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A discographic profile of the charanga band.

Profile: Orquesta Novel

by John Child (

Novel, Orquesta (previously called Orquesta Típica Novel) Swinging flute, strings, rhythm section and voices charanga band formed in NYC '60s; noted for their rich harmonies and tight arrangements; led by Afro-Cuban pianist, arr., composer, vocalist Willie Ellis; made Do The Boogaloo c '67 on Fonseca. Signed with TR, debuted on label with Se Colo La Novel '73, followed by Super Típica '74, Sabrosa Novel '75, Tipicante '75 and With A Touch Of Brass '75, latter featuring trumpeter Alfredo 'Chocolate' Armenteros, with brass arrs./trombone by Barry Rogers (see Eddie Palmieri); 'best of' TR material compiled on Lo Mejor de Típica Novel '78. Renamed Orquesta Novel when switched to Fania for series of LPs incl. Salsamania '76, with Rogers on trombone, brass arrs. by Mark Weinstein; Salud, Dinero y Amor '78 featuring trumpeter Ray Maldonado (deceased brother of Ricardo Ray); dropped brass for Canta y Encanta '79; added trombone of Papo Vásquez (see Libre) to lineup on Que Viva El Son Montuno '80; aimed Novel Experience '80 at crossover market with pop hits in charanga style and sung in English; a mi me gustó '81 and Prestige '84 incl. Jimmy Bosch on trombone (see Libre); From New York City '89 was their last Fania outing. 'The Genius of Salsa' Louie Ramírez produced many of Novel's albums during the '70s. Notable personnel incl. African-American violinist/arr./longstanding member Eddie Drennon, who produced their '80-1 albums; flautist/composer/arr. Mike García played flute on early to mid-'70s LPs, slot subsequently filled by a variety of flautists: Don Gonzalo Fernández (also arrs.), Mauricio Smith, Nestor Torres (also arrs.), Ronnie Amoros (also percussionist/arr./prod.).

-This is one of over 130 Latin music entries written by John Child ( for The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 2nd Edition, edit. Donald Clarke; Penguin Books; 1998; 1524 pages; US$22.95, UKú16.99.

They are published on the Descarga website by kind permission of Mr. Donald Clarke.

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