Lorenzo's All-Time Top 50 Albums Review

1. Best of Sade ~ Sade
simply sublime. awesome collection of sade's greatest

2. The Night I Fell in Love ~ Luther Vandross
Apart from the "Best of.." collection this is the best album of his repetoire. Sensual. Luther is at the peak of his career here, and its downhill thereafter.

3. Tree of Life ~ Lila Downs (Mexico)
Incredible. If you are of Mexican heritage or are intimately familiar with its culture and music, you'll love this album and appreciate its coverage of various regional styles. I recently discovered her music over the last year and immediately went and bought copies for both my sister and my father (this was before I had the CD burners) and lo and behold the sis revealed she already had the album and had been to one of her concerts already!!! Have to say track 4, La Iguana is one of my favorites because it reminds me of my folklorico days in both grammar school with my first cousins and at UCLA.

4. Cesaria ~ Cesaria Evora (Madagascar)
Enchanting debut by this now world reknown diva. Nothing surpasses a genuine first-take, unscathed by the demands of commercialism

5. Caminhos ~ Dulce Pontes (Portugal)
Mesmerizing. This is a better album than Lagirmas, even if it gets more hype.

6. Art of Amalia ~ Amalia Rodrigues (Portugal)
5 stars on a scale of 1-4. She is the queen of Fado, the reigning predecesor to Dulce. This is an excellent intro to her music and Fado in general

7. Onda Sonora: Red Hot + Lisbon ~ Various Artists (Portugal)
An incredible multi-faceted collection. Every song is great. This is the best by-far of the Red Hot + Series.

8. Best of Googoosh, V.1: Jadeh ~ Googoosh (Iran)
Googoosh has a haunting voice. You don't have to speak her language to understand the passion of her song. I recommend all three greatest hits volumes.

9. Drag ~ k.d. lang
This is by far the most sophisticated of all her albums. She croons here in the vein of other vocalists during the pinnacle of the 50's.

10. The Best of the Capitol Years: Selections From "The Capitol Years" Box Set ~ Frank Sinatra
Slightly better than the Reprise collection, I would say this is Frank's best by far. The 3 CD set is great, but this is a great compromise for anyone on a budget or looking to be oriented to Sinatra

11. Spotlight On Bobby Darin [Great Gentlemen of Song] ~ Bobby Darin
Darin is the unsung songbird of the late 50's and early 60's. In my view a rival to the Rat Pack. This album says it all - the best collection of all his recordings.

12. Je M'Voyais Deja ~ Charles Aznavour (France)
The French gruff version of Sinatra. Incredible performer. Heard other albums, this is the best by far.

13. Legendary Fairuz ~ Fairuz (Lebanon)
This is a pretty good intro to the Diva of Middle Eastern music. She ranks with Oum her predecessor. She is prolific to say the least.

14. Linea Mexicanisimo ~ Vicente Fernandez (Mexico)
The Mexican fourth tenor. Beloved by many in Mexico and Colombia for three decades. His son is king of contemporary ballads now. This is the album to have!

15. Mexicanisimo ~ Javier Solis (Mexico)
Operatic predecesor to Chente. This album has the best of his best, several jewels form Jose Alfredo Jimenez. There other collections on the market, but this is the best.

16. The Source Presents Hits From The Vault: Vol. 1 - The Pioneers ~ Various Artists
This is an awesome of collection of old-school classics. A must for anyone who grew up with this music!

17. The Best of George Benson ~ George Benson
This is very good, but Tenderly is better - could not find it listed. It is Benson's focus on standards - excellent!!!

18. Ultra Lounge, Vol. 5: Wild Cool & Swingin ~ Various Artists
The best "lounge" music album available. Great swingin' collection, a must for any cocktail party. the best of the entire Ultra-Lounge Series.

19. Devotion ~ Rasa (Indian)
Extremely sensual album. Like Mathis, Enya and Sinatra of other decaeds this is a love-making album.

20. Living Room ~ Paris Combo (French)
Excellent. Paris Combo is a spunky jazz troupe out of Paris - very hip - great party music!

21. Jazz A Saint-Germain ~ Kidjo, et al (French)
Incredible collection and wonderful intro to artists one may not be familiar with. Cool to say the least. This is a wonderful album of contemporary jazz vocals (mostly french) and includes a track from Les Nubians. Patrica Kaas is also on there (8) - another singer you may want to check out.

22. Love Jones: The Music (1997 Film) [SOUNDTRACK] ~ Various Artists
oh so sultry soundtrack - perfect for that intimate summer shade-drawn afternoon... I've never seen the movie, but it surprisingly is one of my favorite R&B albums by far. It is hot and heavy and I have added a few others songs in the same mode. Don't blame me for anything that happens when you play this album!!!

23. Mi Reflejo ~ Christina Aguilera
A recent discovery for me...this teeny-booper can sing with the best of them. She should sing the great American popular standards. I'd be first in line!

24. Costes, Vol. 3: Hotel Costes [IMPORT] ~ Stéphane Pompougnac
Excellent! varied renditions of old and new music. this album is pretty varied - very cool. I added Perhaps Perhaps from another "mix" album which I found similar to my favorite track (2 - Shirley Bassey's Where Do I Begin). Track 11 is also a favorite - it takes me to a restaurant I went to once her in the City which had tables with translucent tents over them. Very sensual - sensual in the sparking of the senses mode, not necessarily sexual…

25. Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo ~ Omara Portuondo
fuhgettaboutit! Buena Vista Club Presents Omara Portuondo, Very sensual in the latin way we know ….Omara came back to the scene via the now well known "Buena Vista Club" phenomena.

26. Wynton Marsalis, Standard Time, Volume 2: Intimacy Calling
Holy smokes! This is another album that eluded my attention and should be on the top 25 - this one and its brother Vol.3 , Resolution of Romance. (Vol. 1 is not that great). Great music to do anything to , clean the house, lie in bed and stare at the ceiling, reminisce, and anything which sparks the imagination. I discovered these albums way back in college, so they have been at the top of my list for a long time standing.

27. Les Nubians: Les Princesses Nubiennes:
oddly enough, I just realized this is not on my best 25 list - it surely should be! This is a very sexy album from two sisters out of northern Africa. They singe a great cover of a sade song which reminds me of high (sweetest taboo). They are also featured on another album I have included Jazz a Saint Germain.

28. Chill out Ibiza Dusk and Dawn:
As you may know about already, there is a type of music coming out of Europe and especially inspired by the lifestyle on a small island off the continent, off of Spain I believe, Ibiza, the ultimate party island...this music is referred to chill-out music/ambient. As you may know this genre is extremely popular on college campuses these days. Anyway, this album is a good example of this music…I like it quite a bit. It is especially great to listen to with headphones on a good stereo system - something I HIGHLY RECOMMEND with all this music, much of its beauty-impact loses its effect over the space between the output of speakers and the listener. I like tracks 1 and 10 (the latter has been remixed many times and tends to be a standard on these chill-out compilations.

29. Angelique Kidjo (see review)

30. Amores Perros

31. Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison

32. Café Del Mar, 6

33. Sonora Matancera En Mexico
Cuban impresario

34. Louis Armstrong, Disney Songs the Satchmo Way
This is really an incredible album. Quite uplifting, the way that only the great Louis Armstong can raise your spirits. A model of awesome humility and mirth, Satchmo, was able to accentuate the positive throughout his musical career. The collaboration between this genius with a horn and the magic of Disney is just that —magic.

35. Issac Stern 60th Anniversary Celebration:
Issc Stern, Itzac Perlman, Pinchas Zucherman, Zubin Metha
Bach: Concerto For Two Violins/Vivaldi: Concerto For Three Violins/Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante For Violin And Viola
Granted I don’t know classical (but I do know crazy!) as well as most of the other genres I list here, but of the few dozen albums that I own and have played repeatedly, this one is the outright winner. My opinion is somewhat qualified by the fact that my collection has primarily focused on violin concertos, so I’ve heard a little bit of the some the major violinists: both old (Pinchas, Stern, ) and the new guard (Midori, Joshua Bell, Kennedy, Anne …)

36. Zero7, Another Late Night (see review)

37. Groove Armada, goodbye country (hello nightclub) (see review)