Luis Kalaff was one of the godfathers of merengue in the Dominican Republic. His sound took elements of the rural, accordion-based merengue típico and combined it with the style forged by the saxophone-led, big band merengue that came into style during the years of its efflorescence under dictator Rafael Trujillo, who essentially made the style into the semi-official national genre by imposing his taste on the country’s elites (he was from the Cibao region where merengue got its start).
Hermeto Pascoal E Grupo Lagoa Da Canoa Município De Arapiraca Original release 1984, Som da Gente This issue, 1988 Happy Hour Music HH5005-2 Normally, during this time of year, I like to post some forró pé de serra and baião to commemorate the marvelous Festas Juninas I came to appreciate when I lived in the northeast of Brazil. It’s not as if I’ve run out of vintage forró records to post about on the blog, but I feel I could … Continue reading
Horace Tapscott Quintet The Giant Is Awakened 1969 original release, Flying Dutchman 2020, this reissue Real Gone Music RGM-1012 Juneteenth is now a federal holiday in the United States. I don’t wish to take away from the significance of that recognition, especially for those old enough to remember the days of Jim Crow. But you’ll have to indulge my skepticism about whether this represents a movement toward genuine reckoning and reparations, or whether its a gesture to make white folks … Continue reading
Chester Thompson – Powerhouse 2021 Real Gone Music RGM-1202 / Original Release 1971 Black Jazz This is a short (seriously short, only 27 minutes) but sweet LP from future Tower of Power and Santana organist, Chester Thompson. Not to be confused with the drummer Chester Thompson, who toured with Genesis in the post-Peter Gabriel years and also played in Santana’s 1980’s lineup at the same time as this Chester, which caused this Chester to start using his middle initial … Continue reading
Gal Costa – Gal 1969 Philips R 765.098 L The great Gal Costa released two classic Tropicália records in 1969, and this one is widely known as the mind-bendingly psychedelic monster of the two. The version presented here is the original mono mix and not the stereo mix that appeared on the Gal Total boxset and later in a Polysom reissue. Gal has always surrounded herself with musical heavyweights but she was keeping particularly heady company at this time: this … Continue reading
Tim Maia – Disco Club 2018 Mr. Bongo MRBLP156/ Original release 1978 Atlantic (Brazil) I am making this blog post on May 31 so that it cannot be said that the first six months of 2020 did not have any Brazilian content whatsoever from Flabbergasted Vibes. I guess I have been kind of ‘down’ on Brazil lately – fascism has run / been running amok there and the Covid situation is just heartbreaking. Something’s got to change. But today is … Continue reading