¡Mexico! - Rolando Villazón
Consuelo VELAZQUEZ (1916 - 2005) Besame mucho como si fuera (arranged by Efrain Oscher) [5:30]
Maria GREVER (1894 - 1951) Despedida (Farewell) (arranged by Efrain Oscher) [4:09]
Alfonso Esparza OTEO (1894 - 1950) Dime que si (arranged by Efrain Oscher) [3:53]
Tomás Méndez SOSA (1927 - 1995) Cucurrucucú (Dicen que por las noches) (Arranged by Gonzalo Grau) [5:09]
Tata NACHO (1894 - 1968) Intima (arranged by Gonzalo Grau) [2:52]
Daniel CATÁN (b.1949) Comprendo (arrangement for voice and guitar) [3:29]
Agustin LARA (1900 - 1970) Veracruz (Yo nací con la luna) (arranged by Gonzalo Grau) [3:07]
Maria GREVER (1894 - 1951) Te quiero dijiste, tomando (arranged by Daniel Catán & Gonzalo Grau) [5:29]
Alberto DOMINGUEZ (1911 - 1975) Perfidia (Nadie comprende) (arranged by Efrain Oscher) [4:33]
Agustin LARA (1900 - 1970) Noche de Ronda que triste pasa (arranged by Efrain Oscher) [4:16]
Roberto CANTORAL (b.1935) El reloj no marques (arranged by Daniel Catán) [3:06]
Alfonso Esparza OTEO (1894 - 1950) Un viejo amor (arranged by Gonzalo Grau) [4:00]
Agustin LARA (1900 - 1970) Solamente una vez ame en la vida (arranged by Efrain Oscher) [4:04]
Jorge del MORAL (1900 - 1941) Besos robados [3:55]
Manuel M. PONCE (1882 - 1948) Estrellita (arranged by Alfonso Montes) [3:03]
MEDLEY: Cielito Lindo and La Cucuracha [9:52]
Rolando Villazón (tenor)
Bolívar Soloists: (Efrain Oscher, Juan Manuel González, Pablo Bercellini, Rhodri Clarke) with Juan Lucas Aisemberg, Gabriel León, César Nigro, Conny Sommer, Peter Kuhnsch), Nigel Shore, Eduardo Calzada, Francisco Flores,
rec. March 2010, Teldex Studio, Berlin. DDD
Hard cover prestige edition: 000289 477 9012 9 GH
Villazón smooches it up in well-judged style for his seemingly large heart-throb following. The photos play charmingly to this constituency though the one inside has a disorientating touch of Blackadder about it. He is joined by a tapestry of instrumentalists who add relish. Villazón is great with dynamic variation and the sentimental aspect is tastefully caressed. He does however show a hint of vocal strain under sustained pressure.
Besame mucho has a life-enhancing swing while Despedida starts reserved but soon develops a Puccinian passion. The Cucurrucucú is just irresistible with those ringing Ay-ay-ay-ays. Intima is sleepily amorous with Puccinian outbursts. Veracruz is more popular in a ‘Down Mexico Way’ style. It is knowing and studded with latino frills and furbelows - drum-kit ostinato and chipper percussion. The wistful Te quiero is as much of a charmer as El reloj and in these Villazon’s easy seductive charm reaps rewards. Noche de ronda imports the mystery of the jungle. Un Viejo amor infiltrates a Schoenbergian complexity into the received Mexican manner - all to the good.Solamente una vez has some simply glorious flute playing from Efrain Oscher. Besos robadas sounds devotional but soon rises to dramatic heights. Ponce’s hit Estrellita is very smoothly and seductively done. The final medley includes Cielito Lindo which goes with a smile and a flash of the teeth. It reminds me of the treatments on that now long gone LP my father had with its cover depicting a looming circle of Mexican frilly-shirted and super-hatted guitarists playing a range of guitars from small up to “double-bass”. The ensemble join in the singing at climactic points and their exuberant whoops bring things to a close.
The notes are by Jorge Volpi and Villazon himself. No texts. These songs are the counterpart to the Neapolitan songs taken up by Italy’s great tenors; all credit to Villazon and DG for ringing the changes. While I have glancing criticism associated with the natural wear and tear on Villazon’s voice this disc has a vibrancy and grip that makes it well worth hearing.
Rob Barnett 

Villazón smooches it up in vibrant and gripping style.