Fania Records’ la Herencia series released recently four essential recordings for salsa fans. Puerto Rican keyboardist Enrique Lucca Jr. (Papo Lucca) is the musical director of the legendary Sonora La Ponceña. Lucca is an innovator and in the 1970s took the salsa combo in new directions, adding electric piano, dazzling Afro-Latin jazz and rock elements to the band’s repertoire. La Herencia – Papo Lucca presents some of his finest work.
The late Ismael Rivera, nicknamed “Maelo” was considered one of the best salsa vocalists. He had a remarkable talent for improvisation. Ismael Rivera joined Rafael Cortijo’s band and the two friends had a very successful career which produced 17 albums and numerous hits. Their music traveled from Puerto Rico to New York, where their Puerto Rican compatriots and other Hispanics living in the metro area quickly became fans of their sound. La Herencia – Ismael Rivera.
Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz, both of Puerto Rican origin, grew up together in Brooklyn, New York. Richie was trained in classical music at the Juilliard School Of Music and Bobby was the leader of an orchestra where he played guitar and bass. Bobby wrote the lyrics and Ricardo composed the music and orchestrations. The arrangements sometimes borrowed elements from classical music. They were soon known as the Kings of Salsa. La Herencia – Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz.
Roberto Roena joined the band Cortijo and His Combo when the group’s lead singer, Ismael Rivera, left. With Cortijo’s band, Roberto attracted audiences with his showmanship, which included unconventional choreography and dances. A few years later, Roberto Roena was invited to join the reputable Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, where his reputation grew even further. Eventually he formed his own band called Roberto Roena and his Apollo Sound. Some of his best material appears on La Herencia – Roberto Roena.