Cuban singer/songwriter Manolín has long been known as "El MÉdico de la Salsa" (The Salsa Doctor).

Cuban singer/songwriter Manolín has long been known as "El Médico de la Salsa" (The Salsa Doctor). But salsa is not part of the recipe for the artist's eponymous BMG U.S. Latin debut. Instead, Manolín shows us his other face: That of the more introspective singer/ songwriter, in the tradition of countryman Amaury Gutiérrez. Like Gutiérrez, Manolín sticks to singing mostly about love but in an eloquent, more literary style. The overall effect is mellow and organic and quite beautiful, even if some songs are very similar. But it doesn't transcend much beyond the intimacy of a coffee house ambience. This may be because we're used to the timba-slinging Manolín, or it may be because he's still finding his new voice.—LC

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