August 31, 2011
Writer and filmmaker Mathew Ramirez Warren has almost completed his extraordinary documentary of the Boogaloo movement in New York City in the ’60s and ’70s. Below you will find a trailer video, as well as a way to help support the completion of the project. Show your support and keep the flame burning. Beep beep, ahhh, beep beep…
From 1965 to 1970, musicians in New York City fused English and Spanish lyrics with Afro-Cuban, jazz, rock and R&B rhythms and melodies to create Latin boogaloo. It was a period of revolution and social awakening and young Latinos in search of their identity, growing up in neighborhoods like East Harlem and the South Bronx, adopted Latin boogaloo as their soundtrack.
This audience, once on the verge of leaving Latin music behind, now came to appreciate it. With the emergence of salsa, another New York creation, some say the Latin boogaloo was killed off, not by the fans, but by industry politics. We Like It Like That explores this fascinating, though often overlooked, bridge in Latin music history, seeking to understand its context in the story of Latinos in America and its continued influence around the world today.
Featuring original interviews with Joe Bataan, Johnny Colon, Ricardo Ray, Jimmy Sabater (of the Joe Cuba Sextet), Joey Pastrana, Larry Harlow, Harvey Averne, Angel Lebron (of the Lebron Brothers), Benny Bonilla (of the the Pete Rodriguez band), Felipe Luciano, Aurora Flores, Sandra Maria Esteves, Alex Masucci, Oliver Wang, Juan Flores, Bobby Sanabria, Bobbito Garcia and others.
A work in progress cut of the film premiered in New York City at Central Park Summer Stage on August 10th, alongside an amazing concert with Mr. Boogaloo Blues, Johnny Colon and the king of Latin soul, Joe Bataan.
We filmed the event and plan to include footage from what turned out to be a truly special and historic night in the final version of the film. Read more about the event at the Summer Stage Website and watch Johnny and Joe discuss their music and promote the event, along with DJ Turmix on the ABC7 show Tiempo.
Where Will the Funds Go?
The funds from this campaign will see us through the final edit of the film and help us buy the rights to more of the archival footage needed to complete and officially release the film.
Because We Like It Like That is a music documentary, we are also in the process of securing rights to the songs that we highlight in the film. If we raise any money over our funding level we will put it towards buying song rights.
We have finished about 3/4 of the film! It has taken almost two years to get to this point, but we are thankful to be here. However, making a documentary is only half the work. Releasing the film is the other half. Through Kickstarter we hope to raise enough funds to put us well on our way towards completing the film for submission to major film festivals, PBS, a possible theatrical release and a successful DVD release. Our reason for making this film has been to inform the public about this incredible period in New York City and Latin music history, and to put a spotlight on the music of these phenomenal artists, whose musical contributions have been overlooked for too long.
How do I keep updated on the film?
Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter to keep updated on our progress.
Mathew Ramirez Warren
New York, NY
Writer and filmmaker, Mathew Ramirez Warren is a native of New York City. He received an M.A. from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and has been a regular contributor to the New York Times and Wax Poetics Magazine. In 2007, he began exploring documentary filmmaking, and in addition to his work in print, he has produced numerous videos for NYTimes.com and WaxPoetics.com. Since beginning work on his upcoming feature length documentary on the Latin boogaloo era, "We Like It Like That," Mathew has come to be viewed as an expert in the field and has written the liner notes on several album re-issues for Fania Records. He continues to live in New York City and has established his own production company, Muddy Science.
August 25, 2011
Havana-born trumpeter, reedman, pianist, composer, musical director Mario Bauzá (1911-1993) is credited as the creator of Latin jazz (a term he loathed). He was adopted and raised by his godparents and tutored by his godfather. He attended Havana’s Municipal Academy from the age of seven; debuted on clarinet with the Havana Philharmonic at the age of nine and became a regular member from 12. He played clarinet at Havana nightspots and met Machito (1908-1984) around 1923/4. He made a brief trip to New York City in 1926 with the orchestra of pianist and composer Antonio María Romeu (1876-1955) to play clarinet on danzón recordings for RCA. He experienced jazz first hand in Harlem, having heard it on Cuban radio, and was inspired to learn alto sax by seeing Paul Whiteman’s band. He graduated from the Havana Municipal Conservatory in 1927 and played together with Machito in the teenage orchestra Los Jovenes Rendención in 1928.
He relocated to NYC in 1930, travelling on the same ship as Don Azpiazú’s Havana Casino Orchestra with singer Antonio Machín (1900-1977), who are widely credited for introducing Cuban music to the USA in 1931 with their crossover hit "El Manisero" (The Peanut Vendor). Bauzá learned trumpet in two to three weeks to record with Machín’s group Cuarteto Machín. He worked with numerous orchestras over the next decade, including Cuban trumpeter Vicente Sigler (regarded as probably the first big Latin dance band to perform in NYC during the ’20s), Noble Sissle ‘31-2, and Hi Clark and His Missourians at the Savoy Ballroom. Chick Webb spotted Bauzá while performing with the latter in 1933 and hired him as his lead trumpeter. Webb promoted him to musical director the following year, but he was fired from the band in 1937 or ‘38 after an argument with a club owner or because of the jealously of certain band members (accounts vary). Bauzá helped launch the career of Ella Fitzgerald by introducing her to Webb. In 1936 he married Machito’s sister Estella (c. 1912-1983). During 1937-9 he worked briefly with Don Redman and Fletcher Henderson, then replaced Doc Cheatham in Cab Calloway’s band in 1939. He became a close friend and influence on Dizzy Gillespie (they met in Webb’s band); and gave Gillespie a major break by faking illness to enable Gillespie to substitute for him and be heard by Calloway, who then recruited him. He also introduced Gillespie to Chano Pozo in 1947, helping to change the course of jazz.
In 1941 he joined Machito’s Afro-Cubans, reorganising and expanding the band. While Machito was absent for military service in 1943, Bauzá is said to have been responsible for the genesis of the jazz/Latin fusion called at various times: Afro-Cuban jazz, Cubop and Latin jazz, when he created "Tanga" (meaning: marijuana) during a rehearsal. "Mario, through his efforts married these musics to incorporate as much richness in rhythm and harmony as possible; all bands, therefore that came after the Afro-Cubans were just followers," stated Chico O’Farrill (1921-2001). With Bauzá as musical director, the Machito orchestra redefined the Latin sound as hot Cuban music, as opposed to bands like that of Cugat, which played a polite style for white hotels. Machito described him as the architect of his orchestra. Bauzá may have been the inventor of Afro-Cuban jazz, but many consider that the band’s popular trademark sound was provided by the consistently jazz-inflected arrangements of René Hernández (died: 1977), Machito’s arranger and pianist from 1945 to ‘66. Hernández went on to work with the Tito Rodríguez orchestra and wrote arrangements for many bands on the NYC Latin scene including Eddie Palmieri.
In 1974 Bauzá produced the LP Esa Soy Yo, Yo Soy Asi on Mericana for Graciela (1915-2010; Machito’s sister, and singer with his band from 1943) and co-produced the Grammy-nominated Dizzy Gillespie y Machito: Afro-Cuban Jazz Moods on Pablo in 1975, both with O’Farrill, but split acrimoniously with Machito after 35 years in late ‘75 when he objected to Machito’s son Mario Grillo being moved from bongo to timbales (to replace José Madera): the upshot was that Mario Grillo replaced Bauzá. Bauzá organised a band with Graciela to make the LP La Botanica (Lamp / Coco, 1977), which sold poorly. He continued guesting on LPs such as Rafael Cortijo’s Caballo de Hierro (Coco, 1978) and Típica 73’s Into The ’80’s (Fania, 1981). Bauzá and Graciela’s 1986 project Afro-Cuban Jazz With Graciela, Mario Bauzá And Friends for Caimán Records garnered a Grammy nomination. The twosome also featured on Rica Charanga (Caimán, 1986) by veteran vocalist Rudy Calzado (1929-1911).
He commissioned O’Farrill to develop "Tanga" into the four-movement "Tanga Suite", which his orchestra first performed at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church on October 21st, 1989. In 1990 he was appointed Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University, where he conducted the Harvard University Jazz Band. After seeing his Afro-Cuban Jazz Concert Orchestra (featuring Graciela and Calzado) performing with Gillespie for Bauzá’s 80th Birthday Tribute at NYC’s Symphony Space in April 1991, German Messidor label boss Götz A. Wörner signed him up. Bauzá’s 1992 Messidor debut Tanga, including "Tanga Suite" expanded to five parts, was voted album of the year in the downbeat critics’ poll. In 1992 he appeared with his orchestra in The Cosby Show along with Willie Colón’s band and performed on The Mambo Kings soundtrack album. He toured USA and Europe with his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. His Messidor follow-up My Time Is Now was released in June 1993, the following month he died of cancer in the apartment he had occupied for 50 years, the address of which provided the title of the posthumous release 944 Columbus (Messidor, 1994), recorded in May 1993. "This is the last thing I’m going to do for the new generation," he told Calzado. – John Child
Mario Bauzá Discography
August 17, 2011
Cuban-born pianist, organist, bandleader, arranger and composer Pérez Prado (Dámaso Pérez Prado, 1916-1989) popularised a diluted form of the mambo. He studied classical piano at the Principal School of Matanzas and played with local bands. He relocated to Havana in the late 1930s, where he initially performed with bands at the Pennsylvania and Kursaal nightclubs. In 1940 he briefly worked as an arranger and pianist with Orquesta Casino de la Playa (four sides he recorded with the band are collected on the 1991 CD Memories Of Cuba 1937-44 on Tumbao). He also worked with Orquesta Cubaney (led by trumpeter Pilderó), Paulina Álvarez’s orchestra and the CMQ radio band. He formed his own band in 1946, and made his first overseas tour and recordings the following year. Sides he recorded in Cuba between 1947 and ‘49 are compiled on Kuba-Mambo (Tumbao, 1991).
Prado gave inconsistent accounts of how and when he started writing mambos. It is posited that he utilised the term already popularised by danzón-mambos performed by the flute and strings orchestra Arcaño y sus Maravillas, to develop a formula for his brass-and-sax jazz-type line-up. He made little impact in Cuba, so went to Mexico in 1948 and worked with various bands before organising another band. He hired the Blanquita de Cuba theatre where he performed the successful show Al Son del Mambo (To The Sound of the Mambo). He teamed-up with the Cuban sonero Benny Moré for highly successful Mexican tours, a notable appearance at Panama carnival and numerous recordings: "El Barbaro Del Ritmo" Mambos by Beny Moré (Tumbao, 1991) collects sides recorded on RCA Victor with Moré between 1948 and ‘50, arguably some of his finest and most authentic recordings.
He made his US debut in May 1951 for a one-nighter with a pick-up band (including Mongo Santamaría) at the Ashland Auditorium for Chicago’s Mexican Youth Center. He took up residence in USA after being kicked out of Mexico in bizarre circumstances. There he recorded for Seeco, United Artists, Epic and other labels, but mostly for RCA. His best-known mambos were numbered: "Mambo No. 5" (1949, said to have been the first major crossover mambo hit), "Mambo No. 8" (both included on Go Go Mambo! ‘92 on Tumbao, a collection of recordings he made in Mexico between 1949 and ‘50 and New York City in ‘51). The mambo gradually became a craze in various Latin countries and a national fad in the USA in 1954. In the USA Latin community the three mambo kings were Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodríguez; although the last two also recorded for RCA, Prado became the best known of them all because he had the biggest crossover hit: "Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White" in 1955. "Cerisier Rose et Pommer Blanc" was published in Paris in 1950, recorded by Prado as "Cerazo Rosa" in 1951 (included in Go Go Mambo!) and again in 1955 for use in the film Underwater with Jane Russell; the arrangement had a slower tempo than Prado’s other mambos and a spectacular trumpet solo by Billy Regis. It was no. 1 in the USA for ten weeks and for two weeks in the UK. He had a second no. 1 in 1958 with "Patricia", a bouncy organ-led jazzish cha cha chá.
Prado left the US in 1970 (it was rumoured that he had fallen foul of Internal Revenue Service), continued to tour the world, and returned to Mexico. Mongo Santamaría, Doc Cheatham, René Bloch (reedman and later bandleader), Johnny Pacheco (on percussion) and Ray Barretto were among those who passed through Prado’s band. Other compilations include Al Compás del Mambo 1950-52 (Tumbao, 1993), Mambo Mania / Havana 3 A.M. (including most of the hits) and Voodoo Suite / Exotic Suite (the former included Shorty Rogers on trumpet) on Bear Family. The lesser 1958 hit "Guaglione" was a UK top ten hit in 1995 through its use in a Guinness stout TV ad; and it became chic to use Prado or Prado sound-alike mambos in other ads and as TV themes and incidental music. In 1999, Lou Bega’s cover of "Mambo No. 5" became a worldwide hit; it reached no. 3 in the Billboard Hot 100; remained no. 1 in Australia for eight weeks; topped almost every European chart, including Bega’s home country, Germany, and set a record by staying at no. 1 in France for 20 weeks. – John Child
Pérez Prado Discography
August 9, 2011
The phenomenal trumpet-led string, percussion and voices institution La Sonora Matancera was established on January 12th, 1924 in Cuba’s Matanzas province (hence the name) in the home of tres guitarist Valentín Cané. Originally called Tuna Liberal, their line-up included bassist Pablo Vázquez "Bubú" (died: 1969), timbalero Manuel Sánchez "Jimagua", Ismael Goberna on cornet and three guitarists. Two key individuals entered the group in 1926: maracas player and third vocalist Caíto (Carlos Manuel Díaz Alonso, 1905-1990) whose falsetto voz de vieja (meaning: "old woman’s voice") chorus singing style became a trademark, and guitarist and singer Rogelio Martínez (1898-2001), later the group’s leader. The group also underwent one of its several name changes that year by becoming Estudiantina Sonora Matancera. In January 1927 the group moved to Havana. Their trailblazing use of uniforms was initially mocked, but swiftly became the norm; with rapid acceptance came gigs at numerous celebrated Havana venues, including the La Tropical and Marte y Belona nightclubs, Havana Sports Club, Alhambra Theatre, Galician Centre and on the radio. They made their first recording on Victor in mid-1928. They repeatedly performed for the Cuban leader General Gerardo Machado Morales between 1929 and 1932.
In 1930 the group settled for the name La Sonora Matancera (The Matanzas Group). In 1932 José Rosario Chávez "Manteca" replaced Jimagua on timbales. Former Septeto Nacional trumpeter / composer Calixto Leicea replaced the ailing Ismael Goberna (who subsequently died) as first trumpeter in 1935. The same year, Valentín switched to conga and his son Humberto Cané was hired to play tres. Bienvenido Granda (1915-1983) sang lead vocals from the early ’40s to the mid-’50s; he left due to differences with Martínez. Peerless pianist, composer, arranger Lino Frías (died: April 1983) played piano from 1944 to 1976 (he retired due to arthritis), followed by notable New York-based salsa pianist, bandleader, arranger, composer and producer Javier Vázquez (Bubú’s son). Second trumpeter Pedro Knight was added on January 6th, 1944 in order to rival other bands with three trumpets. After marrying Celia Cruz (lead singer ‘50-65) on July 14th, 1962 in Mexico City, he retired from the band on April 30th, 1967. Raimundo Elpidio Vázquez replaced his father Bubú on bass in 1954. Valentín departed in 1947 and Martínez was appointed leader. Manteca left in 1955. Papaíto joined as timbalero in 1960 and trumpeter Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros joined Leicea from 1976 to 1980.
Besides Granda and Cruz, over 60 singers performed with La Sonora, including Daniel Santos, Myrta Silva, Miguelito Valdés, Bobby Capó, Vicentico Valdés, Nelson Pinedo, Laíto (Estanislao Sureda), Alberto Beltrán, Carlos Argentino, Leo Marini, Celio González, Willy "El Baby" Rodríguez, Justo Betancourt, Elliot Romero, Yayo el Indio, Roberto Torres, Wuelfo Gutiérrez, Jorge Maldonado, Cali Alemán, Ismael Miranda, Fernando Lavoy and Frankie Vázquez.
Embracing both Cuban and other Latin rhythms, they are said to have recorded approximately 4000 songs for assorted labels, including Victor, Panart, Stinton, Seeco / Tropical, Ansonia, Orfeón, Bárbaro (a Fania sister label) and Fania. Their fame peaked across Latin American and the Caribbean during the ’50s. They left Cuba for good on June 15th, 1960, ostensibly to work in Mexico for four weeks; they stayed two years and then relocated to New York City in 1962. Their 65th anniversary was celebrated by a three concert series in June 1989, reuniting them with 13 former lead singers. The June 1st, 1989 concert was released as Live! From Carnegie Hall: 65th Anniversary Celebration (Team, 1989). One of Cuba’s earliest co-operative bands, this buttressed their enduring solidarity; they also never felt the necessity for written contracts. Recommended albums include Se Formó La Rumbantela ‘94 on Tumbao (an anthology of Victor recordings ‘48-50); Algo Especial and the hits compilation 50 Años, which collects 24 tracks ‘49-59, both on Seeco; the Betancourt reunion Sonora Matancera con Justo Betancourt ‘81 and the Celia Cruz reunion Feliz Encuentro ‘82, both on Bárbaro; 65 Aniversario ‘89 on Seeco, which collects hits ‘51-58; and Sonora Matancera Live on the radio 1952-1958 ‘96 on Harlequin. – John Child
La Sonora Matancera Discography
August 8, 2011
Colombia’s DJ El Chino, compiler of the popular Salsa Word Series albums, has taken on a new role… that of digital distributor. The entrepreneurial disk jockey (Luis Felipe Valero) has begun to digitally represent some excellent salsa bands that might not have otherwise had the exposure they deserve. El Chino’s catalog starts with three titles: Venezuelas Nico Monterola y Su Orquesta Renovacion Mi Creación, Colombia’s El Clan De Eskina’s Salsa Para Bailar y Escuchar, and, also from Colombia, the self-titled Calibre Orquesta. Each one of these titles is a salsa gem.