Francisco Cespedes,"Te Acuerdas"

Album Review

Francisco Céspedes, who is nostalgic by nature, sings some of his old favorites on "Te Acuerdas" ("You Remember"). Backed by a band of contemporary Cuban jazz standouts, he shows his lighter side on treatments by the Spanish folk icon Joan Manuel Serrat and the famed Mexican composer Armando Manzanero. Céspedes' rum-soaked vocals swing from the buoyancy of Nat "King" Cole to the low-down grit of Tom Waits: His version of "Ne Me Quitte Pas" is serviceable, while his heavily accented take on the Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love" is awfully or interestingly kitsch, depending on the listener's taste for quirkiness. But Céspedes is at his gruff best on Argentine singer/songwriter Fito Paez's "Yo Vengo A Ofrecer Mi Corazón" and a stirring version of Pablo Milanes' "Mirame Bien."