Bridge to Havana is a compilation of songs written and recorded in Havana in 1999 by an eclectic group of Cuban and American artists, including Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Buffett and Buena Vista Social Club’s Omara Portuondo. Unfortunately, some tracks resort to a fairly generic Latin sound, relying on a humbled percussion section, lots of guitar strumming and innocuous lyrics.
Rhymes like “Come so far from Tennessee / to meet my Cuban family” and sentiments like “love transcends geography” from Que Importa are sincere but too plainly stated. And mentions of the Spice Girls and Public Enemy, as good listening, dates the album.
Beautiful voices are the album’s greatest asset. It’s a treat to hear Gladys Knight again. Montell Jordan croons superbly and the husky, smouldering-fire that is Joan Osborne’s voice, backed by stellar horns and a more confident rhythm section, make Just to Be Alone With You a standout track.