Personnel: Haskell Armenteros - Clarinet Rafael Fournier - Bongos, Pailas Hugo Carzón - Claves, Guiro, Maracas Rey Guerra - Guitar Rafael Lázaro Inciarte - Clarinet Vionaika Martínez - Vocals Rosendo Nardo - Clarinet (Bass) Julio Iznaga Piña - Campana, Pailas
Benito Suárez - Guitar Roberto Vizcaíno - Cheq, Tam
Review by Philip Van Vleck Compay Segundo is one of the legends of Cuban music. When he started playing the clarinet in the municipal band of Santiago de Cuba as a teenager, the world was just recovering from World War I. Segundo is one of the musicians who shaped the Cuban son style. More recently, he was a major contributor to 1999's surprise hit Buena Vista Social Club. Segundo is a well-respected clarinetist and guitarist, and he's probably been even more widely celebrated in Cuba for his bass vocal harmonies. Calle Salud treats listeners to a truly old-world sound. Segundo and his collaborators reprise tunes in the son, bolero-son, merengue, son-afro, and cha cha styles. Within this incredibly mellow and unfailingly romantic music, the listener will notice the dominance of the clarinet and guitars and the absence of brass, which is typical of pre-1940s son, giving the music a gentle, lyrical feel, yet maintaining a beat that's every bit as rhythmic as modern salsa or samba. For the most part, Segundo's music is for slow dancers, though a son number like "Viejos Sones de Santiago" is as rumba-friendly as timba, the currently-happening Cuban dance music.