Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bryan Vargas Y Ya Esta! - 7.17.09



(Ya Esta! - Photo Credit: yaestamusica)

BRYAN VARGAS & YA ESTA
Featuring: Jorge Vazquez – percussion, Niko Laboy - percussion,
Itaiguara Brandao - bass, Matt Baranello- trap drums & Bryan Vargas -
guitarras y gritos

Fri July 17th
Camaradas, el Barrio
2241 1st Ave; corner of 115th St., NYC
2 sets starting at 10 PM
www.camaradaselbarrio.com
www.myspace.com/camaradaselbarrio
212/348-2703 $5 cover
6 Train to 116th St

Just a reminder folks that we will be performing tomorrow night at our
favorite New York venue, Camaradas, el Barrio.

This is our first show in six months, and we are dying to play! We will
be doing a special surprise tribute to Michael Jackson during the second
set, so please come out for that, you don't want to miss this one
time only event.

Plus we just announced that the amazing percussionist Niko Laboy
(Yerbabuena, Ilue Aye, Caja Dura) will be joining us. Niko's toured
with us in Canada and has done a bunch of shows with us here in the
city. I'm always excited when he drops by to play.

So mark your calendars, invite your friends, and make sure you're
there tomorrow night. This will be an evening you'll never forget!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Orquesta Gardel



(Orquesta Gardel, Video Credit: Sylvia Pfeiffenberger)


I am really not a timba fan at all, truth be told. Maybe I'm just not ready for it, but I must say the treatment that Gardel is giving on the above tune is nice and juicy. Out of all the bands in the NC area (and there isn't much), Orquesta Gardel is the standout in terms of energy, precision, and dedication. These guys practice tirelessly, and travel extensively in efforts to bring the people some real quality funk .

As far as the personnel:

Lead Voz: Nelson Delgado
Segunda Voz/Coro/Maracas: Jaime Roman
Keys: Eric Hirsch
Bass: Peter Kimosh
Timbs: Brevan Hampden
Tumbadoras: Jose Sanchez
Bongo y Campana: Ramon Ortiz
Trumpet: Alberto Carrasquillo
Trumpet: Al Strong
Sax, Flute: Tim Smith, Wayne Leechford
Trombone: Andy Kleindienst

(Sylvia at Onda Carolina put out the video first, and you can see it in it's original post here)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Puente Tribute Vid 7 feat. Eddie Palmieri.....

This is the last of the series of videos in which Tito's orchestra pays tribute to the late great Puente. Eddie and Tito had recorded a CD together in which the tune Picadillo was featured. Here Eddie recreates some of those moments with the orchestra as several members such as Mario Rivera, John Walsh, Ray Vega and Bernie Minoso are given solo spots to show their stuff. Eddie also takes a rare timbal solo to cap the evening.

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Puente Tribute Vid 6

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Puente Tribute Vid 4

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Puente Tribute Vid 3 9/20/00

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Puente Tribute...Vid 2

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Tremendo Rumbon.....

On Sept. 20th, 2000...the Tito Puente Orchestra paid tribute to their leader and inspiration Maestro Tito Puente at the South Street Seaport. The seaport has been no stranger to some fantastic music over the years and this day was no different; in fact it was exceptional. Tito had passed away not long before this concert and the band members, arguably one of the best ensembles of Latin musicians ever assembled, came to play. The addition of Arturo Sandoval and Eddie Palmieri on select tunes just pushed the music over the top. Alfie Alvarado's footage is great and I've decided to put up as many as eight videos from the concert. This is the first and will give you an idea of the quality of music you can expect from the rest. Que Viva La Musica, Que Viva Tito Puente!

Tito Puente Orch. @ South St. Seaport 9/20/00

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Memoriam: Manny Oquendo

Manny Oquendo, Latin Band Leader and Stylistic Innovator, Dies at 78



(Photo Credit: Jack Vartoogian/Front Row Photos)

From the NYTimes

Published: April 12, 2009

Manny Oquendo, the Latin band leader, timbale player and percussionist who was an expert with the típico Cuban rhythmic style and later infused it into Latin jazz, died on March 25 in the Bronx. He was 78.

The cause was complications from a kidney operation, said Andy González, his musical director of 35 years in their band, Libre.

Mr. Oquendo’s involvement with Cuban rhythms on the timbales and bongos dated back to his childhood. Born in 1931 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to parents from Puerto Rico, Jose Manuel Oquendo spent most of his formative years in Spanish Harlem, where he lived above Almacénes Hernández, the area’s early famed Latin record store, and later on Kelly Street in the Bronx. Also nearby on Kelly Street were Arsenio Rodríguez, the celebrated master of the tres, the Cuban guitarlike instrument, and future music stars like Joe Cuba, the Palmieri Brothers and Little Ray Romero.

Mr. Oquendo began playing a trap drum set at 15 and later took lessons, alongside the future jazz drummer Max Roach, from Sam Ulano, a well-known teacher.

By the late 1940s, he was playing with New York’s top bands along with Chano Pozo and Juan Torres, known as El Boy. When Mr. Oquendo joined Tito Puente’s orchestra as a bongo player he often used his sartorial and musical talents to attract the attention of the surging seas of dancers in places like the Palladium ballroom. In 1962, he joined Eddie Palmieri’s seminal band, La Perfecta, which challenged the big band scene with a smaller, conjunto lineup that called for fewer players and more improvisation.

Those familiar with the traditional dance hall rhythms of Cuban mambos, guarachas and rumbas could see that Mr. Oquendo’s approach to his instruments was intentionally understated.

“First of all, you shouldn’t overplay,” Mr. Oquendo said in an 1997 interview with Latin Beat magazine.

“The timbales are for providing accompaniment, backup for the group; and a good timbalero must have a strong left hand to play the tumbao and pailas or cascara,” he said, referring to different rhythmic patterns in a measure. “The timbalero must always keep the beat.”

While playing in La Perfecta, where he met Mr. González, his future musical director and a bassist, Mr. Oquendo picked up and adapted the complex carnival rhythm called Mozambique, made popular in Cuba by Pello El Afrokán, and reworked it for the timbales, introducing a hypnotic African beat to the dance halls of New York. In 1974, he and Mr. González began Libre, creating a sound outside traditional parameters.

Libre has released 12 albums, including the popular “Mejor que Nunca. ”

In a review of a 1983 concert in The New York Times, Jon Pareles called Libre a traditionalist band with infusions of modal Afro-Cuban jazz that made it progressive.

“But when Libre charges into its arrangements, which unite three trombones, Dave Valentin’s nimbly assertive flute, two singers and a sizzling rhythm section,” Mr. Pareles wrote, “those categories are lost in the beat.”

In his 1997 interview with Latin Beat, Mr. Oquendo said: “It’s important to develop the ear and get a deeper knowledge of the music, and once you become good at the instrument, you must always remember to try to be original, be yourself. You can borrow, you can take, you can even steal, but you do not imitate.”

Among Mr. Oquendo’s survivors are two sisters, Jean Vega and Lydia Crespo.

Mr. González said Libre would continue and said he was planning a tribute concert on May 30 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts for Mr. Oquendo, who played with the band until January.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Ukranian Plena?


Being of Ukranian parentage (with a little Finnish thrown in) I am of course curious as to what inroads Afro Caribbean culture has made into the land of my ancestors. It was on this search that I found Los Dislocados, a Ukranian band that plays not only Latin dance music, but apparently Plena as well. Any question as to how powerful this musical form is can be put to rest forever.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ricardo Lemvo, Pottery Barn, NYC 12/4/00

Ricardo Lemvo, Angola born of Congolese parentage fell in love with the Son sound of proponents such as Pacheco. This led him to form his own band here in the USA where he had come to study. Called La Makina Loca, the band has recorded 5 CDs over the last ten years and tours regularly all over the world. These videos were shot by Alfie Alvarado.

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Ricardo Lemvo 12/04/00

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

From the Archives of Alfie Alvarado....

It was one of those beautiful days in NY, June 23, 2000. Los Jovenes Del Barrio were in the house and Alfie was there to capture their performance. Los Jovenes burst onto the scene with their great new "contemporary Charanga" sound and took NY by storm. Here we have them playing several numbers for your listening pleasure.

Jovenes Del Barrio, Bryant Park NYC, 6/23/00

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Jovenes Del Barrio, Bryant Park NYC, 6/23/00

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Jovenes Del Barrio, Bryant Park NYC, 6/23/00

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Jovenes Del Barrio...Bryant Park NYC 6/23/00


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Friday, April 3, 2009

A Glimpse Into A Glorious Past......


Ever since I became involved in this music, I have been regaled by the old timers with tales of the one and only Palladium Ballroom. The Palladium was the undisputed palace of Latin Music in it's heyday. This photo shows the Charlie Palmieri Charanga Duboney in a publicity shot. What is even rarer is the fact that each member of the band is named.

The Roots Of Latin Jazz....


Check this photo out...does it get any better. Candido, Dizzy and Charlie gracing the same stage. What I wouldn't give for a time machine!

Pure Swing......


I was turned on to Cortijo and Ismaelo by good friend and teacher Chano Rodriguez. Playing in the shadows of a Jim Crow world, Cortijo Y Su Combo challenged the color line in Puerto Rico with talent that could not be denied.

A Latin Music Summit.....


This rare photo depicts the Giants who shaped the music we have come to love. Can you name them all?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Back with a BANG @ Birdland

On August 27th 2003, some of NYs finest talent came together to celebrate the 80th birthday of the legendary Graciela. I kept the introductions in because each one of these performers deserves to have their names mentioned aloud and not just written. After an Arturo O'Farrill solo of his father's beautiful "Puro Emotion" the band swings into action. Despite a rough beginning (this was a vente tu jam in Graciela's honor...no rehearsals) the soloing on the classic Mambo Inn that ensued was worth the price of a ticket. One of the great things was that the stage was graced with some young lions and "La Vieja Guardia" like Mike Collazo on timbales. Check out the percussion discussion where the band trades fours. Mike Collazo is playing those serious "Manteca Gorda" licks as my boy Max Garduno would call them.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Joe Cuba and the sound track of my life


Ralph's anecdote of the importance of Joe's music in his development inspired me to share my own experience as well. I remember clearly the first two Latin albums I purchased. The first was an Alegre All Star album and the second was "Bailadores" by the Joe Cuba Sextet. It is the album I learned how to dance off of. I bought them at the famous Casa Alegre which was several blocks from Macy Place where my squeeze and dance teacher Maria lived at the time. Being seen in possession of a Joe Cuba album meant that you were hip, in the know as far as the music was concerned so I made sure I was seen carrying it around back and forth to Maria's house.

Joe Cuba 1931-2009

It is with great sadness, that I share with you the passing of one of the greats, Joe Cuba. Over the weekend, I had heard that Joe Cuba had passed and wanted to get a proper obit before I shared the news. I talked to Willie over the phone about it and he mentioned that Aurora Flores (ZBD) was working on one at the request of the family, and she posted it to the Latin Jazz E Group (see below). Before we get to the Aurora's words I'd like to share a little of my experience with Joe.

I was barely 20 and it was still a couple of years till I would get heavily into classic "Salsa" and Afro Cuban roots music. I was heavily into the rap music of our day (i.e., Gangstarr, A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def, Common, Black Moon) which I felt at that time was starting to loose steam. I used this lack of inspiration to dig deeper into the roots of the music that I loved for so long, and it was there that I discovered artists such as Marvin Gaye, The Jazz Messengers, James Brown, Jon Lucien, Fela Kuti, Miles Davis, Osibisa, Willie Bobo, Roy Ayers, The Mohawks, Jimmy Castor, Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente, Stevie Wonder, etc... While it may have seemed that I was starting to regress, it was in the music of late 60's, 70's, early 80's that I found the motivation to collect as much information as I could in as little time as I could, but it wasn't until I saw Spike Lee's "Crooklyn, that I my quest would take a resounding turn.

It was the scene in which the young protaganist, "Troy" walks into the Bed Stuy bodega to steal some snacks with her friend, that you can hear Joe Cuba's, "I'll Never Go Back to Georgia", in the background. It was right there that I must have rewinded the movie 3 or 4 times, because I couldn't get enough of the music. That was it, out of all the musical forms that I had listened to previously, it was Joe Cuba which propelled me the furthest. It is safe to say, that If I had never heard "I'll Never Go Back to Georgia", I would not only not be writing this anecdote right now, but I just as readily say that this blog would not exist as well. I don't know if Joe knew the amount of influence that he had on the people that grew up on, or heard his music, but I for one am very grateful to the man for his contribution...

Joe Cuba: The Father of New York Boogaloo has passed

By Aurora Flores

The "Father of Boogaloo," Joe Cuba, passed away on Sunday, February
15, 2009 at 4 p.m. at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. He was the most
popular exponent of the boogaloo, a fused Latino and R&B rhythm that
exploded onto the American top 40s charts during the turbulent 1960s &
`70s. Hits such as "Bang Bang," "Push Push," "El Pito," "Ariñañara,"
and "Sock It To Me Baby," rocked the hit parades establishing Joe Cuba
and his Sextet as the definitive sound of Latin New York during the
`60s & `70s. The Joe Cuba Sextet's unusual instrumentation featured
vibraphones replacing the traditional brass sound. His music was at
the forefront of the Nuyroican movement of New York where the children
of Puerto Rican emigrants, America's last citizens, took music,
culture, arts and politics into their own hands.

Joe Cuba's Sextet became popular in the New York Latino community
precisely because it fused a bilingual mix of Afro-Caribbean genres
blended with the popular urban rhythm & blues of its time creating a
musical marriage between the Fania and Motown sound. His was the first
musical introduction to Latin rhythms for many American aficionados.
The lyrics to Cuba's repertoire mixed Spanish and English, becoming an
important part of the emerging Nuyorican identity.

"Joe Cuba's music validated the developing Nuyorican population whose
language and music Cuba captured with his sound," underlines Giora
Breil, CEO of Emusica, the company that now owns the Fania label and
who has remastered many of the classics to a new generation of music
lovers. "He led the urban tribe," pointed Breil, "into a united front
of cultural warriors that were defining the social and political times
they lived in."

Longtime manager and promoter Hector Maisonave recalls Cuba as "an
innovator who crossed over into mainstream music at an early time. He
was the soul of El Barrio. After Joe Cuba, El Barrio is just a street
that crosses an avenue."

In 1962, Cuba recorded "To Be With You" with the vocals of Cheo
Feliciano and Jimmy Sabater whose careers he spotlighted after the
bands introductory appearance at the Stardust Ballroom prior to its
summer stint in the Catskills.

Born in 1931 in the heart of Spanish Harlem, his Puerto Rican parents
arrived in New York City in the 20s. Christened "Gilberto Miguel
Calderón," Cuba was a "doo wopper" who played for J. Panama in 1950
when he was a young 19 year old before going on to play for La
Alfarona X, where the young "congüerro/" percussionist replaced Sabu
Martinez tapped to play with Xavier Cugat.

By 1965, the Sextet got their first crossover hit with the Latino and
soul fusion of "El Pito" (I Never Go Back To Georgia), a tune Cuba
recorded against the advice of the producer later to be "broken" by a
DJ over WBLS FM in N.Y.. The Dizzy Gillespie "Never Go Back To
Georgia" chant was taken from the intro to the seminal Afro-Cuban
tune, "Manteca." Vocalist Jimmy Sabater later revealed that "none of
us had ever been to Georgia." In fact, Cuba later comically described
a conversation he had with the Governor of Georgia who called him
demanding why he would record a song whose chorus negatively derided
the still segregated Southern town. The quick thinking Joe Cuba
replied, "Georgia is the name of my girl."

In 1967, Joe Cuba's band --–with no horns– scored a "hit" in the
United States National Hit Parade List with the song "Bang Bang" - a
tune that ushered in the Latin Boogaloo era. He also had a #1 hit,
that year on the Billboard charts with the song "Sock It To Me Baby."
The band's instrumentation included congas, timbales, an occasional
bongo, bass, piano and vibraphone. "A bastard sound," is what Cuba
called it pointing to the fans, the people, as the true creators of
this music. "You don't go into a rehearsal and say `Hey, let's invent
a new sound, or dance.' They happen. The boogaloo came out of left
field. " Joe Cuba recounts in Mary Kent's book:" Salsa Talks: A
Musical History Uncovered. "It's the public that creates new dances
and different things. The audience invents, the audience relates to
what you are doing and then puts their thing into what you are
playing," pointing to other artists such as Ricardo Ray or Hector
Rivera as pioneers of the urban fused rhythm.

"I met Joe up in the Catskills in 1955," recalls nine time Grammy
Award winner Eddie Palmieri. "When I later started La Perfecta,"
Palmieri muses, "we alternated on stages with Joe. He was full of life
and had a great sense of humor, always laughing at his own jokes,"
chuckles the pianist. Palmieri pointed to Cuba's many musical
contributions underlining the power and popularity of his small band
and bilingual lyrics while providing a springboard for the harmonies
and careers of Cheo Feliciano, Willie Torres and Jimmy Sabater. "He
was Spanish Harlem personified," describes Palmieri recalling the
"take no prisoners" attitude Cuba had when it came to dealing with
those who reluctantly paid the musicians. Recalling their early
recording days with the infamous Morris Levy, Palmieri cites the
antics of Joe Cuba, Ismael Rivera and himself as the reason for Levy
selling them as a Tico package to Fania label owner, Jerry Masucci.

Funny, irreverent and with a great humor for practical jokes, Joe
Cuba, or Sonny as he was called by his closest friends, was raised in
East Harlem. Stickball being the main sport for young boys of the
neighborhood, Cuba's father organized a stickball club called the
Devils. After Cuba broke a leg, he took up playing the conga and
continued to practice between school and his free time. Eventually, he
graduated from high school and joined a band.

"He was not afraid to experiment," said David Fernandez, arranger &
musical director of Zon del Barrio who played with the legendary Cuba
when he arrived in New York in 2002.

By 1954, at the suggestion of his agent to change the band's name from
the Jose Calderon Sextet to the Joe Cuba Sextet, the newly named Joe
Cuba Sextet made their debut at the Stardust Ballroom. Charlie
Palmieri was musical director of the sextet before his untimely 1988
death from a heart attack.

Since then, the Joe Cuba Sextet and band has been a staple of concerts
and festivals that unite both Latinos, African-Americans and just
plain music lovers in venues all over the world.

In 2003, the following CDs were released:

* "Joe Cuba Sextet Vol I: Mardi Gras Music for Dancing"
* "Merengue Loco" and
* "Out of This World Cha Cha".

In 2004, Joe Cuba was named Grand Marshall of the Puerto Rican Day
Parade celebrated in Yonkers, New York. Musician Willie Villegas who
traveled with Joe for the past 15 years said, "It didn't matter where
we played around the world Joe would always turn to me and say, To My
Barrio…. With Love! " Joe Cuba is survived by his wife Maria Calderon,
sons Mitchell and Cesar, daughter Lisa, and grandchildren Nicole and
Alexis.

Condolences can be sent directly to Joe Cuba's widow: Maria Calderon @
mariacuba1@....

More information on Joe Cuba's viewing will be forthcoming within the
next few days.

###



(Joe Cuba Sextet - "Bang, Bang", Video Credit: chinorm)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bobby Sanabria and Max Pollack @ the New School

Bobby Sanabria has to be Afro Caribbean musics equivalent of James Brown. He has got to be one of the hardest working men in show business. Not only does he teach full orchestra in both the prestigious New School for Social Research and the Manhattan School of Music, he has Ascension and Quarteto Ache happening as well. This is supplemented with guest appearances and lectures on our music which take him all over the world. All this from a kid out of the South Bronx! Here we see the New School student orchestra in action with the extra added attraction of Max Pollack, tap dancer extraordinaire. Max has embarked upon merging African American and Afro Cuban forms of musical expression and the results are thrilling to say the least. Check this out.....

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Meeting of the Masters @ Triad in NYC

Richie "Rumbero" Blondet, producer, writer, documentarian and all around music lover put together this Latin Summit of talent. I strayed from my usual format by letting you in on the arrival and banter among the participants prior to the performance. Louis Lafitte from Latin Beat magazine MCed the event. He does the honors of introducing all the usual suspects. You will also catch a glimpse of Alfie Alvarado, trusty camcorder in hand. There are two videos from the event.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Workshop @ the Drummer's Collective 11/15/01

These three tunes are excerpts from a workshop conducted by flautist Andrea Brachfeld at the Drummer's Collective in NYC. Andrea made her reputation playing with bands such as Charanga 76, one of the better NY style Charanga bands to emerge in that decade. The band features Ruben Rodriguez on bass, Memo Acevedo on tims, John Berdeguer on congas and Bob Quaranta on piano. I believe the drummer is Kim (?) but I'm not sure.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

David Santiago's Latin Affair Orchestra on the road

Here we present one of the Latin Affairs early gigs performed in a beautiful catering hall somewhere in Virginia. The performance took place on 3/3/01. David is seen singing coro and playing guiro. The Conga chair is occupied by yours truly.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pasion @ Wagner Park, NYC 8/12/97

Two veteran musicians from the New York scene, Connie Grossman (flute) and Betsy Hill (violin) joined forces to create their great Charanga band, Pasion. Meant to be an all women band, they were still in search of a woman bassist, timbalera and guiro player at the time. Helping them are Guillermo Edgehill, Willie Martinez and Danny Gonzalez (from Orch. B'way) respectively. You will see Wendy Ryan on piano and Debra Resto singing lead on one tune. My deepest apologies to the other ladies whose names I do not remember. More about Pasion can be found at salsacentro.com under a by-line from Eileen Torres.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Brass Convention Tribute to Chocolate

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Brass Convention Tribute to Chocolate

Ray Vega conducted his Suny Purchase student orchestra at the annual Brass Convention (date ?) in a tribute to Chocolate Armenteros, trumpet player extraordinaire. Also appearing as guests were Bobby Porcelli and Manny Duran. Playing tunes by Machito gave these GIANTS a chance to show their stuff and inspire some respect from the youngsters in attendance. Chocolate had just turned 75 at this point and was really enjoying himself as were all. Check out this rendition of the classic Almendra. Chocolate blows that Cuban funk that made him a household name.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hector Casanova and Herman Olivera @ Wagner Park 9/12/00

The great thing about this band, which has a serious groove happening, is that they are ready for either Charanga or Conjunto style music. Among the players are Willie Rodriguez on piano, Hector Zervignon on flute and Luis Rodriguez on cuartro.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tite Curet Alonso Recording

I received an email from Aurora Flores about a "tribute" to the late Tite Curet Alonso, that is being released today.

check out Aurora's site for the liner notes:

http://www.zondelbarrio.com/Press.php

More info on Tite Curet Alonso:

http://www.herencialatina.com/Cachao/Canciones_Tite/Cancionero_Tite.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tite_Curet_Alonso

http://www.herencialatina.com/Mon_Rivera_2/Entrevista_Tite.htm

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Mambo Combo rides again 7/5/01

Wendy Ryan's Mambo Combo is featured once again with the great Jimmy Sabater on the lead vocal. Please click on their name in the index for more videos of this group and personnel information.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Latin Jazz Alliance, Dyckman Farm House, 9/30/99

The Latin Jazz Alliance has assumed several different incarnations over the 15 years of its existence. This particular combination includes Victor Venegas on bass, Igor Atalita on keys, Steve Glusban on trumpet, Victor Montanez on tims and yours truly on congas. Alfie Alvarado video taped the performance for us.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

First of the New Year...Tambo reunion 1/27/98

Here is a another great jam from Tambo at their reunion gig at the Knitting Factory in NYC. Tambo featured some of the best known Latin musicians, among them...Johnny Almendra, Mitch Frohman, Ray Vega and Luisito Ayala to name several. This particular tune features a guest appearance by Jimmy Bosch, trombonist extraordinaire.

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Friday, January 2, 2009

A Couple of Thoughts...

So ends another year...and without missing a step a new one is afoot and already a day old. As you may have noticed Willie and I have been pretty occupied with end of year rituals and have not posted to the blog as usual as we would like. We will be posting full force soon though. For all you regulars I just want to say thanks for a good year (although we just started in August 08') and hope to see much more of you in 09'. For all the newbies, I hope you find this blog just as entertaining as it is informational. Willie and I have always subscribed to the motto, "Less is more", and although we do post alot, it is rarely ever fluff. If it ever turns into such a blog, than rest assured it will not last for too much longer. I'd like to personally thank Willie, whom without the blog wouldn't have lasted more than a month, Alfie Alvarado (AAA) whose drive and willingness to share has been an inspiration in and of itself, and of course Felix Sanabria, for his openness and willingness in sharing his time, home and information. Much more to come in '09.

Thanks to all...

Geordie
Eddie Bobe
Tony S
Oseiku
Ilu Aye
Barry Cox
Susan Sanabria
Max
Conor
JC
all others who have contributed in some form or fashion...