February 8, 2013
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
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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.
CANDIDO CAMERO & CANDIDO & GRACIELA | Inolvidable
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.
XIOMARA LAUGART | Xiomara|
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)
THE BODY ACOUSTIC|
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)
May 17, 2012
elWatusi is happy to include the catalog of CESTA RECORDS, the label formed by the esteemed band-leader JOE QUIJANO in the 1960s. Joe was born on September 27, 1935, at Puerta de Tierra, Puerto Rico, his family relocating to New York City in 1941. Over the years he has contributed greatly to the development of Latin music in New York City.
His complete catalog is available in high quality mp3/320 or audiophile FLAC formats.
Click to view the Cesta catalog with audio clips
Musicians are a breed of their own. In most cases they come and go; some reach the top charts and become unforgettable and others go unnoticed and fall through the cracks. We know who the unforgettable ones are because, we as human beings identify our special moments through their music and lyrics.
Joe Quijano is one of the unforgettable orchestra leaders, composer and cinger of our time, and, oh, how he can woo the ladies, with his romantic melodies and sexy voice. He started his career as a boy, in 1950 in the back streets of the Bronx, NY, with such known artists as Eddie Palmieri (pianist) Orlando Marin (timbale player), Chiqui Perez (conga player) and Larry Acevedo, (trumpet player). He formed his first band known as the Banana Kelly’s Mambo named after Kelly Street where most of these artists grew up. Later, he changed the group’s name toEl Conjunto Cachana, and the band is still very active today.
Throughout his career, he has had many accomplishments. He has recorded 14 albums and over 300 songs. In 2003 he recorded his latest album, in english, entitled Salsa- Natra In Clave, a tribute to Frank Sinatra. He was an innovator of La Pachanga, a Cuban-Nuyorican rhythm, and the Cha Cha Cha, and is most famous for his interpretation of La Pachanga Se Baila Asi, which inspired other great artiest such as Tito Rodriguez, Frank Grillo (better known as Machito) and Tito Puente to incorporate La Pachanga in their big band orchestras in the late 1960s.
Many of us will remember his very famous song, A Cataño, which became popular for the verse Aguanta La Lancha ue voy pa Cataño. Joe was a founder of the Cesta All Stars with Al Santiago and Charlie Palmieri.
Joe Quijano is an all-around artist. He not only composed, sang, and conducted his orchestra; he was also an accomplished pianist, and played flute as well as the timbales, congas, and bongos.
In 1992, Joe Quijano was still going strong until fate turned things around. He had a motor-cycle accident, here in Puerto Rico, which left him in a wheel-chair for several years. He has had over 12 surgeries, but his love for music, and his unbelievable stamina, has brought him right back to where he was, and to us. He is still performing and going strong, his most recent performances being in Cali, Columbia.
I have just skimmed the surface of this great artist. To do him justice, I would have to write a book, which, by the way, is being done today. His music has inspired many great musicians throughout the years, and his legacy will live on for as long as we have, and enjoy music. I am proud to call Joe Quijano my friend. He is an unbelievable human being, and a great artist.
April 21, 2012
The Mambo Music label was created with the intention of releasing classic Mambo/Salsa recordings from the past. Many of these recordings have never been released. Some are from little known labels. Some are from ‘live’ performances. In any case, if you love Afro-Cuban music you are sure to enjoy these treasured tracks.
Mambo Music is run by Mr. Bobby Marin, who has, since the mid-sixties, been an active part of the Mambo/Salsa scene. Originally, along with Louie Ramirez, they were pioneers during the Latin Boogaloo era. They composed and arranged music for some of the big names in Latin music. Eventually Bobby sang some of his compositions as well. Along with his vocal group, The Latin Chords, he is featured in albums by Ali Baba, Louie Ramirez, Kako, Sonny Bravo, The Latin Blues Band, Willie Rosario, Tito Puente and others. He created his own record labels in the process including, Salsa Records, El Sonido, Mambo City, Latin Cool and other smaller labels. He worked as label manager for United Artists Latino, Orfeon, Ethnic Tapes (Tico Records), TR Records (Tito Rodriguez). He has produced independently for Fania Records, Musicor Records, CBS/Columbia, among others. Along with brother, producer Richard Marin, they recorded albums for Mercury Records, RCA, and Decca Records. He has co-produced with Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Alegre All-Stars with Al Santiago and Joe Cuba. He produced Ismael Quintana, Jimmy Sabater, Orq. Revolucion ‘70, Joe Bataan, Chucho Avellanet, Nelson Ned, Los Hispanos, Rosita Rodriguez, Charanga America, Willie Torres, Charlie Palmieri, Mike Guagenti, Chuito, Milton Zapata, Ralphie & The Latin Lovers, Dominica y su Conjunto, Azuquita, Hector Rivera, Ricardo Marrero and many, many other recording artists.
In addition to running Mambo Music Records in Miami, Bobby is a consultant for Fania/Codigo Records
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.
January 5, 2011
elWatusi recently caught up with busy Seattle-based musician and label owner Steve Guasch, who was kind enough to sit for an impromptu interview. Steve’s label, Salsaneo, has been an elWatusi favorite since its inception. The label focuses on high calibur salsa, mostly from Venezuela, and includes bands such as Sabadonga, La Negramenta, Julito Fernandez, and Steve’s own Nueva Era. Steve talks about why he started the label, and what we have to look forward to…
Steve, where are you from and what kind of music has influenced you?
I was raised in Santa Juanita in Bayamon, PR, since I was 4 years old, but I was born in New York’s Lower East Side of Manhattan. The music that I first heard were the LP’s from my father: the Early Fania recordings, Barreto, Harlow, Bobby Rodriguez, Machito, Libre, Charlie and Eddie Palmieri, Ruben Blades and Willie Colón, Alegre All Stars, …I can go on forever. But when it came down to singers, Lalo Rodriguez’ El Niño el hombre El Sonador el Loco LP was the single moment that mezmerized me: everything he recorded prior to his romantic era was superb. I knew then that I had to make music that meant and said something meaningful. Also the great Tite Curet Alonzo’s compositions are amazing and were, and still are, a great inspiration.
How would you describe the musical sensibility of Salsaneo, if there is one?
Salsaneo Records is looking to find artists that want to create music that doesn’t follow the same formulaic concepts, same linear arrangements, we love salsa gorda and thats what we are looking for. However this doesn’t mean that we are not going to release salsa romantica. The arrangement need to be good quality, as well as the singers. There is room for all genres. Latin Jazz will also be represented.
Why did you start Salsaneo Records? Did you think that a certain market was not being addressed?
I started the label to distribute my own album Siguiendo La Tradicion back in 2006, because of my frustration trying to find a label, and to handle the distribution of my own work. But, as a salsa fan, I’m always out there trying to find the next salsa gorda album out of Venezuela, as I always liked their sound and their soneros. There were very few albums coming out and lots of music was, and still is being, recorded and not released because of the lack of labels that would take a chance on an unproven and not internationally known artist. The fact that we are working with Venezuelan artists doesn’t mean that it is only country we want to work with. We are open to any artist that is creating quality salsa, no matter what country they are from.
How do you discover the music you released on Salsaneo? Do you travel to Venezuela often?
Thanks to Francisco Requeña in Venezuela, who is my partner and the owner of Estudios Requeña. His studio is responsible for recording and mixing the three albums from the Venezuelan group Bailatino, Joel Uriola Desde el Principio, Cheo Navarro’s Tributo al Ayer, Soneros de la Calle, Gonzalo y Los Principes de la Salsa, Oquesta Sabadonga and La Negramenta, just to mention the most recent.
Requena is the filter of talent, as he operates his recording studio he comes across a lot of talented singers and groups and sends me their demos for my consideration. If we both like it, we either produce their album or simply distribute them through our digital and physical licensing agreements. I was in Venezuela last February and in October. Our intention is to at be able to visit Venezuela at least 3 times per year.
You are a musician yourself. Does that make it easier or more difficult to manage a label? What are some of the difficulties you face on a continuing basis?
I think that being a musician it makes it a little harder to filter talent, because as a musician I’m very hard on myself, and now I’m a little hard on the artists that are being considered. We want to produce music that we believe in. It’s not easy to manage and play, but I love doing this and it makes all the difference. I want the world to discover this great music. If we are successful we keep the flow of good music to the world!
Do you recommend this business model?
Yes I recommend it because our business model is in favor of the artist and I think, like us, there will be other labels that will follow in the future. We are entering in licensing agreements that benefit the artists as they remain owners of their work, and we enter in exclusive digital and physical CD’s licensing agreements as well.
How you suppose technology affects a small label?
It affects us in good and bad ways. Obviously technology enables piracy, but I also lets us be known and we can reach places we otherwise would not reach. But our small overhead allows us to continue this quest. I’m doing this for the love of this music, and our goal is to grow and be an option to independent bands to get their music distributed. Hopefully, in the future, people can mention Salsaneo Records as the Salsa label from Seattle, a label that delivers quality salsa.
What can we expect of Salsaneo in the future? And of Steve Guasch?
We hope that Salsaneo Records grows and to be mentioned among one of the best in the world. I’m working on a new album for Orquesta Nueva Era, and it’s schedule to be released in January. This time around I’m doing a salsa project, with no Latin jazz this on this session. I’m trying to do different things as I don’t want to keep doing the same album over an over again. We have invited guest singers from Venezuela as well as our regular singers Joe De Jesus and Eddie Quintero on vocals. After that release we are going to start working on a new release from Guaschara!
Anything else you would like to add?
Salsaneo Records will also be releasing new projects from Oscar y Joan, Steve Guasch y su Nueva Era, a Orquesta Sabadonga follow up album, and much more, so stay tuned. If you would like to submit your demo’s you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Francisco Requeña in Venezuela at email@example.com.
Thank you all that have supported our label, and look forward to more great music from Salsaneo Records.
December 16, 2010
Barbés Records is a new label associated with the Brooklyn club of the same name. Its focus, which mirrors that of the club, is on original and idiosyncratic approach to tradition. Be it Balkan, Latin, Americana, Klezmer, Jazz or pop music, its mission really is to put out music that seems to have artistic relevance to the people producing it.
Barbés features terrific material like The Roots of Chicha, Juaneco y Su Combo, Very Be Careful and Chcha Libre.
Click for the Barbés catalog of titles.
Welcome to iASO Records – Music for the soul! iASO specializes in Latin & World music. All our music is recorded the original way: LIVE, which makes it fresh and soulful. The LIVE recording permits band members to communicate and build off of each other. We also use no time keeping device (click-track), which means that in our recordings, the tempo of a song can change slightly in different parts of a song – depending on mood – thus permitting a nuanse of musical expression not practically obtainable in track by track recording.
iASO represents some amazing Dominican music: Puerto Plata, Joan Soriano, Bachata Roja and more.
Click for the iASO catalog of titles.
Cumbancha is a new record label founded by Jacob Edgar, an Ethnomusicologist and music producer who for the past eight years has been the head of music research and product development at famed independent record label Putumayo World Music. It has been Edgar’s job to travel the world in search of exceptional artists and songs for Putumayo’s critically acclaimed and commercially successful compilations of music from all over the globe. Over the years, Edgar kept coming across artists he felt deserved wider recognition and assistance in bringing their music to the world stage, and he decided to form Cumbancha to address that need. “I believe exposure to music from different parts of the world can help open a doorway to other cultures,” insists Edgar. “Listening to music is an excellent way to make a connection with people who are very different from yourself, and it can create a common ground that overcomes some of the barriers that separate people of different walks of life.”
Cumbancha represents Ska Cubano, Novalima, Sarazino, Luisa Maita and more…
Click for the Cumbancha catalog of titles.
November 17, 2010
We are delighted to include the Blanott catalog from Tomas Einarsson.
The Icelandic bass player/composer Tómas R. Einarsson (1953) studied with classical bass players in Reykjavik and in Copenhagen 1980-84 and has since been one of the most active jazz musicians in Iceland, performing mainly with his own groups, as well as visiting soloists (a.o. the late Chet Baker and Kenny Drew).
He has recorded 13 records with his own music and performed at several European jazz festivals, The Kongsberg Jazz Festival, Berliner JazzTage and the Glasgow Jazz Festival, to name a few, and in 2006 his Latin group performed both at Moscow´s main jazz venue, Le Club, as well as in the historical Casa de la Amistad in Havana.
His first Latin jazz record was Kúbanska, recorded in 2002. American critics had praise for the music: “It´s a funny thing, all of this Latin Jazz coming from such remote places. But when it´s played that well, who cares?” (C. Michael Bailey: All About Jazz). In 2003 he went to Cuba to record the album Havana, which received two prizes at the Icelandic Music Awards. Einarsson´s next Latin release was Romm Tomm Tomm, recorded in 2006 in Reykjavik and in Havana´s EGREM studios, with 14 musicians. It was welcomed in Iceland by both critics and record-buyers; the Cuban critic Ricardo Alonso Venereo praised the energy and the supreme skill of the musicians (El Habanero 21/11 2006) and Peter Watrous, a critic of jazz and Latin music in the New York Times, called it “a beautiful, weird hybrid out of the Cuban diaspora.” (Descarga.com 6/2 2007)
Two of Einarsson’s tunes appear on the compilations DJ El Chino’s Solar Latin Club Vol. 1, and Putumayo Presents Latin Jazz, where Einarsson is the only European included, in a company of people like Tito Puente, Machito and Ray Barretto.
A remix album of Einarsson´s Latin music was released under the title RommTommTechno. The participants were from Iceland, Britain, Germany and the US and include Moonbotica, Mark Brydon (Moloko), Matthías MD Hemstock, Tom Pooks, Hólmar Filippsson, Namito, Thor, DJ Margeir and people from the Icelandic bands GusGus and Trabant.
More recent albums include Live! and Trúnú, both available via the link belowl.
Click for the Blanott catalog of titles.
October 30, 2010
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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 for more…