Latin Beat Music Update – grupos latinos y su música

Latin Beat Music Update – grupos latinos y su música – TA: latin bands and their music

Nelson Rodriguez

With the ending of another great year in music we always close out with a bang of old and new releases. Let’s quickly get into some of the CDs available at your local record shop.

One of the best Cuban compilations of the year is La Música Cubana Conquista El Mundo on the Eurotropical label via Spain, with hot music by some of today’s leading exponents: Klimax (led by Giraldo Piloto), Manolito y Su Trabuco, Son Damas, Sabrosura Viva, Los Soneros De Camacho and La Charanga Rubalcaba (led by the legendary pianist Guillermo Rubalcaba).

La Charanga Rubalcaba’s CD Por Eso Yo Soy Cubano is one that classical charanga lovers must have in their collection.

In the ’70s and ’80s Orquesta Broadway ruled the charanga scene in New York and could be appreciated every weekend performing with Novel, Charanga 76, Tipica Ideal, Charanga America, Tipica 73, Charanga Casino, Sublime, José Fajardo and many others. Broadway’s recording New York City Salsa is now available on CD and includes the hits No Se Va Poder, Pelencho, Ven A Bailar Son Montuno and Trompeta Y Flauta featuring trumpeter Roberto Rodríguez, of Fania All-Stars fame.

Joseph Portes has aIways put together some slamming merengue CDs and his latest, El Que La Gente Quiere, is no exception. Most of the compositions belong to Portes and Si Tu Supieras by Kike Santander was a big hit by Alejandro Fernández. A must for club fans.

Those of you who know the brother/sister team of Melcochita and Lita Brandon may not know of their solo album recorded in the ’80s titled Con Sabor Bongocero. José Mangual, Jr. led an all-star band to back up the duo on this CD retitled Hermanos De La Salsa. An exceptional reissue.

La Banda Loca is one of Santo Domingo’s hottest merengue acts and now you can enjoy all their hits on one CD. This best of compilation includes the remix of La La La remixed by John “Gungie” Rivera and Baron López. Baron is also La Mega’s midday mix DJ in New York. This CD includes one new cut, Sosa La Boto, featuring rapper Secreto. Secreto was half of the act Sancocho.

Producer Omar Alfanno’s discovery, Son By Four, are now on the Sony label, but the word on this young four-man group is that lead singer Angel is the driving vocalist in the band. How long before he goes solo? Their CD Preparense has been a good vehicle to introduce the band to radio in Puerto Rico and the East Coast.

Fans of Willie Bobo will love the reissue of a 1967 recording, Juicy, featuring La Descarga Del Bobo, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, Shing-A-Ling Baby, Knock On Wood, Roots and four previously unavailable alternate takes. Love the use of original art. Very similar to the Pucho Style of music for those in Europe.

Justo Betancourt has a new CD on the El Paso label titled Mató. The musicians, led by Tito Rivera, include some of Puerto Rico’s best.

One of the hottest vocalists in the East Coast is Frankie Negron with his hit Agua Pasada from the new CD No Me Compares. I also liked what Frankie did with Jon Secada’s Angel.

The old-timers keep popping up with new CDs. Just heard the new Richie Ray CD Mas Duro Que Antes. One again the CD is one of positive images in the lyrics. lt’s great to hear Richie on the ivories as often as possible. During the early ’60s, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz had one of Latin music’s top bands and Richie was the master of the keyboard.

After 15 years of performances in Atlanta, Enrique Mercado and Orquesta Lyrica have finally put a debut CD together, Latino Soy.

Los Titanes, led by Alberto Barros, have changed their sound a bit by adding DLG-like raps, which could be the only drawback to the CD Salsa Al Maximo Voltaje. This CD includes the Homenaje A Hector Lavoe and a pop version of Basto Una Mirada.

One of my favorite bands of the ’60s was La Playa Sextet. West Side Latino has begun to release some of their CDs. In Puerto Rico and Si, Si, La Playa was released at the end of 1964 and features the vocalists Marcelino Guerra and Willie Torres. In Puerto Rico was a tribute to the island with the tracks Asi Es Borinquen, Mi Puerto Rico and Alma Boricua.

La Plata Sextet was a different group that recorded for Seeco. My favorite CD– La Plata Jumps The Charanga.

A Latin jazz classic album, Sabu’s Jazz Espagnole was recorded in 1961 by conga legend Sabu Martínez who was also a whiz on the bongo. This CD featured Louie Ramírez, Marty Sheller and Bobby Porcelli in their younger years.

Israel Kantor has returned with the CD Un Señor Kantor (AME/BMG). We heard Israel last on the Super Cuban All-Star CD produced by J.P. Torres. Israel wrote most of the songs on this CD and the production was handled by Osvaldo Pichaco.

Cuco Valoy is another hot old timer in the East Coast with the hit Bandolera from his CD, En Dos Tiempos. While Bandolera is more like what Cuco did with DLG on Juliana, the CD also includes his classic “son” style of Los Ahijados. Cuco and his brother Martin formed Los Ahijados and recorded pure “son,” which later inspired Cuco’s Los Virtuosos band. A great salsa release by Cuco Valoy.

Descarga Boricua III, Somos Uno, has a couple of previously available tracks including the opener Montañas and the single El Pitorrito. Like in the previous Descarga Boricua CDs the band is a who’s who of the best musicians in Puerto Rico.

The Havana Flute Summit recorded in 1996 at the Egrem Studio in Havana highlighted the flute work of Orlando “Maraca” Valle, Jane Bunnett, Céline Vallé and Richard Egües. Special mention must be made of pianist Hilario Duran. The CD excels on Oscars Descarga, Maracas Tumbao, Expectation and Latin Jane.

What I enjoyed most of the Sergio Vargas/Gisselle CD, Juntos is how they each sing the other’s hits. Loved Ni Tu Ni Yo, Lo Quiero A Morir and Corazón Encadenado.

Caiman Records is ready to release Son Boricua with Jimmy Sabater and José Mangual, Jr. This label is the one from New York formed in 1984 by Humberto Corredor and Sergio Bofill (the “S” in Sar). Son Boricua will be a throw back to the old school of salsa. A refreshing return. Caiman is also reissuing the Louie Ramírez y Su Orquesta with Ray De La Paz CD Mi Fruto.

Henry Rosario, cousin of Los Hermanos Rosario, is hot with his bachata CD of Manny Manuel hits.

Los Toros Band are scorching with the single Quizas Si, Quizas No.

Hechizo is back with a new CD Sin Limite, that is very impressive and much better than the debut. This new CD sounds very inspired and has a better swing. Junior Rodríguez and Luis Rosario are good vocalists.

Ismael Miranda and Andy Montañez team up for a third time on the release Con Amor De Niño. Another gem full of romantic tracks. More vocalists should join up to do such great recordings. Pay tribute to the “trio.” Pete Terrace and his Orchestra’s 1962 recording Baila La Pachanga illustrates the sound created to be different from charanga.

While Rey Ruiz is no longer with Sony Music, his style hasn’t changed as you will be able to tell on his own label’s (Luna Negra) debut Ya Ves Quien Soy distributed by Polygram Latino. The CD is still mostly salsa on the sensual tip but I enjoyed his version of A Mi Manera, Desde Mi Balcon, La Ley De Dios and Yo La Amaba Y La Amaba. Rey Ruiz fans will love it.

Tres Equis is one of today’s hippest acts and the new CD is the proof. Check out the opening cut La Gozadera that should be a hit for any bachata with a tip of funk fan. Tres Equis rocks on Back 2 The Beat, Every Body Salsa, Aguacero and El Vacilon.

La Banda Gorda still rules when it comes to fast club merengue music. The new CD, Calienta Esto, picks up where the last one left off. The opening track Pa Los Que Me Tiran is a huge hit in the East. Once again José Peña Suazo composed and arranged all the tracks.

Los Del Caney is a Colombian band formed in 1983 that has been representing the “son” for years. Their albums have been great but they are even better on CD. Repicando El Son includes the classics originally done by Matamoros, Nico Saquito, Arsenio Rodríguez and Antonio María Romen.

The new Victor Roque y La Gran Manzana was produced by Bonny Cepeda on the Eden label. The CD has some great cuts on it.

Sony is releasing Tarjeta De Navídad II with Christmas music by Grupomania, Ashley, Elvis Crespo, Victor Manuelle, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Son By Four, Danny Rivera, DLG, Milly Quezada, and more.

The New Swing Sextet of the ’70s is making a comeback as is Joe Bataan, Nelson González, El Gran Combo, Lebron Brothers and Larry Harlow’s tribute to today’s pop ballads with Noche Caliente III.

Cubop will be releasing music by trombonist Papo Vásquez and Francisco Aguabella.

Love the Latin jazz sound of the Seattle band Sonando produced by Fred Hoadley and titled La Rumba Esta Buena.

Salsero Dominic has a smoking CD with the hits Soy Tuyo, Niegalo Todo and the club hit, Que Suenen Los Cueros.

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