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Column: Editor's Picks

by Bruce Polin

The cover story, on trombonist Jimmy Bosch, reflects our growing commitment to chronicling the careers of dedicated young players who have made an impact in shaping the sound of either popular or folkloric Latin music. More articles like this will be appearing on these pages in a regular basis.

Some important reissues have made their way to the CD factory. The Alegre All-Stars first record (TL-15230.10) is in. Also in this month is their Vol. 3, Lost and Found (TL-15231.10). Another release that features Charlie Palmieri is his El Gigante Del Teclado (TL-15179.10), which I think is great. The nearly-sainted Frankie Dante & Orquesta Flamboyan has out Best Foot Forward (TL-15342.10). Tipiqueros (TL-15288.10) is the title of Bongo Logic's brand new recording on the Montuno label.

Desi Arnaz fans have been patiently awaiting a good compilation. Well, Babalú; (TL-15214.10) is here and documents the classic Victor recordings of 1946-7. Pedro Flores (TL-15197.10), the legendary Puerto Rican composer, is honored by this self-titled release on Harlequin.

An absolute must for every percussion lover is the classic Tito Puente release Puente In Percussion (TL-15340.10). This release, with musicians Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo, and Patato Valdez, is a must have — right up there with Top Percussion. Get it.

Percussionist Francisco Aguabella has a new Latin jazz CD entitled H2O (TL-15314.10). We also have Danilo Pérez's new Panamonk (TL-15234.10) as well as Jerry Gonzalez and the Ft. Apache Band's live recording Fire Dance (TL-15178.10).

A few years back José Mangual Jr. gave us his remarkable Tribute to Chano Pozo, the legendary Cuban percussionist. He is now back with Tribute To Chano Pozo Vol. 2 (TL-15311.10) featuring an impressive group of musicians including Milton Cardona, Papo Pepin, Bomberito Zarzuela, Charlie Sepulveda, Junior Gonzalez, and Nestor Sanchez.

Ruben Blades is back with a triumphant La Rosa de Los Vientos (TL-15229.10). Also out is the debut from Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca. His Tata Masamba (TL-15332.10) gives us a combination of salsa and soukous.

The new Puente/India collaboration is finally out. Don't expect Jazzin' (TL-15246.10) to be a salsa record. It is, rather, a project of jazz and big band tunes ("Fever," "Love For Sale") sung by the Latin diva. The Count Basie orchestra contributes to three of the tunes.

Watch out. The new Descarga Boricua is in stock. Abrazate (TL-15225.10) is another 2-CD tour de force by Fran' Ferrer's all-stars from Puerto Rico. (Reviewed in this issue.) Flautist Nestor Torres has a new release entitled Talk To Me (TL-15205.10). The Netherlands' most well-known salsa/Latin jazz band, Nueva Manteca, has finally released Let's Face The Music And Dance (TL-15209.10) in the U.S. A collaboration by two salsa veterans, Azuquita and Papo Lucca, is out and aptly entitled Los Originales (TL-15207.10).

A big band Latin jazz project was put together by Tropijazz records here in New York. This live all-star blow-out called Tropijazz All-Stars (TL-15297.10) has Eddie Palmieri, Hilton Ruiz, Humberto Ramirez, Tito Puente, Michel Camilo, a new vocalist named Jillian and a host of others.

We have some new Cuban titles as well. Rumberos Los Muñequitos have a new all Lucumí (Santeria) CD out called Iti Iban Echu (TL-15313.10). Veteran Cuban vocalist Marcelino Guerra recently passed away. Shortly before he died he recorded a new record entitled Rapindey (TL-15292.10) for the Nubenegra label. This is destined to become a classic. Candido Fabrey, the contemporary Cuban vocalist, has released Son De Cuba (TL-15170.10) on the Tumi label.

We have several new releases on the Timbo label from France featuring Orquesta Aragón with Maestro Richard Egües on flute. These were recorded in the 80s in France and the cuts are long (4,5,6, & 7 minutes) We have several, so check the listings. The one pictured here is Aguardiente de Caña (TL-15211.10).

There are some other contemporary Cuban releases worth noting. The new blockbuster Manolin - El Medico De La Salsa's Para Mi Gente (TL-15245.10) is the hottest thing in Cuba right now. The legendary percussionist Tata Güines' Aniversario (TL-15227.10) is a beauty with just percussion, vocals (Gregorio Hernandez "El Goyo"), bass, and tres. The band La Calle has a new salsa CD called Santa Morena (TL-15284.10). A very hard to find brand new Los Van Van is in stock(!) — for the moment anyhow. It's called Ay Dios, Amparame! (TL-15331.10) and is going like hotcakes. It's the best thing they've done in years. Yoruba Andabo's CD is in stock finally. It's called El Callejón de Los Rumberos (TL-15290.10) and it's pure rumba. It smokes.

Finally, we have some videos and books. Sones Cubanos (TL-15318.30) is a collection of short documents featuring some of Cuba's greatest singers including Beny More, Trio Matamoros, Felix Chappotin, Miguito Cuní, Ignacio Piñeiro and Ñico Saquito. This just came in so it hasn't yet been reviewed.

Two important instructional videos have also come in. Giovanni Hidalgo's second conga video In The Tradition (TL-15220.30) exemplifies traditional dance rhythms of Cuba like bolero, danzón, charanga, and son montuno. These standard rhythms are focused on much more than on his first, slightly overwhelming, video.

Changuito, the revered Cuban percussionist, has a new video entitled History of the Songo (TL-15221.30). The master covers congas, timbales and the drum set. The Giovanni and Changuito videos sell so fast we don't even put them on shelves here. They're sold right out of the carton!

Frank Figueroa, who brought us his Encyclopedia of Latin Music, has now given us his Almanaque De La Musica Latino-Americana (TL-15256.50). Important events in the history of the music are listed. Based on a month-to-month almanac format, it is lots of fun to read. You'll learn something interesting every time you pick this book up.

Finally, we have the complete musical charts to many of Tito Puente's best compositions and arrangements. These are for all instruments. If you are a bandleader or just want to have the best material to read from, look no further.

—Bruce Polin, arbiter of taste

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