highly evocative....sounding like a collection of offcuts from Orson Welles' 'A Touch Of Evil'....Accordions, melodica, trumpets and vibes give the album a haunting ambience..."Magnet (8-9/00, pp.68-9) - "You'll need all the quiet you can possibly summon to hear the layered nuances embedded in the grooves of HOT RAIL....It's eerie quiet makes it so memorable....Seek not to label but to listen."The Wire (5/00, p.63) - "...Combines scorched soundtracks with moody ballads....adding more impressionistic interludes and vocal tracks..."CMJ (5/8/00, p.27) - "...Unfurls dramatically, with more colors and a sharper eye for detail....backed by sumptuous horns, slide guitars and more, HOT RAIL sounds like a collaborative effort between the Buena Vista Social Club, a wild-eyed wunderkind producer and a Gram Parsons-influenced rock star..."Melody Maker (5/30/00, p.57) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...a mix of down-home country charms and knowingly worldly sophistication....made for everyone who's ever come second in any of life's duels. Beautiful."Mojo (Publisher) (5/00, p.93) - "...A beautiful, accomplished work....The lyrics are resigned and weary but the music is sensuous and evocative."
JazzTimes (12/96, pp.116-117) - "...this is very pretty music, owing nearly as much to the chamber music tradition as it does to jazz and its Cuban cousin..."Jazziz (8/97, p.77) - "...Bunnett embarks on a fascinating excursion into an elegant style of Cuban music....this entrancing set includes performances with a strong classical feel....Bunnett's sensitivity to Cuban music's sentimental character...and her appreciation of the island nation's penchant for making music...insures this uncommon album's appeal."