Skip to content

Latinos Unidos Online

Home » El Condado De La Salsa y Jazz Latino Reviews March 2024 by Nelson Rodriguez

El Condado De La Salsa y Jazz Latino Reviews March 2024 by Nelson Rodriguez

With the way music is delivered today compared to when labels recorded artists and distributors then would sell to record stores there is no need for release dates and that was well proven this past December when artists were still sending DJ’s and radio programs new material (tripling the amount of new recordings, after October, compared to last year at this time) and Christmas songs even one week before Christmas. In the same manner many releases that normally would not come out until February and March started arriving in January. Many recordings coming out were mostly due last year and many more will be hit social media very soon. This is a trend that has been developing over the past decade.

One of my favorite artists of the past three decades has been Vibist, Composer, Arranger Bandleader Dorance Lorza & his Sexteto Café, from London, that during the pandemic got together with his pianist Anna Gillespie to recreate previously recorded songs like ‘Mambo City’ & “Hot Sweet Coffee” not in a sextet format but in a Big Band format. The vinyl LP only release titled “Circle Of Time Project” is already a collectors item. It’s Latin Jazz at its best with 5 saxophones, 5 trumpets and 5 trombones.

Another collector’s item vinyl is Van Lester y Los Generales (that came out a few years ago as Los Generales De La Salsa) now remastered also in CD. Some may remember this was a1996 recording done in studio with the entire band present that was a ‘Who’s Who’ all-star band: Jose Mangual Jr, Milton Cardona, Lewis Kahn, Harry Adorno,’ Profesor’ Joe Torres, Leopoldo Pineda, Willie Amadeo, Victor Venegas, Hector ‘Bomberito’ Zarzuela, Ite Jerez, Reynaldo Jorge and the coros of Adalberto Santiago & Nestor Sanchez.

Charanga lovers will truly enjoy the new EP by Son Del Monte y Los Macheteros, led by timbalero Manny Rivera with great vocals by Luis Ayala, Luis Soto Jr. & Armando Jimenez. The EP, “Como Te Gusta A Ti”, sounds like the popular charanga sound of the 70’s that was unique to New York in what Manny calls ‘Chajunto’ (Charanga with a conjunto) that he  created with the composition ‘Mambo Charanga’ while with Yambu of the 70’s. Comprised of three trombones and tw3o violins with percussion that hits are ‘Ella No Baila Sola’, “El Chontaduro’, ‘Pa La Ocha Tambo’ (the Eddie Palmieri classic) and ‘Los Macheteros’.

Don Perignon y La Puertorriqueña released their 13th album, “Demostrando A Tiempo”, with a fantastic lead single ‘Sacala a Bailar’ written by the vocalist Jose Carlo Ribot followed by “Sin Brujula’ sung by Joe Gonzalez. Other promising tracks destined to be hits in 2024 include the title track “Demostrando a Tiempo’ with Moncho Rivera, “Afinque, Cadencia y Sabor’, “Aqui Estoy Con Mi Son” (originally done by Frankie Hernandez), ‘La Clave Me Llama’, and ‘Soy Tu Ley’ (originally a bolero by Cheo Feliciano).

Sonero Josean Rivera is back with a hot new single where he’s joined by pianist/vocalist Victor Garcia, ‘Se Acaban y No Las Pruebo’ from the new Salsaneo Records release “Fino Sonero, Elegante Cantar”. Expect the vinyl version of this new CD in late September!

Eduardo Zayas & EZ La Banda has already recorded 12 of 18 tracks he plans to release in 2025 featuring all ladies olde & new that is led by the single “Tierra De Gigantes’ featuring Yani Mercedes. This recording will include Choco Orta with Trina Medina, Perla Rodriguez, Fanny Almenara, Lisett Morales, Veruska Verdu, Betsy Lopez, Awilda Hernandez, Mariana La Sonera, Alejandra Alban, Isa La Roca, Dorgeris Alvarez, Maribel Delgado, America Quesada, Rebeka Grace to name a few.

Fania Records (Craft Recordings) has had major re-issues on vinyl of 180 Grams and some in color vinyl and in 2023 Ray Barretto’s iconic “Indestructible” that turned 50 years is now available again. This is the historic recording with the new band, after members left to form Tipica 73, that included Eddie Martinez on piano, Artie Webb, Tito Allen replacing the great Adalberto Santiago and Roberto Rodriguez who stayed with Ray. All The songs are epic hits: ‘Indestructible’, ‘Yo Tengo Un Amor’, ‘Llanto De Cocodrilo’, ‘El Hijo De Obatala’, ‘La Familia’, ‘La Orquesta’ and ‘Ay No’. The classic LP cover shows Ray showing his ex-band members that he is ‘Superman’ surviving the exodus.

Grupo Niche percussionist Juanito Murrillo & La Agresiva recorded a live project “Tributo a Ray Barretto” with the classics “Indestructible’, ‘Guarare’, ‘El Hijo De Obatala’, “Quitate La Mascara’, ‘Nadie Se Salva De La Rumba’, ‘Ban Ban Quere’ and more.

Formell & Los Van Van are celebrating 55 years & 40 recordings in 2024 and have been very busy on tour. “Modo Van Van” (dedicated to bassist Juan Carlos Formell who died in Florida this past summer days before the West Coast tour) is an explosive CD with some great tunes sung by Robeton ‘Van Van’ Hernandez, Vanessa Formell, Mandy Cantero and Abdel Rasalip ‘El Lele’.

Veteran ‘sonera’ from the NY area, Irma Kache (Irma Ortiz) has her first debut CD, “Con Clase y Sabor” with the lead single, ‘Eso Se Acaba’, already a resounding hit. Add to this the comical ‘Mi Novio Feo’ plus ‘El Vacilon’ and ‘Siete Minutos’ will do very well at radio and in clubs.

Colektivo with Isidro Infante have produced an EP, “Salsa En La Sangre”, with the soon to be hits ‘La Timba’, ‘Eso Fue Lo Que Ella Dijo’, ‘Por Dinero’ and ‘Cantale A La Vida’.

Las Guaracheras from Cali, Colomba present their 3rd EP, “Lo Que Somos” with excellent sextet performances: ‘Se Formo’, ‘Al Otro Lado’, ‘Nos Sacudimos’, and the Latin Jazz track ‘Ahora Mirala’. This fine sextet led by conguera Laura Linares also has impressive improvisations by bassist Daniela Vergara Barbosa, pianist Olga Luisa Dominguez, vocalist Diana Sanchez, vibist Kate Ortega and timbalera Gina Marcela Botia Ruiz.

LA percussionist Willy Calderon has been touring Japan and Cuba in preparation for future projects that will include the first CD “Project NEON: The Birth of City Pop Salsa” with Japanese vocalist Aico Simon, who resides in San Diego, on the first two singles released ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘Plastic Love’.

The Chiquito Team Band formed in 2012 by Chiquito Timbal (Rafael Berroa) and Manuel Piano (Emmanuel Frias) with Alberto Marin, Kevin Saviñon, and Lugo Santana as a quintet in the Dominican Republic. They have had several recordings that show cases their powerful sound for the best dancers with a maximum energy level. Their latest “New York City” is a live concert.

John Santos has become one of the premiere producers, percussionists, educator and bandleader had gotten together with his sextet (Marco Diaz, Saul Sierra, Dr. John Calloway, David Flores, Charlie Gurke and longtime member of the Machete Ensemble Melicio Magdaluyo) as The John Santos Sextet & Friends to release “Vieja Escuela”.  It pays homage to four ancestors & mentors Ernesto Oviedo, percussionist/composer Raul De La Caridad Gonzalez Brito ‘Lali’, Orestes Vilato and Jerry Gonzalez. For many years John has taken advantage of top name musicians visiting San Francisco to record them for future projects. That’s how he got Jerry Gonzalez to record when he would visit his sister. Of the songs that have hit written all over them all you have to do is listen to ‘Esta Rumba Si’ & ‘No Pierdas La Maña’ both sung by veteran Willie Ludwig (who has been travelling back and forth from Mexico for 25 years), ‘That Walk 2’ with Jerry Gonzalez, and the funky Lattin Jazz number ‘Choho’ written by Melicio Magdaluyo (his first composition).

Giovanni Hidalgo is preparing the finishes on a new sextet album and is ready to tour. This is a project he has been working on for several years now and has the band ready to tour.

Expect the premiere on my shows ‘Jazzeando En El Valle’, ‘El Condado De La Salsa y Jazz Latino’ and ‘Alma Del Barrio’ (the ‘Grandaddy of Them All’).

Charlie Sepulveda is recording a Latin Jazz CD that combines with Urban rap music titled “UrbaJazz’ that already has had two single releases ‘Tira Pa’ Lante’ with Rafa Pabon and ‘Liberty’ with El Hijo De Borinken two popular young performers in Urban music from Puerto Rico.

New York’s La Banda Ramirez, led by percussionist/drummer Chacho Ramirez and his wife flutist Carolyn Steinberg have a new Latin Jazz CD, “Lizzie’s Lounge” (named after Carolyn’s mom), features their long-time friends Jack Glottman on piano, Michael O’Brien on bass and conguero Carly Maldonado. Jazz radio has been on the tracks ‘Breakin’ My Chains’, ‘Full Moon In Philly’, ‘Lizzie’s Lounge’, and ‘The Hand’ since the release and will be playing them throughout 2024.

Drummer Marlon Simon & The Nagual Spirits can easily be the band’s best CD to date. The Venezuelan drummer who also has two brilliant brothers who also record Latin Jazz, Edwin & Simon, shines with his band on ‘Rumba Pa’ Andy’ (a tribute to Andy Gonzalez) that also features the two brothers. ‘Staright Ahead’ features Roberto Quintero on congas & on the title track of the CD, “On Different Paths”, the brothers are also featured. ‘Variations of Erika’s Theme’ (Marlon’s daughter who died at 17 years old) is a new version of the song originally called ‘Erika’ on his release “Rumba a La Patato” and also ‘Un Canto a Erika’ on the CD In Case You Missed It’.

The delayed Mario Ortiz All Star Band debut in Latin Jazz, “60th Anniversary Spectacular”, that showcases TV themes (TV Nostalgia), ‘Super Mario Brothers’, ‘Disney Themes’, ‘Mission Impossible’ and many more should be hitting social media soon.

The Erdos Quartet + Bronx-Paris Connection is led by pianist (also vibist) Laurent Erdos and his two sons Jan who plays French Horn (a first in Latin Jazz recordings) and Tino who plays trombone. Add a trio from NY conguero George Delgado (co-producer), bassist Jerry Madera and percussionist Oreste Abrantes and you have the makings of this fabulous debut. This recording became a reality after years of association between George and his student in NY Laurent who would travel from Paris. You can hear the interview on on my show ‘Jazzeando En El Valle’. The CD is titled ‘Otrojazz” and the track ‘Mambo Invertido’ has a crossed clave that Laurent presented to George and the and executes very well. Standouts also include the George Shearing version of “Have You Met Miss Jones’, ‘Cherokee’ (made popular by Charlie Parker), “The Lady Is a Tramp’, ‘Groovin’ High’ (hit by Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie) and ‘Como Criollo’ (a great Jam Session).

Long time veteran originally from San Francisco, of Nicaraguan descent, Annette A. Aguilar (The A. is for Argentina) & Stringbeans Latin Jazz Brazilian blew me away with their new CD, “In The North” (dedicated to the Northern part of Manhattan, NY-Washington Heights, Inwood & Harlem). Stringbeans refers to the combination of cello and violins that also has Ruben Rodriguez on bass, Nicki Denner & Steve Sandberg on piano, Karen Joseph on flute and guests Randy Brecker and saxophonist Ada Roovatti. Aguilar has for some years presented a concert series in NY “The Women of Latin Jazz Festival” and this year features this new CD that has the powerhouse tracks ‘Tarde De Chuva’, Eddie Palmieri’s ‘Adoracion’ and Stevie Wonders ‘Overjoyed’ sung by Deborah Resto, and ‘Keeper of The Flame’ by Mark Levine that features trumpeter Randy Brecker.

This year will be even bigger than 2023 with re-issues, vinyl releases, new debuts, veterans and new sensations both in Salsa & Latin Jazz as the music continues to explore new realms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *