For several years, Johannes Linstead has been regarded as one of the top Latin guitarists in the world. His most recent CD Café Tropical does nothing to dispel that notion. The album boasts eleven original compositions by the Canadian artist.
If you enjoy lively, well orchestrated music featuring some very talented musicians then you will absolutely love these songs.
As "Tides of Eden" makes its appearance, we are greeted by the Cuban influences of Osvaldo Rodriguez’s violin and bow. The moody strings are courted by Linstead’s gentle guitar. Indian artist Hari Pal who is well known and highly respected on four continents performs his magic on the tabla.
For the song "Suave" Afro-Cuban pianist Hilario Duran answers Linstead’s lively licks with some spirited chops of his own. Duran who has been compared to the legendary Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes was the 2005 Juno Award winner (Canada’s Grammy) for Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year (New Danzon). Duran also received a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo ("From the Heart" recorded for the CD Paq Man)
Johannes Linstead is a great musician but he may be an even better composer and producer. His complete understanding of the Latin genre and specifically the flamenco sub genre are noticeable. The arrangements are beautifully balanced. Like a perfectly choreographed ballet, the instruments move in unison, never seeming out of place. The rhythms of the congas (Marcus Chonsky, Anastasios Bigas and Alex Godinez), bongo and timbales (both by Godinez) never overshadow Linstead’s guitar or other instruments.
The arrangements for "Para La Habana", "Santeria" and "The Streets of Old San Juan" are graceful and fluid. Linstead is well traveled and he demonstrates a complete understanding of the many musical cultures that he has encountered. Johannes Linstead is not an artist who merely imitates a genre but his music is instead infused with the many bright colors, hues and spirit of Latin America.
Linstead has pushed the envelope with Café Tropical by incorporating many world musicians from both the Latin constituent, Asia and the Middle East. Iranian (now living in Canada) percussionist Sina Khosravi (doumbek), bassist Frank Marcos Aular (Venezuela), Indian Hari Pal on tabla, Peruvian percussionist Alex Godinez and Cuban trumpeter Alexis Baro joins the other Afro-Cuban artists already mentioned.
Many in the music industry still regard Billboard Magazine as the best measuring stick for an artist’s music. Earlier this year Café Tropical was ranked fourth on Billboard’s charts. Not to be left behind in the age of digital downloads iTunes featured Café Tropical during the first week of its release. The album held the number one position on eMusic.com’s World Music chart.
Ladies if you are looking for a great night out and want to watch a very good looking man play some beautiful music then you should check out Linstead’s itinerary. He tours extensively throughout the United States and Canada. Gentleman if you are planning a romantic candlelit dinner for that special lady you will not go wrong in creating the perfect ambience with the music of Johannes Linstead. Would anyone like some sangria?