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Orquesta Revé, Suave Suave + 3 CD
Larry Harlow, My Time Is Now, Mi Tiempo Llego CD

Review: Short Cuts

by Bosco El Gitano

Orquesta Revé's Suave, Suave+3 is 100% Cuban dance music at its best — a smooth excution of contemporary Afro-Cuban rhythms performed by Elio Revé (bandleader and brilliant timbalero) and his explosive 14 piece Orchestra, featuring violins, piano, tres guitar, trombones and heavy Afro-Cuban percussion and clean clear vocals (What a great mix!). The style of Reve’s music is called Són-Changüi, a very old and traditional form of Són from Guantanamo, which is in the eastern part of Cuba. Elio Revé has dressed it up and brought it into the 90’s creating a unique style and sound which is both strong and “Sabroso”.

"Suave, Suave" the opening cut is a mid-tempo són with some nice bongo playing, creative bass lines and a tasty Tres (Cuban 9 string guitar) Solo. "Reir y Lantar" starts as a Bembé and than moves thru Guaguancó, Són, and 6/8 effortlessly - demonstrating the vast knowledge and high caliber of musicianship contained here. "Gente Chever" is another Són with a cool piano solo, great vocal work, and a unique timbale solo by Revé.

Elio Revé’s popularity has been growing since the fifties when he was the founding member of two of Cuba’s greatest bands, who would go on to be known as Ritmo Oriental and Los Van Van. Elio’s records often hit the top of the Cuban charts and had twice earned two gold discs. And now with the Suave Suave + 3 recording I believe he’s headed for some more gold. Don’t miss this one!

Larry Harlow born in Brooklyn, New York of Jewish decent, started his musical education at the age of five - his father, a bandleader, encouraged him to study the piano. Larry has also received training on the Oboe, flute, english horn, bass fiddle and composition.

Later on in years while majoring in music at Brooklyn College, he visited Cuba and fell in love with the Cuban people and their music, and stayed for three years to listen and learn.

Upon Larry’s return to New York City, he started playing piano with such greats as Johnny Pacheco and the Tito Rodriguez Orchestra before going on to establish his own group, Orchestra Harlow in 1966, and was one of the first artists to sign with the Fania record label.

Mr. Harlow has produce over forty L.P.’s and has earned a collection of gold records as an artist and producer. He has performed thru-out the United States, Latin America, Canada, Europe and Africa. He is truly a multi-talented person with a great passion for Latin music.

My Time Is Now, Mi Tiempo Llego is a 1990 release that features 18 top N.Y.C. musicians and no less than six noted latin music arrangers, which includes, Oscar Hernandez, Marty Sheller and Louie Ramirez. The orchestration thru-out this recording is beautiful and very tasteful. The nine cuts are mostly straight Salsa, with a little Bomba and Samba mixed in here and there. The Coro’s (background vocals) by Nestor Sanchez and the great Adalberto Santiago are super clean and well balanced by the up front vocal work by Ray Pérez. Check him out on the tunes "Mi Error," a nice Salsa cut with a tight groove, and La Loteria where ray is jamming. There’s also a hot bongo solo featured as well.

On conga is Frank Malabe and on timbale is José “Pancho” Roman. They are excellent throughout the tunes; their Tumbao is rock solid as they display their tremendous technique. Listen to them on the songs "Muevete" which has a great dance feel, or "Dime Que Me Quieres" with its romantic styling, and "Recuerdos Del Mango" which features a swinging horn section and an amazing timbale solo by Pancho.

But the most creative song here is the title track "My Time Is Now" which is featured twice on the CD one version in Spanish and the other in English (my favorite of the two) with Clarence Burke featured on lead vocals, and a well blended electric guitar and a horn section that is really striking. This recording also contains the masterful bass playing of Sal Cuevas. With his funky style and silky smooth tones, he unknowingly gives us a bass lesson on how to do it right.

This CD is packed full of good music and is a salsa recording of the 90’s worth picking up. Nice cover art too!

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