Joe Cuba Sextet – Wanted Dead Or Alive (Bang Bang! Push Push Push!) (1966)

Joe Cuba Sextet – Wanted Dead or Alive (Bang! Bang! Push, Push, Push)
1975 Fania/Tico Repress SLP-1146, Mono mix |||  1966 (Original release)

You can’t really talk about the Latin boogaloo without mentioning the song “Bang! Bang!”. The Joe Cuba Sextet had been around the flourishing New York scene for a while by this time, and had a bunch of records under their collective belts, so you can’t exactly call this a ‘breakthrough album.’ But the song – allegedly written on the spot during a live gig – catapulted them to newfound heights of popularity. But it’s definitely not all boogaloo either on this record, and the closing tune here, Cocinando, jams for 9 minutes in what is a prescient template of the genre that would soon become known as “salsa” around the world.  This is just fun music in every way, and a great way to get your summer started if you are in the Northern Hemisphere! Continue reading

Joe Cuba – Steppin’ Out (1963, Mono)

Joe Cuba – Steppin’ Out
 Seeco SCLP 9248
Original release 1963
This pressing, late 60s / early 70s
Style: Pachanga, Mambo, Guaguancó, Cha-Cha, Bolero, Salsa

The back cover of this early Joe Cuba LP includes instructions on how to dance the ‘Wabble Cha’, a dance step I presumed they hoped would take the world by storm. There are two great vocalists on this record – Cheo Feliciano and Jimmy Sabater.  “To Be With You” would become Sabater’s trademark song.

Continue reading

El Gran Combo – Por El Libro (1972) (EGC Records LPS-003)

El Gran Combo – Por El Libro
1972 EGC Records LPS 003

Vinyl rip in 24-bit/96 kHz | FLAC |  Art scans at 300 dpi

El Gran Combo is practically an institution in Puerto Rico, they have been around so long and had so many members over the years.  The group has also served as a launching pad for a number of artists who have gone on to solo careers. This is a pretty solid early-70’s record. Particular highlights are compositions by the prolific Claudio Ferrer, and the gorgeous, moody “Estas Equiviocado” by Osvaldo Farres (of “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas” fame).

Continue reading

Orchestra Harlow – El Jardinero Del Amor (1976) [FANIA SLP 00499]

Orchestra Harlow – El Jardinero del Amor
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Art at  300 dpi
24 bit 192khz 1.65 GB |24 bit 96 khz – 883 MB | 279MB 16-bit 44.1 khz
Fania Records SLP 00499 | Released 1976 | Salsa / Latin-Jazz

Dr. Vibes 12 Days of Christmas – Day 11 – Led by musical innovator and pioneer Larry Harlow (El Judio Maravilloso), Orchestra Harlow put out a string of top-notch albums for the Fania label.  Larry had led a storied life – he lived in Cuba before the revolution, studying music and anthropology.  He had helped revive the career of Celia Cruz with his “Latin opera” Hommy in the early 70s.  And he was an accomplished santero.  None of this prevented him from being ripped off by Fania – around the time of this album, he realized that they had not been paying what they owed to him, and he sued his own label.  Needless to say they were counting down the days left in his contract to drop him, and did little to promote his records from this period.   Which is a shame because this is pretty much non-stop greatness from start to finish.  Of especial note is the folkloric-themed Cuento Carabali that works as a great grand finale here.

Continue reading

Angel Canales – El Diferente (1981) (Senelac Records LP8881)


Angel Canales – El Diferente
1982 Senelac Records LP 8881
Salsa / Latin-Jazz / Fusion

Well Brazil has jumped the shark, so I’m going to devote some musical energy to other places for a while.  The U.S. still has a chance of climbing back out of the rabbit hole it’s gone down.  And that is in no small part due to the ever-evolving demographic changes that terrify the White Nationalists so much.  So, here’s an album from the great Ángel Canales, born in Santurce, PR, but raised in New York.  His recording career began on Alegre Records with a record featuring a sexy but somewhat bizarre album cover and a hit in “Lejos De Ti”.  By the 1980s, he was putting out records on his own label, SENALAC.  This one features a blistering-hot band, with amazing baritone sax blowing by Pete Miranda, and charismatic Canales leading the proceedings. While “El Diferente” is still firmly rooted in salsa, bomba, and plena traditions, there is also a fusion edge to the band’s versatility and ability to surprise with their arrangements (done by no less than six different people).  Continue reading

Hilton Ruiz – El Camino (1987) (featuring Dick Griffin and Sam Rivers)

Hilton Ruiz
El Camino (The Road)
1988 Novus 3024-1-N

A1 West Side Blues 6:42
A2 Come Dance With Me 8:25
A3 Sometimes I 6:26
B1 El Camino (The Road) 6:19
B2 Message From The Chief 1:54
B3 Eastern Vibrations 14:55

Recorded At – Uptown Chelsea Sound

Bass – Andy Gonzalez
Congas, Percussion – Jerry Gonzalez
Drums, Guiro – Steve Berrios
Guitar – Rodney Jones
Percussion, Congas – Jose Alexis Diaz
Piano, arrangements – Hilton Ruiz
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Sam Rivers
Timbales – Endel Dueno
Trombone, arrangements on A2 & A3 – Dick Griffin
Trumpet – Lew Soloff

Engineer – Tony May
Producer – Ed Michel
Liner Notes – Leonard Feather

Recorded October 15, 1987, Uptown Chelsea Sound, New York City.

LINEAGE: Novus 3024-1-N vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply; Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on very light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename. Transferred Summer 2017.


The blog has been way too quietly these last few weeks, as “real life” suddenly got real busy.  But it’s all good stuff for once, so it seems like a good moment to post this album that’s been in the queue for a while.  Plus it has nice liner notes from the late Leonard Feather which means I can keep my trap shut and let him do most of the talking. This is a tremendous sophomore album by the late, great pianist Hilton Ruiz, who played in Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s band among many others.  He brings some heavy weight to this session, which was recorded live to 2-track DAT.  The presence of  Lew Soloff on trumpet, along with fellow Kirk alum Dick Griffin (who contributes two compositions) and the brilliant Sam Rivers, pretty much insure you’re in for a great listen.  As Feather writes, it grabs your right at the beginning and doesn’t let go.  The closing number, the fourteen-minute Eastern Vibrations, is in a modal spiritual jazz vibe, and Hilton’s solo is off the hook, pushing into Cecil Taylor territory but never straying too far from the driving pulse of the tune.   Here, have a look at the liner notes:

 


password: vibes