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Music Review: Ocote Soul Sounds & Adrian Quesada: El Nino y El Sol

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El Nino y El Sol is billed as the "original soundtrack to the motion picture." If that's the case, then this collaborative effort by Ocote Soul Sounds and Adrian Quesada may have the distinction of being the first soundtrack album ever recorded for a movie that doesn't exist. More likely, it's a soundtrack for the movie that wafts dreamily through our subconsciousness. If that's the case (and I think it is), it's a soundtrack that embellishes the storyline without overpowering it.

While not necessarily groundbreaking — at least in the traditional sense of the term — this album succeeds in fusing a number of musical idioms into a pleasant identity. Drawing on influences ranging from hip-hop to afro beat to Caribbean jazz, El Nino y El Sol (the boy and the sun), drafts a musical storyboard for urban life. Through most of it, Martin Perna's flute stylings and Adrian Quesada's arrangements play gleefully against one another.

It may or may not be a musical rendition of the Icarus myth, but it certainly plays as if it might be."Marindio" opens the album with a childlike sense of wonder that beckons us to the possibilities of worlds colluding in a larger scheme. By the album's closing lilting tune, "Paz y Alegria", we're brought gently to a landing in surroundings that are both familiar, yet somewhat alien. Along our flight, we visit worlds inhabited by both Barry White and Ian Anderson, by Willie Wonka and Peter Gunn.

What Ocote Soul Sounds and Adrian Quesada have accomplished here is a piece that works as a mild morning caffeine jolt for the freeway drive to work while also serving as a soundtrack to a romantic dinner. It may not be that great jazz album we keep hoping for (Bakithi Kumalo still holds the lead there), but it's a pretty good stopgap until that comes along.

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