El Condado De La Salsa y Jazz Latino - April 2019

By Nelson Rodriguez

Here is an update for all you Salsa and Latin Jazz Lovers old and new to the music…it is alive while maybe not well. This may be of a surprise to fans of music because new and old music continues to pour in from all over…some good some bad. If you like Salsa and Latin Jazz you can see in sites like Solar Latin Club, Mi Vida Es La Salsa, Mionama and Latinos Unidos On Line that the music is in full force every month of the year. The problem continues that many of these releases get very little exposure except for local colleges and nonprofit radio stations. There is no commercial radio coverage, little press (except local in the city or country where the artist resides), no need for videos except for exposure in YouTube because we have no video outlets to show these videos. In the late 80’s and 90’s you had TV and morning shows giving the artist exposure with the videos and even interviewing the artists and that had a huge result on sales. Local video programs were popping up everywhere. And speaking about YouTube, while I love it, has it also hurt by keeping people from going out to see the bands live? Some feel that YouTube has had a negative factor on bands and their performances at clubs and festivals. CD’s continue to become obsolete as the younger generation prefers MP3’s but I would like to thank artists who still produce them even in small quantities (quickly making them collector’s items).

Puerto Rico has provided for a good amount of last year’s best recordings and this year as well. Soon to be released is the new Mario Ortiz Jr. y su All-Star Band “55 Aniversario” with Gilberto Santa Rosa, Andy Montañez, Victor Manuelle, Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Ismael Miranda, Willie Rosario, Don Perignon, Pete Perignon, Tito Nieves, Jimmy Morales, Roberto Roena, and many more. I can safely say that this will be one of the top CD’s of 2019.

Another veteran who is back with a very nice Latin Jazz release is Mario Grillo, better known as Machito Jr. & Afro-Cubology, and his CD “For My Grandsons” that is highlighted by the swinging traditional classic “Maria Cervantes” with special guests Eddie Montalvo and Gilberto ‘El Pulpo’ Colon, a very nice new version of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” and “Take Me To The Ozone”. The two main soloists are trumpeter Freddie Hendrix and saxophonist David DeJesus. What is amazing about this recording is that Mario prepared this in a matter of days.

We all know that the lack of money is the #1 reason why many artists are not able to record new releases or even re-issue old ones and with the state of how the market place is today (or the lack of a viable market to sell CD’s) why would they. But if they could here is a list of those artists that should have new recordings…either later this year or just my wish for a new recording: Mambo Legend Orchestra, Ocho y Mas, Alfredo De La Fe, La Dimensión Latina, Oscar D’Leon, Naty Martínez (Charanga or Orchestra), Gerardo Rosales, Orlando Poleo, Andy Montañez, Pulpo (Gil Colon), Papo Vázquez, Larry Harlow, Pedro Guzmán (including various re-issues of CD’s that have not left the island of Puerto Rico), Nils Fischer, Pedro Conga, José Mangual Jr., Chino Núñez, Domingo Quiñones, La Mulenze, Susie Hansen, Juan Luis Guerra, Willy Chirino, Poncho Sánchez, Johnny ‘Dandy’ Rodríguez, Alfredo Linares, J.J. Oliveros, Marc Anthony, Willie Colon, Bailatino, Charlie Cruz, Michael Stuart, India, Jerry Rivera, Henry Fiol, Yolanda Rivera, Cita Rodríguez, Jimmy Morales, Papo Pepín, La 33, Pete Rodríguez, John Santos, La Charanga Cubana, Albita, Orquesta De La Luz, Eddie Resto, Orquesta Borinquen, Azabache, Tony Vega, Ray Sepúlveda, Ray De La Paz, Herman Olivera, Fruko y sus Tesos, Grupo Caribe, Pacific Mambo Orchestra (and various members from that big band), George Delgado, Doug Beavers, Sammy García, Jesús ‘El Niño’ Alejandro, Manny Manuel, Javier Fernández, Ismael Miranda, Hilario Duran (also including some previously recorded material) and so many more that escape me. Some popular names I did not mention because they have had recent releases.

Besides these veterans there are many new artists and lesser known artists that also deserve help. It’s amazing how many artists have found ways to finance their projects and have gotten them out in recent years. We as fans, collectors and lovers of music have been the beneficiaries of these releases. But we still have the problem of enough exposure and we plead with the artists to get the CD’s to the DJ’s and radio shows that can help.

One of these new recordings comes from veteran vocalist Hector Aponte whose new CD, “Matices”, is produced by trombonist Doug Beavers and reminds of those ‘old school’ recordings that had a bit of everything…the danceable side of the CD with very nice boleros. The CD, from the veteran of 40 years, showcases Hector’s different sides of his vocal range as performed on “Espuma Blanca”, “Como Pase El Tiempo”, “Piel De Risa” and the boleros “Fatalidades” & “Antes De Todo”. What I truly enjoyed was that Hector & Doug incorporated arrangements by Beavers himself along with veterans Ray Santos and Javier Fernandez. Add to this mix names like Mitch Frohman, Raul Agraz, Luisito Quintero, Ivan Renta, Al Acosta, John Walsh, George Delgado, Axel Tosca, Manuel ‘Maneco’ Ruiz, Maximo Rodríguez, Marco Bermúdez, Jorge Maldonado, Cita Rodríguez and Daniel Antonetti, that are only half the musicians that are on the recording and you have yourself a sure winner.