Fabricando Fantasias [Sony]

by: Tito Nieves

With an even split between studios of Miami and those of his birthplace, Puerto Rico, Tito Nieves' first record for Sony International is equal parts a celebration of his heritage and an embrace of the future. Much of the record is uncompromising, joyful, compaña-driven salsa, the music on which Tito Nieves built his reputation. There is also plenty of material that might make your abuela blush. "Ya No Queda Nada," a collaboration with salsa songstress India and reggaeton artists Nicky Jam and K-Mil produced by reggaeton superstar Noriega, is as bold and modern as it comes. Nieves seems as comfortable in one style as the other. It reminds audiences that this is the same artist who blazed the salsa crossover trail with his enormous hit "I Like It Like That," and the same spirit of innovation is alive and well within him today. The title track, "Fabricando Fantasias," an achingly emotional, masterfully crafted song dedicated to Nieves' late son, Ommy, who he had lost a very short time before, is equally strong in impact and moving whether in its salsa or ballad version. Though a short nine tracks, including remixes, Fabricando Fantasias is marked by excellence, a characteristic of anything Tito Nieves sets his hand to. After 14 years as a solo artist, to still be making records of such a high quality is the definition of staying power. Nieves is here to stay. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez

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