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El Condado De La Salsa y Jazz Latino by Nelson Rodriguez

Just a few months ago I had the privilege of interviewing, at my radio show at Alma Del Barrio (on Itunes, 88.9 FM in Los Angeles or, pianist/bandleader Marcus Hernandez of Orquesta Fuego about their new recording “Vengan Todos A Bailar”. During the interview we quickly bonded over Marcus’ debut with his band “Fuego ‘77” that also included a young Frankie Vazquez on vocals. Fuego 77 was part of the late 70’s scene at the Copacabana, Casino 14, Casablanca, Ipanema, The Corso and many other venues. By the 80’s Fuego ‘77 disbanded and Marcus continued to perform with Adalberto Santiago and Rafael De Jesus eventually moving to Florida in 2005. In 2014 Marcus formed Orchestra Fuego in Tampa Bay and includes in their recordings upbeat original and popular songs with modern arrangements that continue to excel on each recording starting with “Encendido” followed by “Salsa Brava”, “Quemando La Pista” and this latest release.

Orchestra Fuego.jpg

“Vengan Todos a Bailar” features great arrangements by Marcus Hernandez, Arturo Ortiz and the up and coming Victor Romero with great vocals by Veronica Romero and Miguel Guerrero.

Expect “Vengan Todos a Bailar”, “Soy Rumbera”, “Cucala”, “La Noche Llego”, “Bien Diferente”, “Si Te Vas”, “La Parada Boricua” (one of the first singles),  and “Si No Se Enamora” featuring guest vocalist Osvaldo Roman, to do well at radio as well as at the clubs.


William Melendez and his label Cookita Records has been establishing a lineage of recordings that began in 2004 with Van Lester’s “Estaba Para Mi” (that was just re-issued). Cookita also released two of the best Salsa recordings in 2005 & 2007 by the great timbalero and Hall of Famer Chino Nuñez (Chino Nuñez and Friends’ “It’s SHO Time” followed by “Doctor Salsa Vol.2”). Remember Chino was the original timbalero in The Spanish Harlem Orchestra.

Cookita Records also has in its catalog recordings by salsero Noel “Salsa” (2006), La Verdad “From a Different Perspective” (2007), the extremely talented young lady Sol’s “Si Te Vas” (with the guests Los Hermanos Colon & Wichy Camacho in 2008) and in 2009 Maña’s “Estamos Gozando”.

William Melendez released the 2018 track “Boogaloo Baby” reminiscent of the band Orchestra Kool.

Soon to be released, on Cookita, will be the new Van Lester recording, with his Generales De La Salsa, that everyone is looking forward to hearing.