Typical of most Liberty products of the era, Latin Fever features a gorgeous, if perfectly lewd, jacket, which of course has no particular relevance to the musicians. Costanzo gets to reprise "The Peanut Vendor" ("El Manisero"), which was one of his three big spotlight numbers under Stan Kenton. Better are the five originals, however, including a deadly hip bass spotlight, "Bajo Numero Uno." (Sounds like a precursor to Perez Prado's seven-minute funk version of something that turns out in the last half-minute to be "Tequila.") Eddie Cano enjoys playing standards by Noro Morales and the Lecuonas in this group. While "Taboo" loses some of its exoticism with the bongos, it regains it with Alcaraz' flute. And "Malaguena" here is an excuse for a nearly eight-minute jam! Finally, "Drum-A-Mania" is a Mr. Bongo solo.
The cycle of 125 variations that Costanzo Festa composed on the famous melody called La Spagna is conceived on a scale unique during the Renaissance, and may justly be described as a compositional tour-de-force. It has been comparisons to works such as Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations. This budget priced reissue, released for the first time in 2003, features a selection of these variations performed by the Huelgas-Ensemble.
Heitor Villa-Lobos was born in Rio de Janeiro. His father, Raul, was a wealthy, educated man of Spanish extraction, a librarian, an amateur astronomer and musician. In Villa-Lobos's early childhood, Brazil underwent a period of social revolution and modernisation, abolishing slavery in 1888 and overthrowing the Empire of Brazil in 1889. The changes in Brazil were reflected in its musical life: previously European music had been the dominant influence, and the courses at the Conservatório de Música were grounded in traditional counterpoint and harmony. Villa-Lobos underwent very little of this formal training…