AmeriCuba Havana Maestros Sounds Worldwide/ Warner AmeriCuba is an adventurous new project that aims to put a Cuban spin on American hits of yesteryear while retaining the integrity of the original vocal recordings. Although possibly unique, the Havana Maestros’ album has an uneven and disjointed feel. To accentuate the positive, 1960s soul classics fare best in this salsa-fication process. The sublime singing of Ben E. King on Stand By Me and Otis Redding on (Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay — songs covered by John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Peggy Lee and Willie Nelson — sounds surprisingly congruent surrounded by the brass, piano, strings and percussion of three generations of celebrated Cuban jazz musicians. Grammy Award-winning producers the Berman Brothers even create a compatible pathway for Redding’s familiar whistled segment. Dionne Warwick’s mega-hit I Say a Little Prayer has been Latinised before (by Sergio Mendes) but probably not as effectively as it is here. Conversely, a slow and schmaltzy big-band take of Frank Sinatra’s My Way, in Spanish, is greatly inferior to the 80s rumbainculcated rendition by the Gipsy Kings. Other more recently released songs are similarly offkilter — with the notable exception of Tightrope, on which the Maestros enhance the snap, crackle and pop of Janelle Monae’s 2010 neosoul release. Rock band Sugar Ray’s 1997 hit Fly and Missy Elliott’s 2001 hit Get Ur Freak On sounded better in their original bhangra and reggae fusion settings. Left to their own devices, on a largely instrumental son number, Ritmo Cubano, and the cha-cha cadenced Ven, the Maestros sound like the ultra-classy Cuban band suggested by their moniker.