Released 1971; Reissued; 2006
[Originally released as Brujeria by Mark Dimond (Vaya V/S –2) in 1971; reissued in 1977 as Mas Sabor by Angel Canales, finally re-reissued with it's original title in 2006]
I've never made it a secret on Descarga.com that I am a considerable admirer of the inventive African American pianist, arranger and composer Mark "Markolino" Dimond and arch vocal stylist Angel Canales. Despite appearances this was Dimond's debut as a leader initially issued in 1971 under the title Brujeria on the Vaya label. It seems very likely that the album was repackaged as Mas Sabor under Canales' name to cash in on his popularity at the time. Ray Rosado, co-leader of Maña, believes that the release of Mas Sabor was disrespectful to both Dimond and Canales. Apart from Markolino's composer credits - he wrote all seven tunes - the reissue deleted the original personnel credits and liner notes, but I will make some amends here. Billed as Markolino y su Sabor, the musicians were Canales, trombonists Ricardo "Richie" Montañez and John "Fudgy" Torres, Antonio Tapia on conga and bongo player Louie Rivera (these five became the core of Angel's band into the '80s); plus Danny Reyes, trumpet; Eddie "Gua Gua" Rivera and Andy González, bass; Ismael Quintana and Justo Betancourt, coro. Larry Harry and Johnny Pacheco were the co-producers and co-recording directors and Harvey Averne was the executive producer.
Larry wrote in the liner notes to Brujeria: "I first heard Mark 'Markolino' Dimond play three years ago with a new band called Willie Colón y su Orchestra. At that time I thought, 'One day he will have a band of his own.' That day has come. Conjunto Sabor is Mark's band. He has written all the music, lyrics and arrangements for this album. It is all Mark Dimond. His piano playing, a cross between typical Cuban and progressive jazz, is superb. He has chosen Angel Canales for his singer. Although it is Angel's first recording, you would have to look very far to top his performance."
According to George F. Haskins, who played piano with the Ray Rodríguez orchestra and was a friend of Mark: "Mark was a super talented and creative soloist. In the late sixties he was in Willie Colón's band (when he worked on Willie's albums The Hustler c '68 and Guisando - Doing A Job c '69 on Fania) and I was with Ray Rodríguez. Richie Bonilla managed both bands so we were often on the same bill. Both Mark and I were Eddie Palmieri devotees and Willie's band tried hard in those early days to capture Eddie's magic. Smaller, trombone-oriented groups were perfect for the style of playing we aspired to, so Mark was in a good situation with Willie's band. But later, Sabor was a much better showcase for Mark's playing. He was dynamite and could really create a groove in a live setting. Unfortunately drug use got in the way and he started showing up late or not at all for gigs. Sabor got fed up and left him. I still have Brujeria on LP and it's still a killer recording. When I think of Mark I can't help but think how devastating drugs have been to some of our most creative people. He never reached his peak. We never heard the best of Mark Dimond. After a while he disappeared until it filtered back to us about his death. Sadly, the truth is, spiritually, he died before he left New York."
John Torres directed the band on the next album, Sabor '75 on Alegre, on which they were described as "Sabor con Angel Canales". Angel took top billing on 1976's Angel Canales & Sabor on TR and dropped the name "Sabor" thereafter. Meanwhile, Mark only released two more records, Beethoven's V on Cotique in 1975 (regarded by the Venezuelan salsa music authority César Miguel Rondon as one of the best salsa albums) and the disappointing rock / R&B project The Alexander Review (1975 on Vaya), and sessioned on Ismael Quintana '74 on Vaya, Héctor Lavoe's La Voz '75 on Fania and Andy Harlow's Latin Fever '76 on Vaya, before he dropped out of the recording scene. He reemerged in 1988 on Andy and Larry Harlow's Salsa Brothers: The Miami Sessions on Songo Records and died about six months after the recording.
It is an understatement to say Brujeria / Mas Sabor is Highly Recommended; it is absolutely essential!! (John Child, 2004-10-22)
Song titles include:
Mi Irmita 5:23
Tiene Sabor 5:20
Yo No Tengo Pena 6:04
El Barrio 5:44
=> Salsa: Classic 1960s Or 1970s New York