Salsero Charlie Cruz's latest is a collection of hard-hitting, feel-good salsa punctuated by an edgy street sense that takes the music out of the ordinary.

Salsero Charlie Cruz's latest is a collection of hard-hitting, feel-good salsa punctuated by an edgy street sense that takes the music out of the ordinary. The opening "Un Chin Chin" sets the tone by mixing salsa with reggae/rap (with rapping courtesy of Shabakan). Accompanying the driving beat is a syncopated trombone line, a resource producer/arranger Sergio George uses throughout the album. George also likes to distort Cruz's vocals in key phrases, a gimmick that wears thin after a while. Still, some tracks, including the aforementioned "Un Chin Chin," "Un Chico Malo," and "Qué Ganas," which half-way through changes tempo and feel, are simply irresistible and a welcome respite from the bulk of salsa being made today, which tends to border on the ordinary. The set's more romantic fare is a mixed bag: "Y Te Marchaste" is tepid at best, while "No Me Dejes con las Ganas" is saved by a driving sonero in the latter part of the song that again puts Cruz in control.—LC