This was timbales player Ray Cruz’s 1997 debut album, and it’s an absolute gem. Extended grooves and wonderful vocals by Luisito Ayala and Carlos El Grande mark this a must have. Coro includes Herman Olivera and Luis (Madamo) Diaz. Also with New York legends Louis Bauzó and Lewis Kahn.
A big DJ Alert and Very Highly Recommended. – elW
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• Ray Cruz: Leader and timbales
• Louie Bauzo: Bongos and bomba drum
• Tomaso Santiago: Conga and bomba drum
• Bernie Minoso: Bass
• Sergio Rivera: Piano on cuts 1,2,5,6,7, and 8
• Igor Atalita: Piano on cuts 3,4,9, and 10
• David Chamberlain: Trombone and flute
• Lewis Kahn: Trombone and violin
• Bob Suttmann: Trombone and sackbut
• Luisito Ayala: Lead vocals
• Carlos El Grande: Lead vocals
• Herman Olivera: Coro
• Luis (Madamo) Diaz: Coro
• Hector Martignon: Piano on Bolero Medley
Those who long for the days of the “real stuff” will be happy to acquire this album.
Once again I’m taken back to the day when albums had a greater variety of music as this one does. It contains Salsa, Cha-Cha, Bolero, an instrumental Mambo, Latin Jazz and a tinge of Charanga.
In today’s overindulgent atmosphere of romantic themes it is refreshing to see the title Sopa de Bacalao (cod fish soup). It is also heartening to hear musicians taking solos. Remember when that was standard practice?
Timbalero, Ray Cruz is the band’s leader. He was a member of the Mongo Santmaria Orchestra and has performed with Ricardo Rey and many bands in both Latin and Jazz disciplines. Cruz favors updated arrangements from the 50s and 60’s. Their repertoire includes music by Tito Rodriguez, Tito Puente, Machito, and other bands from the Palladium era.
Cruz Control’s two trombonists also play flute and violin which projects the Charanga sound that dancing audiences love. The band’s idea is to perform big band tunes with the swing and drive of a conjunto.
Cruz Control was established in 1990. They began playing regularly in Brooklyn at the Time Out Lounge and then began performing weekly for audiences interested in learning to dance Mambo and Cha-cha at a weekly workshop. They began branching out to clubs such as Club Broadway, S.O.B.s, Bayamo and others.I went to Bayamo on two occasions and was surprised at the following this group has. The place was filled and a friend informed me most of the folks there were regulars; many of them having followed the band for years. Hearing them and dancing to their style of music was pure pleasure.
The group is made up of seasoned musicians. Collectively Cruz Control has over 100 years of experience playing Latin music. Many of the musicians have played with the legends.
Lead singer Luisito Ayala has worked with Rafael Cortijo, Joe Cuba, Larry Harlow, Lebron Brothers, Eddie Palmieri, Roberto Roena and Bobby Valentin.
Luis Bauzo on bongos has performed with Mario Bauza’, Machito, Johnny Pacheco, Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie and others.
Lewis Kahn who doubles on trombone and violin currently makes up part of Tito Puente’s orchestra and played with Larry Harlow, Ruben Blades, Fania All Stars and many others.
Bernie Minoso on bass has played with many Jazz greats like Stanley Turrentine, Hilton Ruiz, Chico O’Farrell, and Dizzy Gillespie.
Sergio Rivera on piano is also the group’s arranger. His experience includes time with Rafael Cortijo, Kako y su Estrellas, and Orestes Vilato’.
David Chamberlain, a music teacher who plays trombone and flute has also worked with Rafael Cortijo.
Tomaso Santiago is a young master of the conga.
If your musical taste runs more toward the authentic, check out Cruz Control. And next time you are in New York, look for them.
- Eileen Torres, SalsaCentro.com