Some very cool stuff from Venezuela’s Palacio label has just been made available on elWatusi. Federico, Dimas Pedroza, Wilman Cano and, one that I find extremely interesting, Las 4 Monedas, a vintage pop family group that were pioneers of Venezuelan ska and reggae. Very hip stuff.
Click to download this collection
This never before released collection is a production of monumental stature. A complete history of the greatest Latin music band ever assembled. From Héctor Lavoe and Ray Barretto to Celia Cruz and even Stevie Wonder, the best of the best played with the Fania All Stars as they travelled the world over recording sold out shows around the globe. Their legacy is a mix of hits and live show jams that only they could play. A boiling mix of Salsa, Jazz, AfroCuban and Soul. These carefully selected tracks will allow us to discover and experience the greatest songs from the studio and the live show experience the Fania All Stars were known for. This selection is dedicated to their superb musicianship. A must-have for all true salsa collectors.
Over 50 tracks…
Johnny Pacheco. Larry Harlow. Ray Barretto. Bobby Valentín. Barry Rogers. Willie Colón. Roberto Roena. Yomo Toro. Cheo Feliciano. Héctor Lavoe. Pete “El Conde” Rodríguez. Santos Colón. Adalberto Santiago. Celia Cruz. Rubén Blades. Ismael Miranda. The list seemed to go on and on and on. It was a hall-of-fame lineup to die for. Each name alone was capable of drawing thousands, but as a team, they moved the masses. They were called the Fania All Stars and were managed by a shrewd Italian American ex-cop turned lawyer turned Latin music mogul, Jerry Masucci. Under his stewardship, the Fania All Stars would become famous worldwide performing an irresistible kind of music that was as full of zest and spice as its very name: salsa.
“We had Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans in the Fania All Stars, two Jews, and an Englishman,” said Fania Records cofounder and All Stars musical director Johnny Pacheco in a 2008 NPR interview. “And when you make salsa, you have different condiments. It’s a New York sound but with Cuban music.” Bandleader and pianist Larry Harlow describes salsa as “Afro-Cuban music mixed with New York City bebop.” But while some took to the term, others had no use for the word. The late, great conguero Ray Barretto, one of those essential “condiments” to the Fania All Stars sound, summed it up this way: “The only words we knew salsa to be was the sauce you put on food.”
Whether one thought the word apt to describe the mélange of music brewing on the streets of El Barrio, on the cuchifrito circuit, and in the Catskill mountain hotels of New York in the 1960s and ’70s, its sonic presence was undeniably being felt. “When I moved to New York from Pittsburgh in the ’60s to play with Jack McDuff, I had a cousin who lived in Spanish Harlem,” says jazz singer/guitarist George Benson, himself no stranger to crossover success, in a recent Barnes and Noble website interview. “We heard a lot of the music. We were in touch with Johnny Pacheco; he was recording with us. We saw the whole beginning of salsa music, how it was unacceptable at first. A lot of Latinos around the world didn’t particularly like salsa because they considered it a bastard music, but we saw it grow out of that, and now it’s full grown.”
One of salsa’s preeminent bandleaders for four decades and one of the genre’s premier bongo players, Puerto Rican-born Roberto Roena Vázquez started as a dancer, and was later dubbed "El Gran Bailarín" (The Great Dancer). He developed parallel skills as a percussionist and got his big break in the mid-’50s when Rafael Cortijo recruited him to his legendary Combo. When pianist Rafael Ithier led a defection of sidemen from Cortijo’s Combo in 1962 to become the basis of El Gran Combo, Roena remained until Cortijo departed for New York. After a brief stint with the orchestra of Mario Ortiz, Roena was invited to replace El Gran Combo’s departing bongosero and stayed with the band until 1969. Roberto made his recording debut as a leader in 1966 with a short-lived band called Megatones on Se Pone Bueno / It Gets Better on Alegre Records. Three years later he signed with Fania International (later called International Records), a division of Fania Records, and debuted with his band Apollo Sound on Roberto Roena y su Apollo Sound. Roena hired some of Puerto Rico’s most creative arrangers to develop Apollo Sound into one of salsa’s most progressive and sophisticated outfits with their own highly distinctive style. The tail end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s was a challenging period in Roena’s career. In 1978 his groundbreaking band Apollo Sound lost trombonist and innovative arranger Julio "Gunda" Merced and haemorrhaged six other members who joined Merced in his new band Salsa Fever. Roena staged a remarkable recovery and the first album by the reconstituted Apollo Sound, El Progreso (Fania International, 1978), was one of his finest. He continued to record as a leader with the Fania family up to 1982, thereafter he made albums for the Pa’lante, Up, Sonostar, Musical Productions and Roan labels. – John Child
“A successful MASSIVE summer is at it´s end! I traveled around the world and played gigs in cities like New York, Munich, Zurich, Dusseldorf, Basel or Utrecht among other great places like Carthago Salsa Congress in Tunisia.
Back home in beautiful beloved Munster I try to relax as well as I practice and prepare new stuff for my upcoming gigs outside the country & of course for my people in Germany!
Currently so much is happening in Salsa, and ‘El Watusi’ has been releasing so much great music with lots of energy that I decided to share a new updated playlist with you ‘Watusis’ Hope you enjoy…and remember ‘Old School’ is True School’…but stay open minded to the world of music & to the Latin culture!
Gracias a nuestro Señor, a nuestro Dios por todo.” – DJ DAVE
DJ Dave is an important member of the elWatusi family of the World’s Best DJs!
Click here for Part 1
Here’s Part 2 of a totally hilarious series of animated movies poking fun at the salsa dance instructional industry that has developed over the past decade or so. Its creator, Jake, is a lover of salsa and is himself a salsa dance instructor, albeit with a terrific self-deprecating sense of humor. Some of his jabs are so spot-on, that you just know he’s been in the biz quite a while. I have been waiting for someone to do something like this. Love it. Great work, Jake. We’ll be posting the entire series over time.
We are delighted to include the Muziq catalog from New York.
Muziq Inc. Records was founded in 2004 by Ernie Acevedo, President, Angelo Gonzalez, Vice President and Jr. Rivera, Assistant Vice President. Muziq Inc. Records emerged after Conjunto Imagen had recorded several releases with the recording labels J&N Records and Platano Records. After the record business started to decline, record companies were extremely hesitant in producing new recordings. This was our opportunity to start our own label.
After producing our first release under the Muziq Inc. Records label, we decided to open
our label to other artists, such as Ralphy Santi (Todavia Tengo Ansia ), Frankie Morales and Mambo of the Times Orchestra (A Toda Velocidad), CharanSaIsa (Para Bailar Y Gozar!) and Jenny Colon (Ahora Sí ). Muziq Inc. Records is venturing into releasing recordings not only of the Salsa sound, but also Merengue, Reggaeton, Hip Hop and Rap as well.
I really like this mash-up of Bronx Latin hip-hop culture and that of vintage mambo era dancing. If you like it, visit the totally cool website of artist Santiago: www.riceandbeanz.net
What do you get when you cross Planet Rock vs. Pin up, Beat Street vs. West Side Story, Boomboxes, B-girls, Bronx ballrooms and bombshells from back in the day ?
Frankie Baby – a vintage urban Pin-up apparel project. by artist Derek Santiago and photographer Frank Antonio mashing up New York CIty’s Latin Mambo era of the 1950s, vintage glamourous Pin ups, and the wildly creative Bronx street culture of the 1980s.
The ingredients of this clip I put together pays respectful homage to the old inspiration, and the direction we aim to take the culture.
If you love, then spread this video.
Some very cool reissues coming your way on midnight Monday 10/11. Great stuff from Roberto y Su Nuevo Montuno, Orquesta Dicupe, The Latinaires, Johnny Pacheco, Monguito, Larry Harlow, Justo Betancourt, Santitos Colón, George Guzman and others.
Click on the photo to enlarge. Then get ready to download exactly midnight Monday!
Born Héctor Juan Pérez Martínez on September 30th 1946 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, he was dubbed "Lavoe" by a New York City dance promoter. He also acquired the title "El Cantante" (The Singer), after the title of the biographical song Rubén Blades composed for his 1978 album Comedia on Fania Records. His high nasal voice and style of phrasing are unmistakable, and his often witty, sometimes risque, ad-libbed anecdotes became renowned. When he was 17, he decided to seek his fortune in New York. Upon his arrival in May 1963, he was hired to perform with a sextet. This was followed by stints with Russell Cohen’s group La New Yorkers, with whom he recorded the single "Está De Bala" in 1965, and Kako.
Fania co-founder Johnny Pacheco brought Lavoe in to provide lead vocals on Willie Colón’s 1967 debut for the label, El Malo (The Bad Guy). The combination of Willie’s two-trombone sound with Héctor’s jibaro style was a smash hit and they continuously played the circuits in New York and Puerto Rico, and between 1967 and 1975, Héctor sang on 12 of Willie’s albums (this included two compilations). In 1974, while he was at the peak of his popularity, Willie announced the breakup of his band. This stunned Héctor and the rest of the salsa world. Eventually Héctor took over the band. With two trumpets added to the two-trombone frontline, Héctor made his solo debut on the Colón-produced La Voz in 1975. The album went gold. In May the following year Héctor garnered Latin NY magazine awards for "Best Male Vocalist" and "Best Conjunto". He went on to make a further seven solo albums with Fania between 1976 and 1987, as well as record with the Fania All Stars, Tito Puente, Daniel Santos, Yomo Toro and Willie Colón. However, his career was dogged by drug problems and went into deeper crisis in 1987 when his teenage son tragically died, his home was destroyed by fire and he was diagnosed to be suffering from AIDS. A failed suicide attempt in 1988 left him critically ill until he finally succumbed to a heart attack on June 29th 1993.
- John Child