Welcome to the elWatusi eNewsletter Nº 7 for August 03, 2010. • become a fan on Facebook • follow us on Twitter • us with friends • bookmark our blog

BIG BUZZ: The way we see it, the major labels are completely out of touch with their customers, and the big, chilly, MP3 monster sites could care less about what they are peddling. It's no wonder this industry is in dissarray. Well, folks, we want you to feel good about the music business again. Here's a place where the shop is run by true fans of the music, not by accountants and marketers who count clicks and coin. Our goal is to provide an inviting home: a place to discover great new music and to reconnect with music you always loved. Just like record shops use to be. (If you are too young to remember what that was like, go rent the DVD High Fidelity.) So feel good about your music: don't steal it. Buy it legally from folks who are on your team, and support the artists and labels who work very hard to make a living in the arts. As always, if you think we can do something better, tell us! We'd love to hear from you! - elW Onward! What a great week for music. We begin with two top Cuban titles: a timba by Son del Indio, a/k/a Sixto Llorente, and an amazing charanga by the legendary Orquesta Sensación. That's followed by some classics from Son Primero and Yambú, both from the great Montuno label, and then a batch of other gems from Orlando Marín, Jack Costanzo and Gerrie Woo, more from Hector Rivera, Joe Cuba, Chakachas (remember their huge 1972 Latin disco hit Jungle Fever?) We're delighted to have the hot new Bobby Cruz and more back-catalog from Lucas Van Merwijk & The Cubop City Big Band. We have a great new Playlist from our Colombian connection, DJ El Chino, and a suite of new Artist Mini Bios (Cheo Feliciano, Azuquita, La India de Oriente) from John Child top it off. Read on...

SON DEL INDIO | Lo que sucede conviene

Fiery timba-salsa doesn't get much better when fronted by Sixto Llorente, the popular Cuban singer. As the former lead singer for Manolito y su Trabuco, Llorente is no newcomer to the Cuban timba. This guy has performed with Tumbao Habana, Pupy Pedroso, Alexander Abreu and countless other top, hard-driving timba orchestras. The new project was produced by Aysar Hernandez, collaborator with Elio Reve, and it's a timba-lovers must-have.


Ooph! What a pristine charanga release, replete with groove, drive, sabor and funk. The venerable Cuban charanga orchestra returns. I love the way these great Cuban orchestras never die, they morph a bit, adding new blood over time. But the core, the soul, of these great orchestras remain in tact. Rolando Valdés started this much-respected charanga band in the '50s. Abelardo Barroso (1905-1972) took the reins in 1955, and it has remained one that others are compelled to emulate - they're the real deal. The sound on this album is phenomenal. The band is currently led by Víctor Rodríguez Herrera Fernández, who keeps the Sensacion flame burning brighter than ever. This one is a no-brainer: a big DJ Alert for those wanting the true Cuban musical spirit. Highly Recommended.

SON PRIMERO | Charanga

CONTRIBUTOR COMMENTS: "I have long treasured this recording, which was produced by Rene Lopez and timbalero/leader Charlie Santiago. The title speaks for itself, and the production features luminaries such as pianists Oscar Hernandez and the late Jorge Dalto, flautist Dave Valentin and violinist 'Pupi' Legaretta. Watch out for 'Pide Que Lo Toque' and ' El Avance.'" (Vicki Solá) "This is a fabulous 1987 charanga disc with plenty of free blowing from the various luminaries present. Flutist Dave Valentin sounds superb, as does Pupi Legaretta (violin), the late great lyrical Jorge Dalto (piano), Charlie Santiago (timbales) and the very talented Oscar Hernandez (piano on some of the cuts). It's very exciting charanga in a modern context. Dave Valentin is in his true element. He has never sounded better. Why not record another one?" (Jose Rizo) "A New York version of progressive Cuban charanga sound. An all star line-up featuring Jorge Dalto on piano and the flute playing of Dave Valentin is outstanding." (Raul Rico)

YAMBU | Yambu

Great mid-seventies salsa and Latin soul release produced by veteran ring-leader Al Santiago. Led by bassist Ramon Rodriguez and directed by pianist Milton Hamilton. Lead vocals by Rafy Puente with additional vocals by Lessette and Caty Wilson on the track "Sunny." Izzy Cano Davila and the great Nestor Sanchez on coro.

LA SANGRE CALIENTE | La Sangre Caliente

Obscure early '70s Latin rock and soul out of Mexico. Very garage, very funky, with touches of psychedelia. Listen to the way cool "Sin Depender De Nadie." Heavy Hammond organ sound peppered throughout. Also, touches of soul, funk and boogaloo. Nice!

BOBBY CRUZ | Alma, Tierra y Raices: Para la História...

Now here's an unexpected gift of salsa gold: a new release by the legendary veteran singer. For those of you who might not know, the team of Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz was one of salsa's greatest forces from the late '60s, '70s and '80s and even through, well, today if you count their recent, highly successful, reunion concerts. Individually they have produced some pretty good material, some of which has been Christian themed (Cruz has been a minister for many years). However, with Alma, Tierra y Raices, we now have a new secular release, devoted exclusively to the religion of Salsa, that somehow recaptures the vitality and pure salsa heat of their best heyday work like Sonido Bestial. Now that's something. Producer and musician Victor "Papo" Ortiz has produced a modern project with firm roots in classic salsa dura of the Fania years. The 73 year old Bobby Cruz still has it. Listen to the audio clips folks, I kid you not -- this guy is fabulous. Check out Para Colombia and you will hear the unmistakable, signature voice of Bobby Cruz in full capacity. You'll be happy to know that Richie Ray shows up for the session: listen to his chops on Modongo de Guimo. Another notable guest is the legendary electric violinist Alfredo de la Fe. Listen to his composition Cuba y Puerto Rico ...a salsa-charanga gem. Just listen to the jewel-in-the-crown El Chivo de la Fiesta. A track that, played at the right volume (high) will be sure to fill any dance floor. Spot on. Ok, folks, don't let this one slip by. A DJ Alert, and Highly Recommended.


Original Release Date: 1964
**Classics Revisited** This was timbalero Marín's follow-up to the hit Se Te Quemo La Casa (1962 on Alegre). In my opinion Que Chevere Vol. II is even stronger than its predecessor. Some aficionados regard the album as ahead of its time. It has a wonderfully diverse programme, ranging from the driving mambo "Que Chevere", a favourite of the jazz dance crowd, to the Latin jazz instrumental "Llegue". Uncharacteristically for an Alegre production when Al Santiago was co-owner of the label, he deviated from his avowed policy of crediting the musicians and only names the lead singers. But what a star cast to boast about: Willie Torres, Elliot Romero, Chivirico Dávila and Cheo Feliciano! I asked Al in 1995 if he could remember the sidemen, and all he told me was that the four-trumpet section featured Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros on first trumpet and solos; Walter Gene Jefferson played sax; Paquito Pastor was on piano and Tito Jiménez (a.k.a. Tito Jay) was on percussion. Cheo shines on the Marín penned son montuno "Casera Ten Cuida'o". It's just a shame that the number is faded out at 2:52. Chivirico smokes on the mambo "El Loco" written by Jiménez. Pastor takes a brief solo on "Que Mujer", another son montuno composed by Marín and sung by Torres. Marín's self-penned mambos "El Timbalero" and "Besitos De Caramelos" showcase his prowess as a percussionist, as does the guaguancó "Tiene Saoco" written and sung by Chivirico. For the execution of Marín's composition, "Que Chevere", the group is augmented by soloing from an unknown flautist and climaxes with an outstanding 'bone solo. Barry Rogers? The trumpets are replaced by vibes and flute on "Meche", a charming instrumental written by Pastor. Finally, Pastor's mambo composition "Llegue" provides the setting for solos from Jefferson on sax, the bass player and trombonist. Don't hesitate; buy it! Highly recommended. (John Child)

JACK COSTANZO & GERRIE WOO | Latin Percussion with Soul

Original Release Date: 1968
**Classics Revisited** Jack Costanzo, a.k.a. Mr. Bongo, was signed to make this one-off album for Tico Records after the label's A & R man Pancho Cristal saw him perform with a seven-piece group at the El San Juan Hotel in Puerto Rico. Cristal hired the talented New York-based pianist, composer, arranger, bandleader and producer Héctor Rivera (1933-2006) to arrange the songs he and Jack selected for the project. However, when Héctor arrived in Los Angeles to conduct the recording date by Jack's approximately 14-piece ensemble, he had only arranged his own compositions and none of the agreed selections. An enormous row ensued, but the session went ahead under Héctor's direction and Jack admits to this day that he was "a marvellous arranger". Personnel include Costanzo regulars Eddie Cano on piano and trumpeter Paul López (who clocked-up seven albums with Mr Bongo) together with former La Sonora Matancera bass player Humberto Cané. It is more than likely that Tico were hoping to emulate Joe Cuba's 1966 pop and R&B chart success with Latin Percussion With Soul, but it didn't happen. Jack's wife at the time, Gerrie Woo, sings on the most dispensable of the dated crossover tracks. There are only three, or possibly four of these, the rest of the material comprises of swinging mambos and fusion a la Mongo replete with solos and a guajira; the highlights being the Héctor Rivera compositions "Recuerdos", "Mambo Jack", "Mantequilla" and "Que Vengo Acabando", Booker T's "Green Onions" and the Nat Adderly standard "Jive Samba". Jack remade "Mantequilla" and "Jive Samba" for his 2001 CuBop debut album Back from Havana and "Green Onions" for the 2002 follow-up Scorching The Skins. Recommended. (John Child)

HECTOR RIVERA Y SU ORQUESTA | ...Y Vuelve (The Return)

This is a very good early '70s New York salsa release by with excellent vocals provided by Mike Ruiz, Louis Rodriguez and Julian LLanos. Deep, rich dance grooves throughout this one, with compositions by Curet Alonso, Justi Barreto, Javier Vazquez, Frank Grillo "Machito," Frank Dominguez as well as Hector Rivera. Recommended.

JOE CUBA SEXTET | Hecho y Derecho (Doin' It Right)

Original Release Date: 1973 EDITORIAL: I have always loved the feel and energy of Joe Cuba's salsa cuts. The "soulful" English tunes can be goofey and, at times, too preachy for my taste, but others might appreciate the campiness. It's a good thing the ratio is typically 4 to 1 in favor of the Spanish cuts, and Hecho y Derecho contains the classic "Ariñañara." - elW

CHAKACHAS | Jungle Fever

The Chakachas were a Belgian based group of Latin soul studio musicians. Also known as 'Les Chakachas' or 'Los Chakachas', they were formed by band leader Gaston Bogaert, ex-Los Juano Boengs and The Continentals, percussion (conga and tumba); Tito Puente's singer wife Kari Kenton, vocals and maracas; Vic Ingeveldt (a Dutchman from Liege), saxophone; Charlie Lots, trumpet; Christian Marc, piano; Henri Breyre, guitar and backing vocals; and Bill Raymond, bass guitar. All were native to Schaarbeek (a district of Brussels), or nearby Charleroi, Willebroek and Liege. They started out in the late 1950s, and had a Belgian #1 in 1958 with "Eso es el amor", which was sung in Spanish. In 1959 they recorded "Rebecca" (a.k.a. "Rebekka") which featured in the film The Battle of Algiers. In 1962, they crept into the UK Singles Chart for the first time with "Twist Twist", which reached #48. Although they issued numerous recordings, they are best remembered as a one-hit wonder for their hit disco single "Jungle Fever" from 1972, which sold over one million copies in the United States, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in March 1972.2 It also reached #8 in the US Billboard Hot 100. In the UK it fared less well: despite some airplay soon after release it was later banned by the BBC, which took exception to the song's moaning and heavy breathing. It peaked at #29. - Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.) - Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.).


CONTRIBUTOR COMMENTS: "One of the greatest singers of Latin music, who, over his career, had a prolific output of recordings. This is one of my favorites from this legend and, as is the case with Puente, any and every recording by Tito Rodriguez is worth having." (Raul Rico)

D.O. MISIANI, SHIRATI JAZZ | The King Of History - Classic 1970s Benga Beats From Kenya

From the late 60s through the 70s and right up to his death in 2006, Daniel Owino Misiani dominated the world of benga, the idiosyncratic, hypnotically involving music of the Luo-speaking people of Kenya that's now embraced throughout the nation. With its catchy intros and alluring vocals countered by seemingly frenetic guitar patterns that develop over a fabulously active bass, it's not difficult to hear where the attraction lies. This album catches Misiani and his band, Shirati Jazz, at their peak -- the crucial years when their series of hits defined the classic benga sound.


An extremely true-to-form tribute to one of the great original Latin big bands. This project swings from beginning to end. Even the mixing sounds original. This production from the Netherlands reminds us that true beauty never dies. Well done, indeed.


Our favorite Netherlander, Mr. Van Merwijk is back with this smokin' live recording that actually does justice to the work of Benny More and other illuminaries. Simply put, this is a terrific, energy filled release that is a must-have for your dance collection. Trumpeter Chocolate Armenteros guests. Should not be missed.


EDITORIAL: A great salsa number, out of the Netherlands, that pays tribute to the great sonero, Benny More.


Cheo Feliciano came to prominence as the lead singer of the Joe Cuba Sextet from 1957 to 1967, recording albums with the group for the Mardi Gras, Seeco and Tico labels. However, he fell prey to drug addiction and went into personal decline. His only recorded output during this period were sessions with the Cesta All-Stars, Eddie Palmieri and Monguito Santamaría. In 1969 he admitted himself to the Hogar Crea drug rehabilitation centre in Puerto Rico for about three years treatment. While in rehab, Cheo signed with Fania's subsidiary Vaya label, and much to his surprise, his 1971 solo debut Cheo was a runaway success. Witness to the contract was Catalino "Tite" Curet Alonso (1926-2003), who co-produced and wrote most of the project, including the hits "Anacaona" (the single sold over 140,000 copies), "Mi Triste Problema" (the single was no. 1 in New York...more

Artist Mini Bio: AZUQUITA

After leaving his native Panama in 1966, singer and composer Azuquita recorded with Roberto Roena, Kako, the Salsa All-Stars and Cortijo between 1966 and 1969 before recording two solo albums on small labels in the early 1970s. He joined the Fania stable in 1975 and in addition to releasing two solo albums on Vaya, recorded with Kako on Alegre, Louie Ramírez on Cotique and made two albums with Típica 73 on Inca. Believing he had completed his commitment to Fania, Azuquita relocated to Paris in 1979. However, the label contacted him in 1980 to inform him that he owed them an album. He said he would only comply if he could record with the big band of Tito Puente, who, being aware of Azuquita's popularity in Paris, jumped at the chance...more


Singer Luisa María Hernández (1920-2006) had just turned 60 when the phenomenal success of the SAR label briefly revived her career in the 1980s. Born in El Cobre, in the province of Cuba formerly known as Oriente, she became "La India de Oriente" at the beginning of the 1940s. She worked in radio and TV and performed with names like Trío La Rosa, Barbarito Díez, Celia Cruz and Julio Gutiérrez before relocating to the USA in 1960. Recordings she made with Trío La Rosa in Havana between 1949 and 1954 are compiled on Yo Fui La Callejera: Con Trío La Rosa (Tumbao, 2001). She made two albums for the Gema label, Guajiras y Décimas and another with Julio Gutiérrez y sus Guajiros. Between 1980 and 1982 Luisa María recorded three wonderful albums for the SAR sister label Guajiro, ¡Desde El Cobre Con Amor!, La India de Oriente and Buenos Dias Africa, and sang lead vocals on one track in SAR All Stars Interpretan A Rafael Hernández '81 on SAR. Her final outing was La Reina de la Guajira '85 on the SAR descendant...more


DJ El Chino, our Colombian connection, is back with a powerhouse playlist that mixes the best of both modern and classic salsa! La Negramenta, Johnny Colon, Roberto Roena, Ray Camacho, Machito, Paul Lopez and Susie Hanson are just a few of the names you will find on this 30 track playlist gem... PLAYLIST


I'm lovin' this video of Pete Nater and crew shot at LP founder Martin Cohen's home in NJ. Nater, who plays with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and a gazillion other top level bands, is joined by the always enjoyable Frankie Vazquez... ...more (plus video)