Everyone will remember the summer of 2020 as ‘The Summer of the Pandemic’ and for many music took a backseat and for others a way to relieve stress and a way to be normal. Musically nothing has changed except the way we listen to our music today.
Great music is being produced everyday both in Salsa and Latin Jazz and radio stations are slowly but surely returning to the airwaves. I am back live at Alma Del Barrio KXLU 88.9 FM at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and also started a new venture on WorlsSalsaRadio.com with two new shows: “Jazzeando En El Valle” on Tuesday’s from 3 pm-6 pm (Pacific Time) and “El Condado De La Salsa y Jazz Latino” on Fridays 6 pm-8 pm (Pacific Time). World Salsa radio.com has a new variety of programming with DJ’s and musicians who are also educators. Check them out!
One of the hottest young new musicians and bandleader is pianist Leonardo Garcia who follows up his extremely impressive debut with “Remembranzas” another successful CD that once again highlights the talented vocalists he enlists. This time the hits will be “Que No Se Para La Rumba” sung by Gonzale Diaz, “Llego El Momento” sung by Max Rosado, “Ese Soy Yo” sung by Miguel Barrio, “La Salsa Es Mi Vida” sung by Marcial Isturiz, “Agarra Camino” sung by Jaimes Andre and “Con El O Conmigo” sung by Gonzalo Diaz & Miguel Barrios. Another huge winner for Leonardo Garcia!
Orquesta Lucena, from Philadelphia, is led by the veteran bassist Hector Lucena and formed in the 60’s. Their first CD, “You Never Heard It Like This” in 2008, was comprised of classic covers but on their new CD, “Sin Ti’, the band introduces us to new material that features the vocals of Anthony ‘El Vacano Boricua’ Silva who was one of the original founders of the band. We must also mention that one of Philly’s top musicians of the past three decades, pianist David Colon, is also part of this talented band. While mostly Romantic Salsa, two tracks are in English, and three tracks offer more swing “Aquella Noche”, “Estas Que Te Vas” and my favorite the cha cha cha “No Se Vende” where the band expands on improvisations from David Colon on keyboards, Eubie Nieves on flute, Eligio Concepcion on sax, Anibal Martinez on trumpet and finally Samuel Arroyo on timbal.
Nic N’ Taya is a new hip band led by vocalist Nicolas Martinez…Nic is the Nicolas and N’ Taya is the band. Their debut “N’ Taya No Falla” is refreshing recording, from Miami, that represents a range of modern Salsa for all fans of good Salsa. One of my favorite tracks is “Son Timba y Songo Tienen Changui” in tribute to the Ignacio Piniero, Manolin ‘El Medico De La Salsa’ and Juan Formell. I also loved “Elegua”, “N’ Taya No Falla”, “La Calle (Se Calienta)”, and the closing number with Melina Almodovar (La Muñeca De La Salsa) “Cosa Con Cosa’ that acts as the lead single for this surprising young Cuban band. The CD include two top young vocalists in Gabriel R. Gavilan ‘El Hijo De Teresa’ and Pascual Matos Aguirre ‘El Sinsonete’.
The Tamayo, “Sin Limite” EP, continues his recent success with the first hit “La Llave y El Candao” with special guests Jimmy Bisch and pianist Zaccai Curtis as part of the Uprising All-Stars. “El Precio” gives us a funkier look into Tamayo’s music with the rapper Rocca while ‘Extranjero” tells us the story of a 20-year old Tamayo’s travel to the United States of America.
The tile track is a modern Son Montuno on the state of Salsa today having no limits.
Victor Azael is another young vocalist who has been very active over the past few years and his new CD, “Updated”, introduces us to some great compositions in “Caramelos”, “Una Chica Especial”,”La Red Social”, “Es Mejor Asi”, “Se Me Acabo La Vida” and “Criticones Y Habladores”.
These artists are just a few of the many who have said ‘presente’ during this summer. Just so you can get an idea we saw releases so far in 2020 by Celeste ‘La Fiera’, The John Santos Sextet, Andrea Brachfeld, CSAN-II, Vicky Corbacho, Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Aymee Nuviola, Julito Alvardo Presents New Faces, Omara Portuondo. Calle Loiza Jazz Project, Johnny Rivera, Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor, Conexion Cubana, Wil Campa, Joe Collado, Nathan Rodriguez & His Conjunto Boriken, Eddie Montalvo, NY Joe, VibraSon, Jose Rizo’s Mongorama, Le Excelencia, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Jovenes Clasicos Del Son, Orquesta Failde, Bobi Cespedes, Raices Jazz Orchestra, Edwin Perez, Nestor Sanchez y su Orquesta Retrombon, Quintero’s Salsa Project, Yamila & Yalil Guerra Orchestra, Nettai Tropical Jazz Big Band, Josean Rivera, Miguel Angel, John Rodriguez, Takashi Nakazato, Puerto Rico Jazz Jam, La Orquesta Del Solar Internacional and hundreds of new singles and EP’s that can lead to full projects in the coming months or years.