Tag Archives: Latin jazz

Rubén Blades’ Tribute to Legendary Latin Music Big Bands

Rubén Blades – Salsa Big Band (Rubén Blades Producciones, 2017)

Rubén Blades, one of the undisputed masters of salsa music, has released his second album recorded with the formidable Roberto Delgado & Orquesta. As the album title indicates, this recording is a tribute to the 1950s jazz and Latin jazz big bands, many of which were influenced by Cuban music big bands.

There is plenty of well-deserved Panamanian pride in this album. Rubén Blades hails from Panama and Roberto Delgado & Orquesta are Panamanian as well and the album was recorded in Panama. The partnership between Rubén Blades and superb arranger and big band leader Roberto Delgado delivers a set of outstanding songs where you’ll find the best of salsa and Latin jazz, highlighting Rubén’s unique vocals and masterful songwriting along with a large combo of talented instrumentalists.

 

 

The lineup on Salsa Big Band includes Rubén Blades on lead and backing vocals; Roberto Delgado on baby bass, electric bass, acoustic bass and backing vocals; Juan Berna on piano; Marcos Barraza on congas; Carlos Pérez-Bidó on timbales; Raúl “Toto” Rivera on bongo, bell, güiros and maracas; Ademir Berrocal on congas, timbales, bongo and bell; Juan Carlos “Wichy” López on trumpets; Alejandro “Chichisín” Castillo on trumpets and trombones; Francisco Delvecchio on trombone; Avenicio “Pin” Núñez on trombone; Carlos Ubarte on soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophone; Luis Enrique Becerra on keyboards.

Guests: Ricky Rodriguez on piano; Juan Carlos De León on piano; Robinson Fereira on piano; and Pablo Governatori on drums.

Salsa Big Band demonstrates that Rubén Blades is still at the top of the salsa world; a candidate for one of the best albums of the year.

Buy the Salsa Big Band digital download version

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Artist Profiles: Eddie Palmieri

Eddie Palmieri

Eddie Palmieri’s musical career spans several decades as a bandleader of salsa and Latin jazz orchestras. His discography includes over 30 albums and various Grammy Awards.

Born in Spanish Harlem (New York city)  in 1936, Palmieri began piano studies at an early age, as did his celebrated older brother, the late salsa legend and pianist Charlie Palmieri. For Hispanic New Yorkers of Eddie’s generation, music was a vehicle out of the barrio. At age 11, he made his classical debut at Carnegie Hall, a venue as far from the Bronx as he could imagine. Possessed by a desire to play the drums, Palmieri joined his uncle’s orchestra at age 13, where he played the timbales. Says Palmieri, “By 15, it was good-bye timbales’ and back to the piano until this day. I’m a frustrated percussionist, so I take it out on the piano.”

He began his professional career as a pianist in the early 1950s with Eddie Forrester’s Orchestra. In 1955 he joined Johnny Segui’s band. He spent a year with the Tito Rodriguez Orchestra before forming his own band, the legendary Conjunto La Perfecta in 1961. La Perfecta featured a trombone section (led by the late Barry Rogers) in place of trumpets, something that had been rarely done in Latin music, and which demonstrated the early stages of Palmieri’s unconventional means of orchestration. They were known as “the band with the crazy roaring elephants” for the configuration of two trombones, flute, percussion, bass and vocalist. With an infectious and soaring sound, Palmieri’s band soon joined the ranks of Machito, Tito Rodriguez, and the other major Latin orchestras of the day.

Palmieri’s influences include not only his older brother Charlie but Jesus Lopez, Chapotin, Lili Martinez and other Cuban players of the 1940s and jazz legends Art Tatum, Bobby Timmons, Bill Evans, Horace Silver, Bud Powell, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis. Equally important were influences derived from Palmieri’s curiosity and incessant search to unearth his family’s roots and seek out the origins of the music that profoundly inspired him.

“In Cuba, there was a development and crystallization of rhythmical patterns that have excited people for years,” said Palmieri. “Cuban music provides the fundamental from which I never move. Whatever has to be built must be built from there. It’s that cross-cultural effect that makes magnificent music.” His solid interpretation of Afro-Caribbean music and its confluence with jazz is evident in Eddie Palmieri’s astute arranging skills, which assemble those components in dramatic and compelling compositions.

His accomplishments have taken him through Europe, Japan and Latin America, showcasing his assemblage of seasoned musicians and kaleidoscope of musical styles. He served as a consultant to Paul Simon on his 1990 release Rhythm of the Saints and in 1993 was appointed to the board of governors of the New York chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science. As a member of the New York chapter, Palmieri was instrumental in creating a new category for Latin Jazz in 1995.

On his first salsa album in eleven years, El Rumbero del Piano, Palmieri returned to his roots as leader of one of Latin music’s most phenomenal dance bands. Accompanied by the finest musicians of New York and Puerto Rico, Palmieri presented a sensational combination of salsa, bomba, plena, son montuno and jazz. El Rumbero del Piano is a spectrum of memorable and danceable music in nine outstanding tracks, featuring vocals by Wichy Camacho and Herman Olivera, two of Latin music’s most inspiring singers.

In his modern version of Arsenio Rodriguez’s classic “Oigan mi Guaguanco ” Palmieri pays tribute to Rodriguez, the great Cuban tres player, one of the founding fathers of today’s tropical music. Puerto Rican customs and culture are the centerpiece of the bomba tune “El Dueño Monte” in which the vocalists pay tribute to other legendary figures of Puerto Rico’s folk music, including singer Ismael Rivera and the musicians of the Cepeda family.

In “Donde Esta mi Negra” Palmieri gives new life to a genre known as “the people’s newspaper”—the plena. This is the first plena Palmieri has composed and arranged. Another treat is a salsa version of “La Malagueña Salerosa” composed by Pedro Galindo and Elpidio Ramírez. The final track, “Para que Escuchen” is pure Palmieri, urging listeners to hear the talking drum.

On his exuberant Concord Picante debut, La Perfecta II, Eddie Palmieri took a salsified, mambo-rific trip down memory lane and bought an updated twist of his famed 1960s ensemble to a whole new generation of Latin music lovers.

Now that Tito Puente is gone, Palmieri accepts the passing of the Latin music leader baton and is happy to consider himself a Latin jazz ambassador to the world.

Tito helped extend this music to all parts of the world, and as long as I am still healthy and energetic, I will continue to record and tour to keep this wonderful legacy alive,” says Palmieri. “The rhythms continue to excite because they keep evolving, just as they did when the African captives who started them were taken to the Caribbean. It’s a matter of finding new ways to utilize these complicated patterns and then create exciting new arrangements for my ensemble.”

We’ve been together for many years and work like a good baseball team,” adds Palmieri of his band. “What matters is how we take care of specific synchronizations, and a lot of that takes place first in my head. The structure is there, and I look at it sometimes as a mathematical equation. But then, it must translate to emotion, and that’s where the reaction of the audience comes in.” He jokes about choosing the title of his 2003 album, “I like the sound of Ritmo Caliente on Concord Picante. It is hot and spicy, like the music.” On the CD, Palmieri combines hard core salsa and hard Latin jazz with his classical and chamber string influences. “Concord has been wonderful in offering me this ability to keep taking musical risks,” he said.

In 2005, Palmieri received a series of prestigious awards: he received the Alice Tully African Heritage Award from City College, received the Harlem Renaissance Award and was inducted into both the Bronx Walk of Fame and the Chicago Walk of Fame. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Urban Latino Magazine. He acted as Godfather of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City and received the EL Award from El Diario Newspaper. Yet another outstanding achievement that year was the debut of “Caliente ” a radio show hosted by Mr. Palmieri on National Public Radio, making him the first Latino ever to do so. The show has been a tremendous success, being picked up by more than 16 radio stations nationwide.

In 2006, Palmieri’s Listen Here! won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. Simpático, released in 2007, a collaborative effort with trumpet master Brian Lynch, won the 2007 Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album. Simpático was also recognized by the Jazz Journalist Association as Best Latin Jazz Album that same year.

Awards and accolades

Eddie Palmieri received his first Grammy Award in 1975 for his release The Sun of Latin Music, which is often considered the most historic, as it was the first time Latin Music was recognized by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS).

He would win again the following year for Unfinished Masterpiece, Palo Pa Rumba, Bajo Con Tumbao in 1984, Solito in 1985 and La Verdad in 1987. He received a Latin Grammy and a traditional Grammy for his 2000 release with Tito Puente entitled Obra Maestra, Listen Here! in 2006 and Simpatico in 2007, a collaborative effort with trumpet master Brian Lynch, for Best Latin Jazz Album.

Palmieri was awarded the Eubie Blake Award by Dr. Billy Taylor in 1991 and is among the few Hispanic musicians recognized by the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico and the New York State Assembly. In 1988, the Smithsonian Institution recorded two of Palmieri’s performances for their catalog of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., a rare public honor.

The 1998 Heineken Jazz Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico, paid tribute to his contributions as a bandleader, bestowing him an honorary doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music.

Palmieri remains a powerhouse of brilliance and sound that has stirred audiences for more than 3 decades years, continually and successfully seeking to captivate and elevate the senses, and taking them down paths of intensity to a place where there are no musical boundaries.

Discography:

La Perfecta (Alegre, 1962)

El Molestoso (Alegre, 1963)

Lo Que Traigo Es Sabroso (Alegre, 1964)

Mambo Con Conga Is Mozambique (Tico, 1965)

Palmieri & Tjader: El Sonido Nuevo (Tico, 1966)

Palmieri & Tjader: Bamboleate (Tico, 1967)

Champagne (Tico, 1968)

Justicia (Tico, 1969)

Superimposition (Tico, 197)

Harlem River Drive (Roulette, 1971)

Live At Sing Sing – Vol 1 (Tico, 1972)

Live At Sing Sing – Vol 2 (Tico, 1972)

Sentido (Coco, 1973)

The Sun of Latin Music (Coco, 1974)

Unfinished Masterpiece (Coco, 1974)

Lucumi Macumba Voodoo (Epic, 1978)

Eddie Palmieri (Barbaro, 1982)

Bajo Con Tumbao (1984)

Solito (Musica Latina, 1985)

La Verdad (Sonido, 1987)

Sueño (Intuition, 1992)

Llegó La India Via Eddie Palmieri (Soho Sounds Palmas – Elektra/Nonesuch, 1992)

Arete (Tropijazz, 1995)

Vortex (Tropijazz, 1996)

El Rumbero Del Piano (Tropijazz, 1998)

Obra Maestra (2000)

La Perfecta II (Concord, 2002)

Ritmo Caliente (Concord Records CCD-218-2, 2003)

Listen Here! (Concord Records, 2005)

Simpático (The Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project) (2006)

Eddie Palmieri is Doin’ it in the Park (2013)

 

 

Sabiduría (Ropeadope, 2017)

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The Wisdom of Eddie Palmieri

Eddie Palmieri – Sabiduría (Ropeadope, 2017)

Award-winning pianist and composer Eddie Palmieri, who’s one of the greatest names in Latin jazz, showcases his wide-ranging musical talent on Sabiduría (wisdom in Spanish). Along with his band of Latin music masters, Palmieri has invited an impressive cast of jazz musicians to perform on his album.

This is not a smooth Latin jazz album. While there is certainly a rich Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican rhythmic and melodic foundation, Sabiduría presents plenty of jazz improvisation.

The album opens with a strong Cuban flavor, highlighting acclaimed Cuban violinist Alfredo de la Fe on “Cuerdas y Tumbao” and the Afro-Cuban batá drums of Xavier Rivera and Camilo Molina on “Wise Bata Blues.”

On the title track “Sabiduria” Palmieri keeps the Caribbean Latin rhythm section, but this time he ventures into fiery funk jazz featuring stellar work by bassist Marcus Miller and guitarist David Spinozza.

“La Cancha” is a mambo where Palmieri treats the listener to superb interplay between Joe Locke’s vibraphone and Alfredo de la Fe’s violin.

The Caribbean connection is always present in New Orleans. On “Augustine Parish” the saxophone takes the lead, featuring New Orleans horn player Donald Harrison.

Eddie Palmieri takes a break from the full ensemble format, delivering a mesmerizing solo piano performance titled “Life.”

“Samba Do Suenho” introduces Brazilian rhythms into the mix. Locke is back with his exquisite vibraphone, dancing with the piano and bass.

On “Spinal Volt” Palmieri returns to the Afro-Cuban theme with a Latin jazz orchestra showcasing percussion, horns and Palmieri’s incomparable piano.

“The Uprising” celebrates New Orleans carnival tradition with Mardi Gras Indians vocals, wild horn solos and the fabulous rhythm section.

On the Afro-Cuban composition “Coast To Coast,” Ronnie Cuber delivers an extended baritone saxophone solo, followed by Luques Curtis’ excellent bass solo.

“Locked In” highlights interaction between the piano, vibraphone and bass.

The last piece, “Jibarita y su son” has mysterious feel, starting with electronic keyboards, bass and layers of drums that leads into more familiar territory, with Palmieri mixing classical and Latin piano, presenting a tasty danzón.

The album lineup includes on Eddie Palmieri on piano; Joe Locke on vibraphone; Anthony Carrillo on bongos, cowbell; Little Johnny Rivero on conga; Luis Quintero on timbales; Luques Curtis on bass; Obed Calvaire on drums; Iwao Sado on batá drums; Bernard Purdie on drums; Ronnie Cuber on saxophone; Donald Harrison on saxophone, vocals; Alfredo de la Fe on violin; Marcus Miller on bass; David Spinozza on electric guitar; Camilo Molina on drums, batá drums, timbales; Xavier Rivera on batá drums; Jonathan Walsh on trumpet; Jeremy Powell on saxophone; Jonathan Powell on trumpet; and Louis Fouche on saxophone.

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Artist Profiles: Manny Oquendo

Manny Oquendo

Bandleader Oquendo was a veteran of the days when Latin bands crowded into a studio to polish off a recording in an all-night session. “The first recording (singer) Tito Rodriguez did we took the 7th Avenue train to record for SMC label,” Oquendo recalled. “Tito Puente did the arrangements. You recorded on monaural with just a few mikes. You couldn’t stop and overdub. You just played.”

Oquendo’s musical education consisted of the old-school,just play” approach and he was in the right place to learn. He grew up on Kelly Street in the Bronx New York not far from the great Cuban tres player Arsenio Rodriguez. Colin Powell who’d later become a general lived on the block too so did pianist Noro Morales. And a lot of kids who’d later make their names in Latin music such as Joe Cuba the Palmieri brothers Little Ray Romero grew up playing stickball on Kelly Street.

One floor down from the Oquendo apartment was the Almacenes Hernandez record shop. “There was music constantly coming out of that store and that was my education,” Oquendo recalled. He became an expert on Cuban rhythms and began playing bongo and timbales with a succession of New York’s top bands.

Manny Oquendo died on March 25, 2009

Discography:

Increible (1981. Reissued by Sony Discos Inc. 8397 2000)

Ritmo Sonido y Estilo (1983)

Mejor que nunca (Milestone Records 9226, 1994)

Muévete! (Milestone, 1996)

Ahora (Milestone Records 9288, 1999)

Los New Yorkinos (Milestone/Fantasy Records MCD-937 2000)

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Artist Profiles: Jerry Gonzalez

Puerto Rican-American Multi-instrumentalist Jerry Gonzalez (congas/flugelhorn/trumpet) leads The Fort Apache Band, one of the most influential modern Afro-Caribbean Jazz Group of the past years. The group blends complex Latin rhythms with impeccable jazz improvisations.

Jerry Gonzalez’s first High profile professional engagement came at the age of 19 in 1971 with Dizzy Gillespie. Since then he has worked with masters from the jazz and Latin music fields such as: Kenny Dorham Tony Williams McCoy Tyner Jaco Pastorius Tito Puente Eddie Palmieri and Manny Oquendo y Libre. Jerry Gonzalez’ first session as a leader came in 198 with the critically acclaimed recording of Ya Yo Me Curé on the American Clave’ label. Following the success of Ya Yo Me Curé, The Fort Apache Band was formed and included such members as Kenny Kirkland, Sonny Fortune, Nicky Marrero, Papo Vazquez, the late Jorge Dalto and Milton Cardona. The ensemble’s first two albums were recorded live at European jazz festivals The River is Deep 1982 in Berlin: Obatala 1988 in Zurich.

In 1989 Fort Apache recorded the groundbreaking Rumba Para Monk as a quintet featuring: Jerry Gonzalez (trumpet flugelhorn congas), Andy Gonzalez (bass), Steve Berrios (drums), Larry Willis (piano) and Carter Jefferson (tenor saxophone). Rumba Para Monk was named album of the year by the French Academe du Jazz and resulted in the group being voted The Word Beat Group of the year in Downbeat’s 55th annual Readers Poll. It is this recording that has been cited as leading the resurgence in Afro-Caribbean Jazz in the past decade.

The group became a sextet with the addition of Joe Ford (alto & soprano saxophone) for 1991’s Earthdance (Sunnyside) and 1992’s Moliendo Cafe (Sunnyside). Following the death of Carter Jefferson, former Fort Apache member John Stubblefield returned to the band on tenor sax to record Crossroads (Milestone). The ensemble’s 1995 recording Pensativo (Milestone) also received a Grammy nomination. On the heals of the Grammy nominations for Crossroads and Pensativo the ensemble was awarded The Beyond Group of the Year by both Downbeat Magazines reader’s and critic’s polls in 1995 and 1996.

Firedance (Milestone) was recorded in February 1996 at Blues Alley in Washington DC and is the first live recording of the ensemble as a Sextet. Following this fiery recording the ensemble won the award of Best Jazz Group in Playboy Magazines Readers Poll for 1997. In 1998 the ensemble swept the Latin Jazz category at the New York Jazz Awards winning both the Industry and Journalist Polls. In 1999 the group swept the critics and readers polls for Beyond Group of The Year in Downbeat Magazine.

In 2000 Gonzalez moved from New York to Madrid. The Spanish capital, a cultural melting pot full of Flamenco musicians as well as Cuban Argentine Brazilian Equatorial Guinean Sudanese and many other expatriates welcomed the Newyorican musician with open arms and he quickly joined the bustling Flamenco and jazz scene.

In 2001 Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band were prominently featured in Fernando Trueba’s film on Latin Jazz Calle 54 (Miramax). This film received critical acclaim throughout the world and was followed by a series of concerts promoting the film including an engagement at The Beacon Theatre in New York City. The Soundtrack Calle 54 – Music From The Miramax Motion Picture is available on Blue Note Records.

The collaboration with Fernando Trueba also resulted in the production of a new CD Jerry Gonzalez y Los Pirates Del Flamenco featuring Jerry Gonzalez along with a Gypsy Flamenco group that includes the esteemed Flamenco singer “El Cigala.”

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Artist Profiles: Bobby Matos

Bobby Matos

Bronx-born Bobby Matos has been playing Afro-Cuban rhythms for many years. He was there, in New York, when the Salsa boom was about to start and take over the minds and souls of a generation that was craving for a musical revolution that would bring them pride and happiness.

Born in a Puerto Rican family, Bobby Matos began playing music playing pots and pans in his grandmother’s apartment and went on to backstage informal lessons with conga drum masters Patato Valdés and Mongo Santamaria.

His first gigs were in the early 6s beat bohemian Greenwich Village Cafes, but he soon found himself playing in every type of venue; from Bronx dance halls to Carnegie Hall, to elegant supper clubs, Central Park Concerts, Off Broadway theaters, and After Hours clubs in El Barrio.

He was inspired and encouraged to play timbales by Willie Bobo and Tito Puente, and in the late 1960s attended the New School and Manhattan School of Music studying composition and arranging. Around this exciting time for Latin Music in New York, he recorded My Latin Soul, in 1968. This recording eventually became a much prized cult classic influencing many 197s and 8s Acid Jazz groups on both sides of the Atlantic.

After touring and recording with artists like Ben Vereen, Bette Midler, Fred Neil, Jim Croce, Ray Rivera, Joe Loco, Miriam Makeeba, and many others, Bobby moved to Los Angeles where he began experimenting with an Afro-Cuban Jazz band where he could blend (and twist) musical elements from Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Wayne Shorter, Eddie Palmieri, and the rich legacy of Afro-Cuban music.

In the 1980s and 90s, he recorded several albums, most notably 5 critically acclaimed CDs for Ubiquity Records’ Cubop label. He also produced CDs for Ray Armando, Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers, Dave Pike, John Santos, and Jack Costanzo.

Discography:

My Latin Soul (Philips, 1968)
Collage-Afro Cuban Jazz (Night Life, 1993)
Chango’s Dance (Cubop Records, 1995)
Footprints (Cubop Records, 1996)
Sessions (Cubop Records, 1998)
Live at M.O.C.A. (Cubop Records, 1999)
Mambo Jazz (Cubop Records, 2001)
Made By Hand (Lifeforce Jazz, 2004)
Charanga Chango (Lifeforce Jazz, 2006)
Acknowledgement (Lifeforce, 2006)
Gratitude (Lifeforce, 2007)
Unity (2009)
Beautiful As the Moon (2012)
Ritmo & Blues (2014)

www.bobbymatosmusic.com

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Artist Profiles: Bio Ritmo

Bio Ritmo – Photo by Chris Smith

Bio Ritmo (Biorhythm) is a remarkable Richmond, Virginia-based salsa band led by keyboardist Marlysse Simmons. Bio Ritmo’s sound is rooted in the great Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican salsa traditions.

It is their vision for bringing salsa “into the now” through skillful layering of jazz, urban, electronic and global sonic influences while maintaining the integrity of their foundation; and unusually profound and introspective lyrics.

Discography:

Que Siga La Musica (Shamless Records, 1996)
Salsa Galactica (Permanent Records, 1997)
Rumba Baby Rumba (Mercury / Triloka Records, 1998)
Bio Ritmo (Locutor Records, 2004)
Salsa System EP (Locutor Records, 2006)
Bionico (Locutor Records, 2008)
La Verdad (Electric Cowbell Records, 2011)
Puerta del Sur (Vampisoul Records, 2014)

www.bioritmo.com

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Healing Latin Jazz

Mari Nobre – “Live and Alive”

Mari Nobre – “Live and Alive” (Chrome Records, 2017)

Italian-American vocalist Mari Nobre (maiden name Mariangela Spiezia) recorded this album live at the Jan Popper Theatre at UCLA (California). Although some of her past albums have focused on rhythms from across Latin America and pop, on “Live and Alive” she performs new Latin Jazz arrangements of American jazz standards as well as Brazilian classics by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Her band features a multi-ethnic roster that provides a jazz flavor and colorful Brazilian influences.

Mari Nobre recorded this album just three weeks after her surgery, recovering from cancer. Mari Nobre has indicated that music had a strong effect in healing her so she’s donating part of the sales from the album to the children’s cancer research.

The lineup on “Live and Alive” includes Mari Nobre on vocals; Leo Nobre on bass; Justo Almario on saxophone and flute; Angelo Metz on acoustic and electric guitar; Sandro Feliciano on drums; and Daniel Szabo on piano.

“Live and Alive” is a passionate album by the talented multilingual vocalist Mari Nobre.

Buy the digital version of Live and Alive or the CD at CD Baby.

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Artist Profiles: Yomo Toro

Yomo Toro – Photo by Verna Gillis/Soundscape

Yomo Toro, a cultural icon for 50 years, was one of Latin music’s most beloved musicians. Victor Guillermo Toro was born on July 26, 1933 in the Guarnica province of Puerto Rico in Ensenada, where a statue of him now stands in the town square.

He began learning cuatro with his father and during his teens performed with many popular and folkloric groups. He moved to New York in 1956, and throughout the ’60s played with such groups as Ramito and Los Panchos.

From the late ’60s through the mid-’70s he hosted a TV show on Channel 41. In 1970, he joined Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe in recording the classic Asalto Navideño, a groundbreaking album that combined New York salsa with traditional Puerto Rican Christmas music and became one of the best-selling salsa albums of all time.

He was a member of the famed Fania All-Stars, which included such artists as Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Johnny Pacheco, Bobby Valentin, Roberto Roena, Ray Barretto, Larry Harlow, Cheo Feliciano, and Ismael Miranda, and toured with the band throughout the world.

Yomo Toro

He appeared on more than 150 albums, including over 20 solo albums for Fania, Island, Rounder and Green Linnet Records. He has recorded with such stars as Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, David Byrne, and Marc Anthony, made several cross-cultural albums, and worked on the soundtracks of Woody Allen’s Bananas and Crossover Dreams.

In his last years he performed with Larry Harlow and the Latin Legends Band and appeared in the off-Broadway show Sofrito! In addition to performing, he was an accomplished songwriter, particularly of romantic ballads.

In 2012, several press releases came out in June, confirming that Yomo Toro was severely ill, suffering from kidney failure due to many years of high blood pressure.

Yomo Toro died on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 11:40 pm after more than a month in a New York hospital due to kidney failure.

Discography

* Asalto Navideño
* The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, with Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe (Fania, 1975)
* Funky Jibaro (Polygram, 1988)
* Gracias (Mango, 1990)
* Las Manos de Oro (Xenophile Records, 1995)
* Celebremos Navidad (Protel, 1996)
* Celebrando Navidad (Ashe Records, 1999)
* Romantico (1999)
* Musica del Mundo Entero (2000)
* Alma de Ramito (Fania, 2000)
* El Espiritu Jibaro (The Jibaro Spirit), with Roswell Rudd (Sunny Side Records, 2007)
* 24 Canciones Inolvidables de R. Hernandez (Combo, 2008)
* La Herencia (Fania, 2008)

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Artist Profiles: Willie Colón

Willie Colón – Photo by Timothy Fadek

Trombone player, composer and bandleader Willie Colón is one of the pioneers of modern salsa and Latin jazz.

Colón holds fifteen gold and five platinum records, and has collaborated with celebrated artists such as Fania All-Stars, Hector LaVoe, Rubén Blades, David Byrne, Celia Cruz, and Yomo Toro amongst others. His music, which powerfully influenced modern Latin jazz, reflects both rhythmic and traditional lyrics.

His achievements in all his activities are widely recognized. He has created 40 productions, and as musician, composer, arranger, singer, and trombonist, as well as producer and director, Colón still holds the all time record for worldwide sales.

Born William Anthony Colón on April 28, 1950 in the Bronx, New York, and raised by his grandmother, her strong beliefs and personality, powerfully influenced his devotion to his cultural roots. Colón started playing trumpet at the age of 12, and switched to trombone two years later.

Colón’s album “El Malo” has become known as one of the first albums to feature the “New York Sound”, blending in jazz harmonies and jazz style soloing, Colón along with pianist and bandleader Eddie Palmieri, largely defined the sound of salsa”.

As a community leader, he has won both local affection and national recognition. In 1991 he was awarded the Yale University’s CHUBB fellowship, a political recognition he shares with the late John F. Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Moshe Dyane, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush to mention a few.

In November of 1999 he became Dr. William A. Colón through a doctorate he received from Hartford, Connecticut’s Trinity College for The Art of Courage, a recognition given to artists who have used their art to make political change.

Through his work and positive message he has developed into a national and internationally respected sociopolitical voice and artist.

Discography

* Guisando (Fania, 1969)
* Asalto Navideño (Fania SLPF399, 1972)
* The Big Break (Fania SLP394, 1976)
* Siembra (Fania, 1978)
* Solo (Fania, 1980)
* Canciones del Solar de los Aburridos (Fania, 1983)
* Top Secrets (Fania, 1989)
* Illegal Aliens (Fania, 1990)
* Color Americano (CBS, 1990)
* Honra y Cultura (CBS, 1991)
* El Malo (Fania, 1991)
* 49 Minutes (Fania JM00525, 1992)
* Altos Secretos (Fania, 1992)
* Corazón Guerrero (Fania, 1992)
* Deja Vu (Fania, 1992)
* El Baquine de Angelitos Negros (Fania JMCD00506, 1992)
* Last Fight (Fania, 1992)
* The Best (Sony, 1992)
* Grandes Éxitos (Fania, 1992)
* Super Éxitos (Fania, 1992)
* Hecho en Puerto Rico (Fania, 1993)
* Willie & Tito (Vaya, 1993)
* Best, Vol. 2 (Sony, 1994)
* Lo Mato (Fania, 1994)
* El Juicio (Fania LPCD00424, 1994)
* Trans la Tornenta (Sony, 1995)
* Brillantes (Sony, 1996)
* Fania All-Stars (Sony, 1997)
* Mi Gran Amor (Madacy, 1999)
* Idilio (Sony Tropical 83999, 2000)
* Best (Fania 689, 2000)
* Demasiado Corazón (Líderes Entertainment Group 950 036, 2000)
* Criollo (BMG Latin 93611, 2002)
* La Experiencia (2004)
* Colección de Oro (2005)
* OG: Original Gangster (2006)
* The Player (2007)
* La Historia: The Hit List (2007)
* El Malo Vol II: Prisioneros del Mambo (2008)
* Asalto Navideño Live/En Vivo (2008)
* La Esencia de la Fania (2008)
* Historia de la Salsa (2010)
* Selecciones Fania (2011)
* Serie Premium: Sólo Éxitos (2013)

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