Column: Editor's Picks
by Bruce Polin
I would like to thank George De Stefano for his double contribution this month. Not only did he give us an informative, and right on the money, cover review of Africando's Tierra Tradicional, but he also was able to knock out a review of the Fania All Stars performance at Madison Square Garden last month. George, your descriptions are so vivid, I feel just like I was there with you at the show. Wait a minute...I was there! Hey George, you forgot to mention the unbelievable dancing that was going on on stage. Bongocero Roberto Roena, his uncle Anibal Vazques, and Sonya Cortes did some unforgettable hip grinding. Anibal, who's rumored to be somewhere around 70 years old looked like he was at least twenty years younger. A close source told me that Sonya Cortes, who I saw for the first time that night, was in her forties. I still don't believe it. She's living inside a twenty year-old. I guess it's the dancing, it's a preservative, or something. Anyway, the three of them danced perfectly and made the complex seem easy. And another thing they didn't resort to glitzy, Las Vegas style, acrobatics. Very classy stuff here. Watching them was pure pleasure. Bravo.
Anyway, if you missed the show, don't fret. My crystal ball tells me that Fania & RMM will be the proud parents of a video. But don't hold your breath. The gestation period for new videos seems to be painfully long these days.
Now listen carefully. My crystal ball also tells me you are going to get out your credit cards and buy the following: All of the Bronco reissues of Bobby Valentin beginning with Va A La Cárcel, Volumes 1 and 2 (TL-13187.10 & TL-13188.10). This is classic salsa recorded live at the State Penitentiary of Puerto Rico. Guests include Barry Rogers and Tony Sanchez. Don't forget Afuera (TL-13296.10) and Musical Seduction (TL-13186.10). Somebody told me that Afuera is salsa the way God intended it to be. I can't verify this, however.
Speaking of penitentiaries, Eddie Palmieri's Live At Sing Sing Vol 1 (TL-13306.10) has been reissued on CD. (Vol 2 has been out for some time). Eddie's highly acclaimed new release entitled Palmas (TL-13285.10) is in stock.
There is a José Mangual Jr. CD called Mis Mejores Exitos (TL-13282.10) which lives up to its name. Mangual's Tribute To Chano Pozo (TL-12237.10) is available, but distribution is uncertain, so quantities are very limited. Speaking of limited quantities, Lucho music, the label for Nueva Manteca in Europe, is reported be in Chapter 11. Their latest release, the Porgy & Bess Suite is currently unavailable. We hope our friends at Lucho get through this and are back in action soon.
We have a new Papines CD entitled Tambores Cubanos (TL-13210.10). They are going fast and re-orders for Cuban material remain unpredictable.
We also have Qbadisc's latest release, the last recording of Emiliano Salvador. It's called Ayer Y Hoy (TL-13286.10) and it should be an important release for you Latin jazz collectors. It was recorded in 1992 just before he died at the age of 41.
GNP has put out The Best of Rene Touzet (TL-13251.10), tasty mambos and pachangas including "Mambo Inn," "Andalucia," and "Siboney." Over 70 minutes with great sound.
By the time you read this we should have two additional Los Muñequitos de Matanzas CDs in stock. Oyelos De Nuevo from 1970 (TL-13445.10) and Congo Yambumba from 1983 (TL-13329.10), both on the Qbadisc label.
Jerry Gonzales & The Fort Apache Band as well as Manny Oquendo Y Libre have both recently signed with Fantasy. Expect new releases from these two bands this year.
I'm outta here Bruce