Column: Editor's Picks
by Bruce Polin
Summer in New York. With this issue we introduce a new feature called Voices from Cyberspace. This feature consists of short reviews of new releases that have been forwarded to us via the Internet's newsgroup rec.music.afro-latin. We expect this feature to grow rapidly and become a strong facet of this newsletter.
Bobby Valentin's Bronco label has been very active in reissuing their back catalog of important titles. The first two come from salsa great Willie Rosario with Viva Rosario (TL-15125.10) and The Salsa Legend (TL-15105.10). The charanga sound of Orquesta La Criolla is now available on the CD entitled Dos (TL-15049.10). A kickin' salsa release from Luis Ayala's Puerto Rican Power (TL-15121.10) was made on Bronco before their Musical Productions affiliation. Finally on Bronco is the release of El Sabor De Nacho Sanabria (TL-15122.10).
Don Gonzalo Fernandez Presenta Miguel Quintana (TL-15103.10) is a terrific release in the tradition of Arsenio Rodriguez, Chapottin etc. This New York sonero has an all star band on this release. Get it.
Tito Puente's Live At Grossingers (TL-15138.10) captures the feel of this classic 1950s Catskill resort performance. With Ray Barretto on congas.
One of my favorite soneros, Melcochita, has a new release called Mi Son Sabroson (TL-14990.10). He answers his big hit "Madre" with "Solo Mi Padre."
The great pianist Alfredo Rodriguez's Monsieur Oh La La (TL-15063.10) is now on CD. Andy Gonzalez, Frankie Malabe, Artie Webb, Jimmy Sabater and many others join him here.
Bata Ketu (TL-15071.10) is a new recording fusing the best of Brazilian and Afro-Cuban rhythms. It features Bobi Cespedes on vocals.
Bebo Valdes fans will be delighted to listen to Descarga Caliente (TL-15022.10). This jazzy smoker has over one hour of Bebo bliss from the 1950s.
De Alla Pa' Ca (TL-15070.10) is the follow up to the successful De Aqui Pa'lla. If you recall, De Aqui P'alla was an all star Puerto Rican group paying homage to Cuban songs and musicians. Well, this new release takes place in Cuba and has Cuba's best musicians tipping their hats to Puerto Rico. An interesting concept. Rumor has it that they are trying to market these two CDs as a 2-CD set. So, if you already purchased the first one, you had better get your orders in for the second one right now before you're forced to pay for the double set.
I've never been terribly enthused about salsa in English. However, one particular artist, David Cedeño, seems to have done it right. David is a New Jersey based trumpet player and leader whose band is as finely tuned as a Swiss watch. Check out Putting On The Hits (TL-15109.10) with Tito Nieves and Jose "El Canario" Alberto on coro - it's great dance record.
Paulito Y Su Elite's Sofocandote (TL-15030.10) is here from Cuba and is selling fast.
Dark Latin Groove (TL-15037.10) is getting considerable airplay and attention for their brand of hip-hop/salsa. (Reviewed in this issue)
A trio of early Eddie Palmieri y La Perfecta recordings are now on CD. They are La Perfecta (TL-15018.10), Lo Que Traigo Es Sabroso (TL-15067.10), and El Molestoso (TL-15163.10).
Las Estrellas de Areito is the name of an informal group of top Cuban musicians and singers (Tata Güines, Miguelito Cuní etc.) who participated in an open-door series of intense jam sessions that took place in Cuba around 1980. We currently have Volume 1 (TL-15053.10) and Volume 3 (TL-15054.10) of the five recordings on CD. We are expecting the other three shortly.
La Reina De La Guaguancó (TL-14995.10) is the name of the CD by La India De Oriente that was reissued. On it are Cachao, Paquito Echavarria, Nestor Torres and many others.
Julio Castro Y La Masacre (TL-15019.10) had Nestor Sanchez on vocals on this 1984 release.
Ruben Blades fans should be happy to hear that we have his very first recording, con Los Salvajes Del Ritmo (TL-15052.10), on CD. This is a pleasure to listen to. Recommended.
Luis 'Perico' Ortiz has a brand new release entitled Café Con Leche Y Dos De Azucar (TL-15115.10). This is a straight ahead salsa release.
Several new Latin jazz releases have made it out after a dry season. Steve Berrios and Son Bachéche have released And Then Some (TL-15164.10), the follow up to their successful First World.
Mario Rivera has put out El Comandate: The Merengue Jazz (TL-15026.10) on the Groovin' High label. Mario (sax, flute, trumpet) has tremendous respect from the both the Latin and jazz communities. This release has Hilton Ruiz, George Coleman, Ignacio Berroa and lots of others.
We have been getting a lot of requests for Snowboy, the Latin jazz artist from England. We just got in Pit-Bull Latin Jazz (TL-15012.10).
Luis Diaz Quintet On The Edge (TL-15141.10) is the name of an impressive debut release from this Wisconsin based percussionist. Check it out.
Lastly on CD is Paquito D'Rivera's Portraits of Cuba (TL-15013.10). This heartfelt work is reviewed in our new Voices From Cyberspace section in this issue.
We profiled Frank Figueroa in the last issue of the Descarga Newsletter. We are now happy to include his book, the Encyclopedia of Latin American Music in New York (TL-15057.50) in our catalog.
We mentioned, also in the last issue, Bobby Sanabria's second and third videos of his three part conga instructional series would be due out soon. Well, we have them and they worth waiting for. Fundamental 1 (TL-15064.30) is for one and two drums, and Fundamental 2 (TL-15065.30) is for two and three drums and features the legendary percussionist Candido.
Two new catalog additions on video are The Return of Ruben Blades (TL-15166.30) and Los Grandes Exitos De Oscar D'Leon (TL-15165.30). Both are well worth having in your collection.
Finally, for you piano/keyboard players out there, we have found a great book and CD package called Afro-Cuban Montunos for Piano (TL-15137.60) by Carlos Campos. It is an extremely informative 100 page book containing over 400 musical examples. (Also available as book and cassette package, TL-15137.70).