Essential Alegre

Alegre All Stars -  Jazz
Alegre All Stars – Jazz
Alegre All Stars

Jazz (Emusica/Fania, 2009)

If you are a salsa fan you are probably very familiar with the Fania record label. However, before Fania there was another record company based in New York City called Alegre. It played a crucial role in the development of salsa music and Latin jazz. The recording Alegre All Stars Jazz is a fiery descarga (jam sessions) album that includes some of Alegre’s biggest names.

The owner of Alegre, Albert (Al) Santiago Alvarez was inspired by the descarga recordings released by the Panart label in the 1950s. In an interview published in Dr. Vernon Boggs’ book Salsiology, Al stated: "I was familiar wit the Panart releases – the hippest Latin jazz thing that I had ever heard in my life. I decided to bring my band leaders together, form  a band, and fill the missing spots with the best musicians from the groups that I had under contract."

The impressive line-up included musical director Charlie Palmieri on piano; renowned timbaleros Kako and Willie Rosario and Orlando Marin; Puerto Rican vocalist Cheo Feliciano (who became one the most popular salsa singers); conguero Frankie Malabe; bassist Bobby Rodríguez; trumpet players Ray Maldonado, Pedro "Puchi" Boulong and Roy Román;   tenor saxophonist José "Chombo" Silva; trombonists Barry Rogers and Mark Weinstein; vocalists Rudy Calzado, Chivirico Davila, Willie Torres and Victor Velázquez; clarinetist Bobby Rodríguez, and vibraphonist Louie Ramírez.

The musical selection includes a brilliant mix of Latin jazz, mambos, boleros and Afro-Cuban rhythms. The pieces include "Kako & Palmieri", "Manteca", "Para Ti", "Lágrimas y Tristezas", "Yumbambe", "El Sopon", "Ay Camina y Ven", "Perdido", "Bobby, Bajo y clarinete", and "Peanut Vendor".

Alegre All Stars Jazz is an essential recording that brings together some of the finest Latin jazz and salsa musicians of their era.

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled “Los sueños de Angélica.”.

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