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Al Santiago
"The late Al Santiago was an important and integral part of the Latin music business in New York City over the past 40 years. Born in East Harlem in 1932, he was raised in a vibrant, heavily Puerto Rican community in the South Bronx which supplied him with the rich cultural values that would serve as a wellspring of inspiration for the rest of his life. He founded the Casalegre record shop in 1955. In 1956 he started Alegre Records, the first of several labels he would found. He created and recorded the famed Alegre All-Stars and introduced musicians such as Johnny Pacheco, Eddie Palmieri, Willie Rosario, Willie Colon and many others on the Alegre label. Although primarily a record producer, he was also a musician, bandleader, songwriter and arranger at various times. After selling Alegre in 1966, he became staff producer for the Tico label that year and then for Musicor in 1967. In 1978 he worked with the Fania label as Director of Special Products and prepared 39 "Best of" compilations. "

Here are some reviews by Al Santiago

Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz, Aguzate
CD (Fania 8800),Released 1970;Re-Issued 2010;
Limited quantities! Once gone, its gone!
A true trumpet conjunto that is easily identifiable. Not only for the incomparable piano touch combining classical studies with the Latin feeling, but also the intervals of the two part trumpet harmonies from the usual 3rds, to 4ths and etc. to dissonant 2nds and to the no harmony at all unison. (Al Santiago, 96/97 Catalog)
Category: Latin Soul/Boogaloo => Latin Soul, Classic 60s Or 70s
ORDER TL-1382.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Carlos 'Patato' Valdes, Patato Y Totico
CD (Verve 86244),Released 1968;Re-Issued 2004;
"A percussion and voice group that should not turn off anyone due to the melodic content of the tunes whereas Los Muñequitos and Grupo Guaguanco Matancero would be too pure and authentic for non-Hispanic palates. P and T are a joy...happy music...and also original."
Category: Folkloric => Rumba And/Or Santeria/Lucumi=> Cuba
ORDER TL-11356.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Celeste Mendoza, La Guapachosa
CD (Rumba 55506),
"The title is very appropriate for she is just that. A pleasant voice that plays with the clave and does it well. Released in the early 60s on Gema alongside the Rolando La Serie releases by Manuel Alvarez Guede. The Gema CEO was not only a successful recorded comedian, but a great talent scout. In addition to the above two, he also discovered Fernando Alvarez, Trio Los Condes and El Gran Combo among others."
Category: Salsa/Son => Son, Guaracha, Guajira=> Cuba
ORDER TL-13128.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Chappottin, Sabor Tropical
CD (Antilla 107),Re-Issued 1993;
"This is a budget product that Descarga very fairly sells at a lower price. Don't let the budget label scare you is a great bunch of songs including: 'Canallon,' 'Yo Si Como Candela,' 'Ay Que Canuto,' and 'No Tiene Telarana.' Miguelito Cuni's vocals obligate you to push the repeat button on your CD controls. What phrasing, what a charming and elegant voice, and what mastery of the clave! Coño! Cuni! Wow! What taste!"
Category: Salsa/Son => Son, Guaracha, Guajira=> Cuba
ORDER TL-12803.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Cortijo Y Su Combo, Baile Con Cortijo Y Su Combo
CD (Seeco 9130),
"Their debut album with an incongruous blonde on the cover. Real plenas, bombas & inspiraciones by 'Maelo'."
Category: Folkloric => Plena/Bomba=> Puerto Rico
ORDER TL-1878.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

El Gran Combo, 30 Anniversario: Bailando Con El Mundo
CD (Combo 2091),Released 1992;
"A great compilation by P.R.'s stellar group. Not only quality, but also quantity (a 2 CD set). Ithier's arrangements are unique."
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa=> Puerto Rico
ORDER TL-11961.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Gilberto Santa Rosa, A Dos Tiempos De Un Tiempo
CD (Sony 80895),
"Great big band sound, production, selections, arrangements and personnel. Imagine a trumpet section with Victor Paz, Arturo Sandoval and Elias Lopez. Wow! I'm glad Victor was included because he was captain and straw boss to the Tito Rodriguez band for about ten years. This recording is a tribute to Rodriguez who had a great ear, one of the best bands ever and was a producer as well. He wasn't a bad singer either (just kidding). The duo cut using studio high tech magic a là Nat and Natalie is magnificent. Gilberto, we applaud you...push the repeat button on this one."
Category: Salsa/Son => Salsa
ORDER TL-11825.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Joe Cuba, Steppin' Out
CD (Seeco 9248),Re-Issued 1994;
"A must for every collection with Cheo Feliciano, Willie Torres and Jimmy Sabater. Can you turn down: 'A Las Seis,' 'To Be With You' and 'Como Rein'...of course you can't."
Category: Latin Soul/Boogaloo => Latin Soul, Boogaloo
ORDER TL-11646.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

La Sonora Matancera, 65 Aniversario De La Sonora Matancera
CD (Seeco 2630),
"On the original Seeco label. The hippest two-trumpet conjunto ever. So what that the leader uses rubber bands instead of guitar strings...the point is that you have more talent in this CD than you do in any other ten CDs. It is a compilation of vocalists that includes Celia Cruz, Daniel Santos, Bobby Capo, Celio Gonzalez, Vicentico and Miguelito Valdes. This CD is a great buy."
Category: Salsa/Son => Son, Guaracha, Guajira=> Cuba
ORDER TL-1154.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Miguelito Cuní Y Septeto, Sones De Ayer, Sones Bienvenido Julián Gutiérrez
CD (Rumba 55508),
"Chappottin's singer does his own thing and goes solo. 'Converguencia' alone is worth the ticket, Marcelino Guerra's lyrics are superb."
Category: Salsa/Son => Son, Guaracha, Guajira=> Cuba
ORDER TL-11122.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Noro Morales, His Piano And Rhythm
CD (Ansonia 1272),
"As the title implies: No horns, but who cares? Noro played melody, harmony, accompaniment and backings as no one else could or can. Am I prejudiced about Noro...Yes!"
Category: Dance Traditions => Big Band Mambo Jazz=> Cuba
ORDER TL-4736.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Pérez Prado, The Original Mambo King
CD (Orfeon/Sony 1224),
"The original Mambo King (without any slight to my buddy Tito Puente) had a unique sound and could be i.d.'d immediately. Macho and Puente had their own sound and Tito Rodriguez sounded somewhat like both of them, but no one sounded like Prado. Very few instrumentals have become hits in the Latin field, yet Prado had three: Mambo Jambo (Que Rico El Mambo), Cherry Pink (Cerezo Rosa), and Patricia. They sold over a million copies each. Prado showed me an uncashed $600,000 royalty check in the early 50s. My Prado favorite is 'Mambo En Sax.' Check out that beautiful melody."
Category: Dance Traditions => Big Band Mambo Jazz=> Cuba
ORDER TL-11358.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Rolando Laserie, 15 Grandes Exitos De Rolando Laserie
CD (Disco Hit 1512),
"Ex-Beny More timbalero is recorded as a vocalist. The public loved him and even the musicians bought his records. His rhythmic sense we, of course, expected, but his phrasing was magnificent. His voice emitted humor and his vocal improvisations were jewels. Give a listen to 'Las Curenta Mentiras Tuyas,' 'Amalia Batista,' and 'Domitila.' You'll love 'em."
Category: Salsa/Son => Son, Guaracha, Guajira=> Cuba
ORDER TL-11076.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Stan Kenton, Kenton In Hi-Fi
CD (Capitol 98451),Re-Issued 1992;
"An enormous big band: five woodwinds, ten brass, piano, bass, guitar and drums. In the early 40s, Kenton used two pianos. Among the Latin percussionists he occasionally used to call on were the likes of Joe Valle, Machito, Mike Pacheco, Tommy Lopez and Willie Rodriguez. Pete Rugolo was the chief staff arranger. Canadian screech trumpeter Maynard Ferguson came out of the Kenton band. The band recorded, in my opinion, the definitive 'Manicero' and also a 'Tribute to Machito.' Get this one."
Category: Dance Traditions => Big Band Mambo Jazz
ORDER TL-12769.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Stan Kenton, Cuban Fire
CD (Blue Note 96260),Released 1960;Re-Issued 1991;
"My idol and the band that influenced me almost as much as the Cuban Jam Sessions. Stan did not have a big band, he had an enormous band. How about 5 saxes, 5 trombones, and 5 trumpets? Yes, he was criticized for lacking swing and sounding a bit stiff but this is a mental orgy for lovers of 13th chords, bell tones, counterpoint, dissonance and even fugues."
Category: Dance Traditions => Big Band Mambo Jazz
ORDER TL-10546.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Tito Puente, Dance Mania Vol. 1
CD (BMG/Tropical Series 2467),Released 1957;Re-Issued 1991;
"The best recording for dancers and listeners. Big band, full brass and woodwinds. Great T.P. arrangements and performance. Quite a band. A must for every Latin music fan."
Category: Dance Traditions => Big Band Mambo Jazz
ORDER TL-11630.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Tito Puente, Cuban Carnival
CD (BMG/Tropical Series 53106),Released 1955;Re-Issued 1990;
"My second favorite from TP's 100 and plus."
Category: Dance Traditions => Big Band Mambo Jazz
ORDER TL-2856.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Tito Rodriguez, Tito's Hits
CD (WS Latino 4060),
"One of the tightest and cleanest bands ever recorded. Straw boss perfectionist Victor Paz was a musical director who rehearsed and drilled band to perfection. Do not let the double entendre on 'Vuela La Paloma' fly by your bird."
Category: Dance Traditions => Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, Pachanga
ORDER TL-11857.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

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