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Rico Monaco & Sol Sons

Luna Salerno

Self-Released

Orlando’s Rico Monaco & Sol Sons combine Latin rhythms, generic rock, and schlocky pop that is professionally performed and produced but won’t exactly set the world on fire with originality. The music of Santana and Tito Puente come immediately to mind but everything from Latin jazz to Van Halen get put into the blender on Luna Salerno.

This eight-song disc includes two versions of “Ciao Bella Signorina,” a slick pop/rock tune with a Latin beat and Monaco’s Santana-like guitar playing. You also get lame, dull jazzy ballads like “One Step Closer to You” and the instrumental title track. There’s also a long, ambitious studio jam called “Vesuvio” that attempts to tell the story of the famous volcano’s eruption in music. The band pays tribute to the late percussionist Puente (even name checking him if you didn’t get the point) with some help from Tito Jr. on “Ya Ya Ma Ma.”

The centerpiece of the record is the rather obnoxious “Say Cabo,” wherein the band tells of their adventures onstage in Mexico with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony after winning something called the Hard Rock Cafй/Cabo Wabo Tequila National Battle of the Bands in 2002. They name check Van Halen’s OU812 and give “Muchas Gracias to mi amigo Sam.” It’s really an excuse for Monaco to do his best Eddie Van Halen impression. As such it’s loud and irritating.

This disc isn’t for me but if you’re having trouble waiting for the next Santana disc or you’ve gotten way too much sun and had too much Cabo Wabo to drink, this stuff might start to sound good to you.

Rico Monaco: www.ricomonaco.com