May 3, 2014

Juan Formell, 1943-2014

elWatusi @ 2:34 pm

Juan Formell, the Cuban composer, arranger and bass player who founded the group Los Van Van and made it into one of the world’s greatest dance bands, died on Thursday. He was 71 and lived in Havana. Formell was a musical pioneer, and was integral to the development of Songo and Timba styles of dance music. Los Van Van can been seen as the dance band that spoke to a new generation of Cubans, making a clear statement that the younger generation demanded its own unique sound. The band has become an institution, with many of its singers becoming superstars in their own right.
Popular Latin music, and, by extension, the music world in general, owes a great debt to the legacy of Juan Formell.

May 2, 2014

elWatusi eNews Number 73

elWatusi @ 5:32 pm

Click for elWatusi eNewsletter Nº 73 for May 01, 2014.
elWatusi eNews 73. This issue features:

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April 29, 2014

DJ Bosco’s New Double Dip Playlist

elWatusi @ 7:37 pm

DJ Bosco’s New Double Dip Playlist >>

“elWatusi is by far the most exciting Latin music provider on the web, or anywhere for that matter, and have been making available some really exciting new releases since the beginning of the year. In fact, many of these albums are so hot that this dj needs to Double Dip off several of these smoking hot albums. I’ve also sprinkled in some long time favorites, ‘Para Dale Sabor’!

I’ve chosen Carlos Cascante y su Tumbao ‘Hablando En Serio’ first, with an amazing hot, jazzed up, ‘Maria Esther’ featuring the ubiquitous, but never the less amazing, timbalero Luisito Quintero (Venezuelan) and my favorite rendition of the Celia Cruz anthem ‘Usted Abuso’.

Another Venezuelan and long time favorite isnFrank ‘El Pavo’ Hernandez y Su Orquesta, whom I’ve been listening to for quite some time. Featured here are two big band sound hits, the swinging ‘Caballo Viejo’ and retro sounding ‘Broadway Cha Cha’ a jazz infused, Cha Cha that will make you wanna move!!

Another all time favorite, ‘Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars,’ is a showcase of LAs finest musicians led by Joe Rizo and features one of the West Coast’s finest congeros, the prolific Pancho Sanchez. I first saw Pancho in 70’s playing with the late, great Cal Tjader. I’ve added two tunes from different albums, ‘Saoco’ from the Last Bullfighter album (which has an amazing Machito sounding swing) and ‘Baila mi Gente.’

The recent release of Nabori, with arrangements Andy Guzman (Mulenze) and featuring pianist Willie Melo (also Venezuelan ‘La Negramenta’), is a great sounding release of salsa at its finest, and my two picks are ‘Salao’ a son sounding tune with a heart tugging coro Salao, Ay bendito, mango bonito, salao, and the more up tempo dance tune ‘Quien te Raspo’.

The big surprise of the season is the release on elWatusi of Frederico Junior’s tribute to his father (Frederico Betancourt) Orquesta Magia Caribena ll & lll and featuring Jimmy Bosch & Luisito Quintero among many other Latin music greats. Check out Johan Munoz trombone solo on the rockin ‘Senor Gallo’. Both albums are an array of non stop, hard hitting, all out salsa dura! Baya!!

Lastly, props to Dewell Narvaes for remembering the Puerto Rican soldiers de la Infanteria 65 who fought in the Korean War (of which my cousin Orlando Torres was one), and creating this amazing tribute of an album which just knocks the ball out of the park!! It features some of my home boys from 102 St. NYC, like Jose Mangual Jr. on bongos, and the amazing pianist Victor Santos! My two picks are ‘Vamos a Gozar”, with the infectious Franky Vasquez on lead vocal, and ‘Tu Veras” – Dj Bosco


About DJ Bosco+Contact Info

December 15, 2013

Winter Playlist via DJ EricB

elWatusi @ 7:40 pm

Winter Playlist via DJ EricB
“The Holiday Season is upon us and the time is here to make a Musical Wish list, so I prepared a nice batch of mixed goodies for you all. Classics, Old Skool, New Skool, Timba, Mambo, Guaguanco… you name it, it’s in there!

There’s a kind of a revival is Salsa Dura going on, so these last few month some really nice albums’s came out that are making a big impact on the scene:
Contemporary groups like La Maxima 79, Orquesta SCC (formely la Excelencia), Melaza and Orquesta Magia Caribeña have just released some great albums. And make sure you check the absolutly wicked track by the group La Mecánica Popular La Paz Del Freak … very refreshing! Also, some Bands from back in the day are reuniting, so make sure you also check out the tracks by Conjunto Impacto and Orquesta Narvaez!

I put some vintage stuff in here by El Boy y su Combo and Carlos Muñoz y su Sonora and Nilo Espinosa y su Orquesta and, of course, some classic
bangers like Sal y Agua by La Banda de los Felinos, Triste Realidad by Nelson Feliano and Aprende a Bailar by Pete Rodríguez and His Orchestra, to name just a few.

There’s some Timba by Angel Bonne and Timbalive. Colombia esta Presente!, too, so check the great tracks by Grupo Niche and Piper Pimiento. Of
course I have to also represent La Salsa Buena de Holanda (and Venezuela), so make sure you listen to the Great tracks Marco Toro and su Ensemble and Gerardo Rosales and his Afro Cuban Jazz Quintet.

Enjoy and have a Great holiday Season con Mucha Salsa” – Dj EricB


DJ EricB Bio + Contact Info

July 18, 2013

DJ Bosco’s Midsummer Mambo Madness

elWatusi @ 1:55 am

DJ Bosco’s Midsummer Mambo Madness
People often ask me what was the best part of having been part of the 60’s NYC and the Golden Age of Salsa. I share about being in the same street gang as Joe Bataan, my sister having dated Johnny Colon, going to High School with Jerry and Andy Gonzalez and on and on….But the best part of all is (having been a great dancer in my day) understanding what dancers want.

So, this list is all about rhythm, dance groves and arrangements that make you move.

A few callouts from the Elwatusi new releases side of this collection, first to Juan Pablo Barrios who’s ‘Godin Guidon’ from about six years ago is still a total hip shaker (and sadly overlooked by Dj’s) to a few of his latest Elwatusi additions ‘Maina Funche’ & ‘Pa Que Lo Gocen Todos’.

Next, a shout out to Ray Viera Y Trombao with a killer mambo ‘Los Hermanos Del Sabor’ which has Sabor written all over it, as it’s a nonstop dance floor heavy hit.

Alfredo De La Fe’s new release ‘Sin Limites’ is an all hit wonder, but my choice for this mid- summers groove it’s ‘Pachanga Changa’ and its unstoppable!!

Just two more mentions on Elwatusi’s recent release’s ‘Vicente Y Barnabe’ by Conjunto Sabrosura and ‘La Salsa De Nueva’ by Victor Hugo are destined to become huge summer dance floor hits!!

Also added to the list a Boricua Legends redo of the classic son montuno ‘Rompe Saraguey’ featuring the beautiful stylist pianist ‘Pulpo’ with a lovely solo and Mulenze cover of ‘Demuestrame Que to Sabes’ featuring one of my all time favorite voices Rafael (Ito) Andino.

In the retro corner, classic Ismael Rivera con Kako with ‘La Cumbita’ and Orlando Marin with ‘Aprende a Querer’ and a major dance floor hit by Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz ‘Quim Bon Bori’
which has some amazing dance floor breaks!

And last, but certainly not least, a little tongue and cheek swing by my good friend Gerardo Rosales in his ‘Merezco Un Grammy’.

Dj bosco will be the featured Dj at the first Cape Town, South Africa Salsa Congress 2013


DJ Bosco’s Contact Info

July 13, 2013


elWatusi @ 10:35 pm

DJ Eric B’s Summer 2013 Playlist
“Oye mi Watusi peoplez… Summer is here and you know what that means!… we need some more good Música!
Instead of the usual mix of vintage and contemporaray music, this time I decided to focus on Salsa Dura from (mainly) the 70’s at a time when the so-called Salsa Boom reached it’s peak.
In the list below you’ll find many of the hard-hitting orchestrations of that era, so once again … I hope you like it
Que Viva la Salsa Dura – Dj EricB


DJ EricB Bio + Contact Info

elWatusi eNews Number 69

elWatusi @ 10:20 pm

Click for elWatusi eNewsletter Nº 69 for July 12, 2013.


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March 19, 2013


elWatusi @ 6:31 pm

Click for elWatusi eNewsletter Nº 66 for March 19, 2013.

Featuring:Conjunto Sabroso | Carlitos Irarragorri | Elements Of Life
Dj El Chino Presents: Salsa World Series Vol. 5 | Aillacara 2743
Salsa With Sounds Of The 70′S, Vol. 7 | Luisito Rey | Yunior Terry
…and more.

Plus, A New Playlist By DJ Bosco
Read Complete Newsletter Nº66
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February 8, 2013

elWatusi Welcomes Chesky Records

elWatusi @ 12:11 am

Our philosophy is simple: to create the illusion of live musicians in a real three-dimensional space. Chesky Records tries to achieve the impression of reality with the most advanced technology available, careful microphone placement, and, most of all, a recording team that pays attention to every minute detail-making your listening experience tangible, pleasurable, exciting, and realistic. Our commitment to detail and our dedication to the music we produce has earned the company world-wide acclaim for the artistic and technical excellence of its releases. But Chesky Records didn’t become a Grammy Award-winning independent audiophile label overnight: hard work coupled with an abiding passion for great music that has gotten us this far, and it is this very same combination that will carry Chesky into the future. – David Chesky
Click for more.

A Chesky Sampling…

THE CONGA KINGS | Jazz Descargas
Original Release Date: 2001
EDITORIAL:Following the success of the first Conga Kings album (Conga Kings), Chesky records has followed up with this release that embraces the traditions of Afro-Latin jazz much more than the first, which focused more on the folkloric roots of Afro-Cuban music. Some of the arrangements here are done in the style of the big-band Cubop and mambo-jazz bands of the ’40s and ’50s and can be both sophisticated and vibrant, but struggle with the shortcomings in the mixing and audio separation — especially “Caravan” which simply sounds distant (this album was recorded live in NYC, March 2001.)
You will be familar with many of the standards interpreted here, “Manteca,” “A Night In Tunisia” and “Oye Como Va” to name a few, but Patato’s melodic playing is still fresh. – elW

PAQUITO D’RIVERA | Tropicana Nights
Original Release Date: 2011Original Release Date: 1999
A beautifully produced homage to the big band jazzy mambo sound of the 1950s — the music that was offered at the famed and stylish Cuban nightclub, the Tropicana. A terrific lineup…not to be missed.

Original Release Date: 2004
Palladium era veteran conguero Candido Camero and legendary singer Graciela (Machito’s orchestra, as well as that of Mario Bauza) join up for a new release featuring compositions by Rafael Hernandez, Arsenio Rodriguez, Julio Gutierrez and other luminaries. Features an all-star band with Andy Gonzalez, Sonny Bravo, Nelson Gonzalez, Manny Oquendo, Frederico Brito Ruiz and others. Recommended.

Original Release Date: 2006
The lead singer of Yerba Buena steps up to make a weird little record that sounds more like a bunch of demos than a finished piece of work. She can sing, with at times an astonishingly beautiful texture to her voice. But the recording, made live in the studio, isn’t the sort of thing that flatters her or the talented band; she needs a studio to build music and textures around her. At its best — like on “La Llave” — she and the band reach meaning, her calm voice drifting over the band’s vamp. For much of the rest of the album, there isn’t a whole lot of dynamic change, and a fair amount of slow tempos. There’s some straight up, old-fashioned pop and ballads, strangely staid given the band she works with [Rubán Rodriguez, Andy González, Andres Levin and others]. At times it sounds like the record’s going for the mood of intimate Brazilian pop, the Cuban/New York version of Maria Rita. Good try. Recommended. (Peter Watrous)

Original Release Date: 2004
What a great reinvention of a bunch of traditions. First, this is a descarga record, with the rhythm section made up of Giovanni Hidalgo, Andy Gonzalez and David Chesky. The horns, Bob Mintzer on bass clarinet and Randy Brecker on trumpet, take short melody lines. The pieces by Chesky, work around figures in the Latin tradition, ostinatios, where the bass is often doubled by the horns. But the use of bass clarinet, and the looseness of the music, suggests of all things electric Miles Davis, or, as the title suggests, Weather Report, but gone acoustic. Chesky brings deep European dissonance to the music; the horns float, and the whole things sounds radically distinct, new. It’s moody, and highly recommended. (Peter Watrous)

January 11, 2013

Best of 2012

elWatusi @ 5:03 pm

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Best of elWatusi 2012

Ok, now that New Year clatter has subsided, and the dust has settled on all of those other “Best Of 2012″ lists, we thought we’d pipe in with our own two-cents worth. Sit back and sample the thirty gems chosen from a mountain of audio terrabytes that tried to pass through the gates of elWatusi this past year. Congratulations to this year’s winners. And now, without further adieu, here’s the real Best of 2012

[Note: You can also view the winners on this Playlist with audio as well.]

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
The highly regarded Cuban orchestra teams up esteemed icons of salsa in this spectacular gem of a son release. The guests? Rubén Blades, Cheo Feliciano, José Alberto “El Canario,” Luisito Quintero, Edwin Colón Zayas and Jimmy Bosch! Boom!

El Septeto Santiaguero ha puesto a la venta el primer single de su nueva producción. “Lágrimas Negras” es el tema que el grupo cubano ha escogido para presentar lo que será su futuro trabajo “Vamos pa’ la fiesta” que en pocas semanas verá la luz.
En esta versión del clásico de Miguel Matamoros se suma al Septeto Santiaguero la prodigiosa voz de Rubén Blades. En la pieza hay Rubén Blades por partida doble al estar presente su inconfundible timbre y el de su alter ego “Medoro Madera“.
“Vamos pa’ la fiesta” es el título del nuevo trabajo de los santiagueros. En el mismo participan también otras figuras del ámbito latino-salsero como son los casos, entre otros, de Cheo Feliciano, José Alberto “El Canario”, Edwin Colón Zayas y Jimmy Bosch. Este es un disco con el que el Septeto Santiaguero quiere agradecer a sus homólogos históricos del movimiento salsero “por todo lo que han hecho en pro de la preservación del son y el bolero” según comentó su director y productor del disco Fernando Dewar.
Este nuevo álbum es editado por Picap, al igual que el anterior “Oye mi son santiaguero”, que fue premio Cubadisco 2011 y nominado al Latin Grammy 2011. (Alden Gonzalez Diaz)

LATROPA SON | La Mañana America
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Now here’s a very fine timba-salsa release from the West Coast. With all original material by bassist Liván Montoya, La Mañana America is a sack full of smoldering embers from the get-go. Opening with a rootsy Cuban rumba, a good attention grabber, Latropa Son leads you, without haste, into a set of first rate dance material full of modern timba touches, yet maintains a deep, nuanced, sabor. The band, formed in 2010, keeps the momentum intact, helped by a cadre of superb singers: Osvaldo Carvajal,Nobel Cintra Cascaret, Edgardo Cambón, Amilcar Garcia, Juan Stable, Fito Reinoso, and Sulkary Valverde (who does some amazing work on the pristine Navegando – listen to that). There are some other styles peppered about, ie the cha cha chá Amor de Cha, as well as touches of urbano, reggae, pop — but the band has, most definitely, an Afro-Cuban timba heart that beats strong. Check out La Onda and the highly swinging, jazzy, Rezo Nuevo. Really, unusually sophisticated stuff for a debut release. I think these guys have a bright future ahead of them. Very Highly Recommended. – elW

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
What a great, surprising recording, from a little known New York band, Grupo Los Santos. The band, Paul Carlon on saxophones, Pete Smith on guitar, David Ambrosio on bass and Beaver Bausch on drums are on its third installment and Clave Heart is pretty amazing, a mixture of religious singing and rhythms from Cuba and an absolutely modern Brooklyn jazz sensibility. It is a strange combination at first, because the music seems so right, so authentic in its intent, yet there’s nothing traditional or academic about it at all. It all just works right, the group conception, the improvisation, the sound, rough and natural.
The music’s also knowing, with Ambrosio holding down the bass parts (he also plays and teaches bata drumming), moving from montunos to funk patterns and jazz, and Smith, the guitarist, snapping out parts as if he were in the James Brown band. There’s rock in Smith’s playing too, but it’s not a default position; at times he sounds like Bill Frisell, or James Blood Ulmer, modern, thoughtful, different. There is a coro singing Santeria, there’s tap dancing (Max Pollak, the only non-Cuban ever asked to join Los Munequitos de Matanzas) which adds a density to the percussion that oddly never sounds clogged. Again, it all sounds right.
But this is a different project; there’s nothing like it that I’ve heard. It’s Latin jazz, I suppose, but the term seems antiquated and inadequate to describe what’s going on. It’s just bright and new modern music that knows a ton about the Afro Cuban tradition, and a ton about the modern jazz tradition, and isn’t afraid to take liberties with it all. – Peter Watrous

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Después de una larga espera, vuelven los Rumberos del Callejón, con su segunda producción titulada CONSTRUYENDO. Excelente producto cargado de swing y sabor, especialmente creado para el bailador, donde se demuestra con creces, porque son una de las mejores orquestas venezolanas, dirigida magistralmente por el talentoso percusionista Carlitos Padrón, quien engrosa la lista de los venezolanos que triunfa dentro y fuera de nuestras fronteras.
La producción fue grabada en estudios de Venezuela, New York y Puerto Rico, con la participación de músicos de la más alta calidad entre los que destacan Nelson Jaime, Arturo Ortíz, Isidro Infante, Alberto Crespo, Ramón Sánchez, José Tavares, Rubén Rodríguez, Jacob Plasse, Robert Quintero, Erick Vélez, Celso Clemente, Ray Colón, Pablo Santaella, José Cruz, Manuel Ruiz, Iván Renta.
Es oportuno destacar la participación de dos importantes Soneros Invitados, el venezolano Marcial Isturiz “El Negro de Capaya”, y Frankie Morales, quien fuera cantante de la prestigiosa banda del fallecido “Rey del Timbal” Tito Puente y que en la actualidad hace una exitosa carrera en la ciudad de New York. Los coros estuvieron a cargo de, Wilmer Lozano, Edgar “El Abuelo” Rodríguez, Rodrigo Mendoza y Eloy Rivas. Y por supuesto, el disco se llena de sabor, con las imponentes interpretaciones del tren delantero de la banda, nuestros venezolanos Mariana “La Sonera de Venezuela”, el experimentado Rodrigo Mendoza, Gonzalo Díaz “La Voz Recia de la Salsa Joven” y la nueva adquisición de la banda, Osvaldo Román quien fuera la voz líder de las importantes agrupaciones, tales como Puerto Rican Power y el Grupo Niche.
En cuanto a los arreglos destacan los talentosos Alberto Crespo, Joel Uriola, Nelsón Jaime, Isidro Infante y Ramón Sánchez, todos bajo la dirección y producción musical de Carlitos Padrón, quien también es responsable de varias composiciones dentro del disco.

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
El pianista Christian Tumalan y el trompetista alemán Steffen Kuehn comandan la orquesta Pacific Mambo, establecida en la bahía de San Francisco. Tumalan y Kuehn estructuraron esta formación en 2010 bajo el formato de Big Band, su disco debut Pacific Mambo Orchestra posee una excelente calidad de sonido, contiene diez números de música Latina (jazz, salsa, cha cha chá, bolero y bachata, entre otros). Pacific Mambo Orchestra cuenta con la presencia de destacados músicos de la Costa Oeste (Karl Perazzo, Ray Obiedo, Jeff Cresman, Omar Ledezma Jr y Jamie Dubberly, entre otros), de igual manera intérpretes de la Costa Este (Carlos Cascante y Willie Torres). PMO propone una nueva versión de El cantante (Willie Torres), también ejecuciones instrumentales como Mr 5.0 (cha cha chá), Muévete con prisa (salsa instrumental), PMO intro (jazz latino) y Bolero Cocomo (bolero), dedicado al Café Cocomo en el cual actúan desde el año 2010. La canción de salsa La ambición (Carlos Cascante) y PMO intro, nuestros números preferidos. – Por Roberto Carlos Luján,

CUBANA ALL STARS | A Dream Come True
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Whoa! This, folks, just may be the most ambitious Cuban project in recent memory. Nearly 2-1/2 hours of relentless sabor Cubano. Here’s a list of the participating singers: Adalberto Álvarez, Alexander Abréu , Eduardo Morales “Tiburón”, Eliades Ochoa , Haila Hompié, Issac Delgado, Laritza Bacallao, Mayito Rivera, Oscar Valdés , Paulito FG, Pedrito Calvo, Robertón, Tania Pantoja, Vannia Borges, and Xiomara Laugart. – elW

The “Cubana All Stars”, the most significant Cuban Orchestra to form in the last decade, comprised of an ensemble of 40 of Cuba’s elite recording artists, have just released their debut album “A Dream Come True” through Viva Combo Music.
“A Dream Come True” was recorded in EGREM Studio's 18 Playa in Havana Cuba. For the first time in 50 years, with the support of Musicalia and the Cultural Ministry, Cuban musicians and artists from around the world New York (Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros, Justo Betancourt, Xiomara Laugart), Miami (Dennis Savón “Papacho”), México (Rafael Morales “Rafa”), Spain (Juan Munguia-Cubas, Alaín Pérez) and Puerto Rico (Issac Delgado) were authorized to return to Havana Cuba and record with the Cuban virtuosos living in Cuba for this dream Viva Combo Music production. As Grammy award winning artist Eliades Ochoa said “This is a dream come true for all Cubans”, this is “A Dream Come True”.
Recorded entirely in Havana Cuba, History was made! For never before have so many talented Cuban virtuosos united to produce a single project of this magnitude as a single Cuban Orchestra.

ALBERTO CAICEDO | A Corazon Abierto
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Regresa el Talentoso músico Colombiano (Guapireño) Alberto Caicedo con su mas reciente producción llamada “A Corazón Abierto”, Un álbum bastante interesante expresando un sentimiendo especial por su pueblo natal, familiares y por su puesto por su pais colombia. Manteniendo su calidad interpretativa, su sabor y sobre todo el sonido de su Álbum mas renombrado hasta ahora como lo fue “La Voz de Colombia” (2006) presentado por Gerardo Rosales talentoso músico Venezolano qu al igual que Alberto Caicedo esta radicado en holanda. Cabe destacar en esta producción la participación de músicos de la talla de Nando Vanin en los coros y Nils Fischer en la conga. Salsa con los pichy les recomienda el Track N.6 Mi Montuno, también se destacan canciones tales como: El Amor A Mi Madre, Canción De Amor, Ahí Viene Mi Negra entre otros… SalsaConLosPichy

AGUANKÓ | Elemental
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Aguankó, the ensemble led by percussionist and composer Alberto Nacíf, is a talented group of Michigan based musicians who are steeped in the tradition of jazz infused son-salsa. In La Bicileta and Chiquita, for example, you might hear shades of Conjunto Libre or Eddie Palmieri’s La Perfecta orchestra. And, like the Fort Apache Band, there are Afro-Cuban folkloric rhythms, as in the percussive rumba Elemental. The overall feel on Elemental is relaxed; the jazz is sophisticated, but accessible in essential ways. It’s graced with a driving funk and sabor that comes only from years of developing a musical sensibility that speaks from both the heart and soul of the band members. With Paul Vornhagen, Javier Barrios, Patrick Prouty, Wesley Reynoso, Paul Finkbeiner, Russ Miller, Chris Smith, Alex Nacif and special guest percussionist José “Pepe” Espinosa.
Top notch stuff, this. Very Highly Recommended. – elW

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Bright, punchy, kick-ass salsa …the kind that one wishes would still be played in the NYC clubs. Manyoma, brother of Wilson “Saoco,” is the lead singer here, and he’s directing a sniper team of salsa musicians that includes pianists Oscar Ivan Lozano, Mauricio Toledo, Mauricio Toledo and Ricardo Sabogal. The percussionists are Oscar Ivan Lozano, Fernando “Latino” Valencia and Armando “La Chaucha.” There are five trombonists involved, as well as a coro crew that includes Saoco, Jorge “Kiny” Murillo, Wilson Torres, German Arenas and others. This project is pure dancing pleasure. Very Highly Recommended.

RALPHY SANTI | Homenaje Al Bailador
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
>Opening with a reinterpretation of his signature tune, Ansias, here sung by Paquito Guzmán, Ralphy Santi is back with a terrific salsa project that includes a whole bunch of guest singers. In addition to Mr. Guzmán, there’s Tito Allen, Hector Tricoche, Ray Sepulveda, Nelson “El Varon” Cordero, Choco Orta, Moncho Rivera, Eddie Melendez Y Chuito Dejesus. Man! Produced by Ernie Acevedo (Conjunto Imagen) and Augusto Onna (Joe Quijano Orquesta), this session also features flautist Mauricio Smith Jr., trombonists Angel “Coqui” Lebron and Junior Rivera as well as trumpeters Miguel Rodriguez and Pete Nater.
Listen for Yo No Se, as sung by Eddie Melendez, and Ismael Rivera’s El Chivo, interpreted here by his nephew Moncho Rivera – who sounds remarkably like El Sonero Mayor. Tito Allen sounds just great on the rockin’ Tiempo De Ayer, and Choco Orta embodies the Cuban conjunto feel on the fiery Sin Clave y Bongo No Hay Son. Perfect… all great stuff here, and Highly Recommended. – elW

GRUPO TUMBAOSON| Tumbaoson Tumbando
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Desde Miami, Florida, presentamos a esta agrupacion formada con fuerte influencia hacia el son montuno y guaguancó típico.
Tumbaoson es un grupo de amigos y músicos experimentados con vasta experiencia y diversificada en el verdadero son montuno cubano y la explosión salsera que recibierón en los años 60 pasando por los 70 y 80 en la ciudad de Nueva York. Basta con escucharlos para apreciar la experiencia de muchos años de cada integrante en este movimiento musical que denominamos salsa. Algunos son provenientes de New York y otros de Miami. Despues de haber tocado con varias agrupaciones se han reencontrado en el sur de la Florida para ejecutar la música que les gusta y apasiona, con el sabor tipico de la zona caribeña, y mas especificamente el sabor de Cuba.
En el grupo tambien se encuentra talento joven y nuevo que ayuda a matizar las interpretaciones de la agrupación con un estilo moderno.
Tumbaoson ha sido capaz de crear, como el buen vino, un sonido clásico de la salsa con sus raíces y fundamento es el tipico son montuno. Este excelente grupo de músicos ha capturado la esencia de su sabor, como el buen vino. – DJ Hecu,

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
El trombonista colombiano Freddy Cruz, conocido también como El Vikingo De La Salsa, presenta quizás uno de los mejores álbumes salseros de este 2012 en Colombia.
La Solución es el primer trabajo discográfico de su propia inspiración como se puede leer en los liner notes del álbum. Freddy inicio como vocalista a temprana edad y posteriormente se quedo con el trombón. Esta leyenda de la música colombiana ha hecho parte de agrupaciones tan reconocidas como el Afrocombo de Pete Vicentini, El Combo Caliche junto con el pianista Joe Madrid, el Grupo Raíces y la el grupo de Adolfo Echeverría.
Todos los temas son composiciones y arreglos del propio Freddy Cruz, exceptuando el track que le le confiere el titulo al álbum, el cual fue compuesto por el bajista Danny Cruz, hijo de de Freddy Cruz.
Desde ya pronosticamos que esta seguramente será una de las mejores producciones discográficas. – DJ El Chino,

LOS HERMANOS MANGUAL | Los Hermanos Mangual Presentan: Sabor y Swing
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
La imagen de la belleza de las Islas del Caribe. La seducción de tu mente por palmeras, playas arenosas, gente cálida y amable de la isla, bebidas tropicales, la brisa cálida acariciando su cuerpo y la idea del amor. Eso es todo que lo necesario para disfrutar, el Swing Y Sabor del Caribe. La emoción y el estilo de vida vibrante de la felicidad y “disfrute”, característico de los pueblos del Caribe. Este album captura el espíritu, la esperanza y la cultura de un pueblo que vive y ama la música. –

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
El percusionista y líder de banda Sergio Chino Ramos, presenta el excelente disco de salsa ‘dura’ Indio de raza mayor. Acompañan a Chino Ramos los cantantes Reinaldo Titi Ortiz, conocido por su participación con la orquesta Hannover, y Chuito de Jesús. Chino Ramos adelantó estudios de percusión, piano y voz. Su trayectoria artística es tan extensa como diversa, incluye colaboraciones con agrupaciones como Wayne Gorbea y Salsa Picante, Sirak y su Sonora Antillana, Conjunto Clásico, Charlie Cajares y Son Boricua, entre otros. Reinaldo Titi Ortiz interpreta la canción Indio de raza mayor, homenaje a los indios tainos de Borinquen, grabada originalmente en los años ochenta con la orquesta Hannover en un disco de 45 rpm. El disco Indio de raza mayor se destaca por considerar el inmortal sentido de la salsa ‘dura’ de los años setenta, en la cual el ímpetu musical interpretativo se articulaba de manera ideal a los textos trascendentes de sus canciones. En tal sentido, este disco incluye canciones como La originalidad, un llamado a la responsabilidad social frente al respeto del quehacer creativo nuestro y de los demás. Reinaldo Titi Ortiz expresa un homenaje a su padre con la interpretación Canción a mi padre. El sabroso y rumbeletero Kumba kimba, interpretado con tempo rápido, tiene el ‘éxito’ asegurado entre los bailadores. Maltrato no, expresa un mensaje respetuoso y consciente con el cual se sugiere un adecuado comportamiento intrafamaliar. Chino Ramos nos sorprende en el último corte del disco, con el espléndido son montuno El rey del tres, en el cual participa como tresero y cantante la leyenda viva del tres puertorriqueño Don Mario Hernández. Los melómanos de línea ‘dura’ agradecemos tal deferencia. Solarlatinclub (Roberto Carlos Luján)

SON DE BARRIO DE PUERTO RICO | Que Nadie Te Quite Lo Bailao
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Con sabor, alegria y fuerza, suena la musica y Salsa desde el Barrio hacia el Mundo!
Comenzó como un grupo de música jíbara contemporánea y debido a la excelente exposición y aceptación ante el público sino que despúes de varias presentaciones en vivo junto al El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Son de Barrio de Puerto rico comienza ser respaldados por Rafael Ithier (El Lider, pianista y director de El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico) quien quedo impresionado por ver tanta excelencia, disciplina y calidad musical. El objetivo de Son de Barrio de Puerto Rico es llevar la música a todos los niveles y esferas sociales de forma actualizada, conquistando a todas las generaciones posibles, niños, jóvenes y adultos. Son de Barrio de Puerto Rico no es un mero grupo de música, sino un embajador de la cultura puertorriqueña a través de la música. LA PAZ! (Artists website)

GERARDO ROSALES | 30 Aniversario
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Boom! No holds-barred slammin’ salsa with guest singers Marcial Istúria, Orlando Castillo “Watussi”, Alberto Caicedo, Frankie Vázquez, Hermán Olivera, Javier Plaza, Joe Ruiz, Prisca Dávila, Miguel Montenegro, Nelson Arrieta, Mauricio Silva, and Cheo Valenzuela! Percussionist supreme Gerardo Rosales has outdone himself this time with an album of compositions designed to create an epiphany for the dancers and those who are on the fence. With tracks like the solid steel Pueblo Latino and the dripping-with-roots y sabor Guaguancó Pa’ Las Tumbadores, there is simply no turning back. And if you try, Esta Que Arde will render your efforts useless. The is very powerful stuff. Don’t miss the vibes enhanced mambo jam Picadillo A BIG Dj Alert. Very Highly Recommended. – elW

LA EXCELENCIA | Ecos Del Barrio
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
New York City. ‘Ground Zero’ for the urban hard-core Salsa Dura ’sound.’ While there have been some doubters throughout the land in recent times of that claim’s actual authenticity, here is a production that could have easily been titled “Exhibit A” to prove that point. What we have, instead, is a modern master-piece entitled ‘Ecos Del Barrio.’ The latest offering in a line of high quality musical and lyrical authenticity from LA EXCELENCIA – A group which the Salsa aficionado at large had long been hungry for to come around and permanently establish themselves. With this new production, they’ve accomplished this and then some. Formed on the basis of not just representing a type of sound, but an entire culture, La Excelencia is the voice of the people. The echoes that emanate from the open windows and the concrete landscape of the neighborhood ‘barrios.’ Echoes that bounce off the walls, intertwine and transform into a social message expressed through the explosive percussion of Cofresi, Silva and Dilone; the brassy trumpets of Powell and Hirose; the wailing and dancing trombones of ‘Kaji’ and Ronnie Prokopez; the heavy bass ‘tumbao’ of Bringas; and the intense sweeping of the black and white ivories of the young maestro, Willy Rodriguez… continues – Richie Blondet

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Every salsa aficionado has his or her favorite sextet. The Joe Cuba Sextet and New Swing Sextet quickly come to my mind. The combination of catchy lyrics, the celestial overtones of the vibraphone and a heavy dose of percussion combine for an irresistible urge to find a spot on the dance floor.
Led by Colombian vibraphonist bandleader Dorance Lorza, Sexteto Café is a rising name on the international salsa scene.
His sextet has proven via various recordings that you don’t have a large orchestra to be successful. Whether they are playing salsa or latin jazz one thing is for certain, they have the signature swing that has made all of their sextet predecessor’s legends in the Latin music genre.
Sexteto Café’s debut album Café Salsa smokes. Their other albums, Salsa Pa Ti and 10 years of Salsa, are also must haves in your musical library. What I enjoy most of this sextet is that there are no filler cuts in their recordings. Each track swings in it’s own way with balanced vocals and instrumentation. That, in my opinion, is a perfect recipe for recordings that eventually become classics.
Take a listen to his latest single release “Rumbero de Corazon” and you be the judge.
- Ray Cruz, Sabor Tropical, Hawaii Public Radio

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Now for something really special. This powerhouse salsa session from New York, with lots of PR sabor, features some potent original compositions as well as stellar interpretations of tunes by the likes of Tite Curet, Ñico Saquito, Roberto Anglero, and Pedro Flores. The band is led by percussionist Pedro “Pocholo” Segundo (Big 3 Palladium Orchestra, Jimmy Bosch, Madera Fina, Mario Ortiz, Jr., All Star Band etc.) and includes the esteemed pianist, arranger, musical director Gilberto “Pulpo” Colón Jr., who played for Rafi Val’s La Diferente, Kako’s All Stars and Pete “El Conde” Rodríguez, and, for sixteen years, was the pianist and arranger for Héctor Lavoe’s orchestra. Ruben Rodriguez is featured here on bass, and timbalero supreme Endel Dueño is in the house. Conguero Eric Velez, one of our finest percussionists, is part of the band, as is sax and flute plater Al Acosta. And the singers are all heavies: Osvaldo Roman, Luisito Ayala, Jorge Maldonado, and Rey Bayona. This is the real deal, and I urge you to pop this one in your arsenal. A big DJ Alert and Very Highly Recommended. – elW

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Wow, this one has been playing non-stop here at elWatusi Central. Looking for some cool new salsa with attitude and lots of soulful groove? Well, folks, here’s a very hip New York salsa-son-charanga band that fits the bill. Very loose, intoxicating jams with flute, trombone and a very deep dish of funk. Some original tracks and some covers of classics like Azucar, Mami Me Gusto and Convergencia. With conguero-singer Hector “Papote” Jimenez (Pablo “Chino” Nuñez, Ralphie Irrizary), violinist and trombonist Eddie Venegas (SonSublime, Alfredo Valdes Jr., Johnny Almendra), William Ash on bass, flute player and percussionist Itai Kriss, tresero Jacob Plasse, and Eddie Valentin on bongos. Very Highly Recommended. – elW

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Listen up, folks. Tromboranga is the new salsa organization organized by the supremely talented percussionist Joaquin Arteaga, the same force behind Barcelona’s highly regarded Bloque 53. This aggregation, though, leaves the vibes behind. Instead, way up front is a trio of super dynamic trombones that harken to the glory days of salsa: Conjunto Libre, Lavoe-Colón, and, as Arteaga astutely points out, the Venezuelan heavies Ray Pérez and Dimension Latina. This is amazing stuff that channels the pure essence of salsa. A superb effort that nails it. Very Highly Recommended. – elW

EDDIE MONTALVO | Desde Nueva York a Puerto Rico
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Man, stop whatever you’re doing because, whatever it is, this is more important! Eddie Montalvo, veteran conguero and rhythmic backbone for classic salsa superstars like Héctor Lavoe, Rubén Blades, Tony Pabón, Jimmy Bosch, Son Boricua, and the Fania All Stars, is back. Recorded in both Puerto Rico and New York, and featuring only first-pick musicians, Montalvo’s blistering new release instantly adds a cache to the New York salsa scene with the help of the PR salsa elite. This is capitol “S” Salsa at it’s very best, with compositions by Justi Barretto, Junior Toledo, Tite Curet, Raphael Ithier, Domingo Quiñones etc.. With stellar arrangements by veterans like Carlos Torres, Pablo “Chino” Nuñez, Papo Lucca, José M. Lugo, and Nelson Jaime you will justified in having very high expectations. Folks, you will not be dissapointed. Desde Nueva York A Puerto Rico may, in fact, be the salsa release of the year. Now sit back while I tell you the names of the guests singers: Ruben Blades, Cheo Feliciano, Rico Walker, Tito Gonzalez, Domingo Quiñones, Wichy Camacho, Issac Delgado, and Hector “Pichie” Perez. Other icons here are Papo Lucca (Sonora Ponceña) and none other than timbalero Willie Rosario! None-stop back-to-back tracks of sizzling sabor. A big DJ Alert and…
Very Highly Recommended. – elW

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Chico Alvarez continues to be one of our most treasured flame-keepers of authentic Afro-Latin music traditions. As a craftsman his compositions and arrangements are pristine, but as an artist he’s teaching a new generation of players more about soul and sabor than anyone I can think of. He’s the real deal. Check out his new album El Montunero, an homage to the great big-band sound, and hear why. – elW

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Bobby Sanabria’s new album Multiverse is exactly as the name suggests; divergent, convergent, multidimensional, and expanding in all directions… Multiverse should not only contend for Best Latin Jazz Album, but for Best Jazz Album of the Year, as well. This recording has taken all the great elements of the Latin Jazz universe and has fused with so many other genres to truly create a multiverse of musical dimensions. In the first track alone, the easily recognizable Latin rhythms were joined by Big Band, Free Jazz, and Fusion stylings. Folklorist Elena Martinez gives insightful and analytical description of it in her liner notes of the CD. Also included in the liner is a telling quotation from Octavio Paz from 1970. “Life is plurality, death is uniformity.” Such is Bobby Sanabria’s Mulitiverse. The plurality is invigorating and life-affirming… Indeed, the Bobby Sanabria Big Band has celebrated and venerated the past and present of jazz. From Ellington to Bauza, Bobby has instructed us on our musical heritage and has given great reason to revel in what has been offered to us in the last 100 years. But Bobby has not stopped there. Instead, his drum propels us forward into furthering the expressions of art and life… Travis Rogers,

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Boom! The elder statesmen of salsa, Rubén Blades and José “Cheo” Feliciano, have joined forces on a remarkable new salsa release that is the culmination of their over forty years of friendship and professional association. The two shining stars of the Fania legacy are serious about getting you to dance, and if anyone knows how to get the job done right, it’s these two guys. This is a smokin’ vibes-based project that reminds me, at times, of the great Louie Ramirez at his peak. The session features some superb talent: Luis Marin (piano, vibes), Felipe Fournier and Raul Rodriguez (vibes), Charlie Sierra (timbales, bongo), William “Cachiro” Thompson and Georgie Padilla (congas), Louie Garcia (tres), Pedro Pérez (bass) and others. Coro? We have Darvel Garcia, Wichi Camacho, Chegüi Ramos and Primi Cruz.
Produced by Ariel Rivas, the album is dedicated to the memory of Pedro Arroyo, a legendary radio programmer and founder of the musical celebration “Dia Nacional De La Salsa” in Puerto Rico.
Don’t just sit there, folks, get this one fast. It’s a gem that conjures the spirit of salsa auténtica at its very best. From pumped up dance numbers like Nina to smoldering floor burners like Lo Bueno Ya Viene, this is a wall-to-wall treat. A big DJ alert and Very Highly Recommended. – elW

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Wow! Did you say you want some classic capital “S” Salsa? Well, folks, you got it! Marlow Rosado, arranger, pianist and director of the La Riqueña orquestra, has arrived on the scene with a killer dance-club ready release that throws fireballs left and right. On his second release, Rosado has surrounded himself with an army of salsa greats: Ismael Miranda, Bobby Cruz, Tony Vega, Luigi Texidor, Marlon Fernández, Kevin Ceballo, Papo Lucca, Tito Puente Jr., Quique Domenech, Salvador Cuevas and others. Listen to the opening track Tema Riqueña and it will be clear that Rosado’s influences are ’70s Fania-era salsa auténtica. The tracks on the aptly titled Retro are pumped up, high-octane, versions of classics like Eddie Palmieri’s Adoración, Tite Curet’s Anacaona, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz’ Agúzate, Rosendo Ruiz’ Fuego a la Jicotea, Raphy Leavitt’s Jibaro Soy and Ismael Miranda’s Señor Sereno. This one is a major DJ Alert. Check out the audio clips and see why this one is Very Highly Recommended. – elW

RICA OBSESION | Llego Mi Turno
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Llego Mi Turno is the debut album release by Chicago-based Salsa band Rica Obsesion. There were some personnel transitions during the making of this project including the death of lead trumpeter Micah Frazier (the cover art of album is dedicated to the late Micah and two other musicians who passed on, Richie Pillot and Victor Calito). In addition to the band’s regular core members, there are quite a few appearances on the according by various distinguished guests including Chicago’s powerhouse reed player Steve Eisen and New York’s percussionist Bobby Allende. Willy Torres-Maisonet produced, mixed and mastered the project. The overall recording has a strong 70s Nuyorican Salsa vibe (including that steady bari sax bottom in the metales) – it’s richly-orchestrated, well-arranged and very danceable.
There are a lot of strong up-tempo dance numbers in this recording, but our personal favorite track is actually Track 3, Baila Mi Cha Cha, which has some excellent call and response work in the metales. One of the distinguishing marks of Rica Obsesion locally is a deep coro, and that carries over into the recording, with strong vocals throughout. We anticipate that some of the songs – Dejala Con Sus Mentiras, Dinamita or Tu No Sabes Querer, for example, will probably get some radio rotation outside of the Chicago and New York markets.
Llego Mi Turno is a worthy addition to the libraries of Salsa lovers and is also further evidence that Chicago’s Latin music scene has been underappreciated nationally. Hopefully this recording will help change that state of affairs. – Bill Tilford,

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
La agrupación Cubanísimo, fundada en 1998 en Alemania, liderada por el pianista, arreglista y compositor cubano Ricardo Álvarez, presentó en 2012 el disco Marketing, una nueva entrega discográfica luego de su disco debut de 1999. Álvarez posee una amplia trayectoria forjada en expresiones como la nueva trova, el jazz y el funk, entre otras. Marketing es en líneas generales un disco de timba ‘dura’ -designación diferencial respecto de aquella timba tipo balada, caracterizada por su baja dinámica musical-, de esa manera se clasifican algunas interpretaciones en este disco. En tal sentido, encontramos canciones como Marketing, El nombrete y La carne, entre otras. Marketing, más allá de dicho énfasis, reserva dos números dedicados a la música tradicional cubana: el primero, Canto a la música cubana (son-cha), participan Eddy Cardoza (piano y arreglo) y Sixto El Indio Llorente (cantante). El segundo, Herencia Yoruba (guaguancó-guaracha) reivindica esa influyente cultura africana en América. La acendrada cubanía de Cubanísimo, hace historia en Europa. Solarlatinclub (Por Roberto Carlos Luján)

Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
Man! Veteran timbalero supreme, Mr. Ralph Irizarry, is back with an absolute hand-grenade of salsa dura. Irizarry, for you newbies out there, has played timbales for a who’s-who of salsa and Latin jazz icons including Ray Barretto, Larry Harlow, Yomo Toro, Gerardo Rosales, Paoli Mejias and many others. Aside from his own, highly regarded, bands Son Café and Timbalaye, he’s widely known as the timbalero for Rubén Blades‘ bands since the mid ’80s up to, and including, the recent, fabulous, Todos Vuelven live concerts.
Viejos Pero Sabrosos is a relentless wave of fist-in-the-air salsa: a powerful statement about salsa musicians transcending time and becoming ever more potent with age. It’s an homage to the players of the past (Reunión Celestial sings the praises of the Fania All Stars) and an affirmation of the current elder generation’s power and sabor (Como El Vino). This is a band made up of players who no longer have anything to prove, as they’ve kicked ass so many countless times in the past. Here, within this new Los Viejos formation, they’re playing solely for the love of it. I’ll mention but a few members: Eddie Montalvo and José ‘Pepe’ Espinosa on congas, pianists Edy Martínez, Ricky González and Mike Eckroth, trombonist Reynaldo Jorge, bassist Rubén Rodríguez, trumpeters Nelson “Gazú” Jaime and Elias Lopes …and other members of the salsa elite. The lead singers are none other than Venezuela’s Marcial Isturiz (Bailatino, Descarga Criolla, La Negramenta, Rumberos del Calejón) and New York’s own legendary singer/percussionist José Mangual Jr. (Héctor Lavoe, Willie Colón, Son Boricua, Mario Bauzá, etc.). Coro? They are Willie Ruiz, José ‘Pepito’ Gómez, Joseph ’Quique’ González, Eddie Rosado, and Héctor ‘Papote’ Jiménez.
My suggestion, folks, is to get this one but fast. Viejos Pero Sabrosos is a shoo-in for the Best of 2012 list.
A Big DJ Alert and Very Highly Recommended. – elW

BLOQUE 53 | Tumba Puchunga
Editor’s Pick: Best of 2012
Available as high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC format.
DJ Alert! Because Bloque 53 is back with a swinging vibes-based salsa project that will seduce you right on to the dancefloor. Get ready to be reminded why you fell in love with salsa in the first place. With this, their third release, Joaquin Arteaga and his crew, all craftsmen of clave, continue to raise the bar for Afro-Antillana dance music. Bloque 53 is part of the new generation of salsa orchestras, and have defined themselves as one of the premier dance bands to evolve over the past several years. Fortified with vibes and trombones, the band seamlessly mixes cutting edge salsa dura with the heavy swing of classic roots salsa auténtica. Singers Yadira Ferrer, Damian Alonso “el Bombon” and Freddy Ramos quickly bring their latest production to a full sizzling boil. A Big DJ Alert and Very Highly Recommended. – elW

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