Salsa Evolutions

Alfredo Naranjo -  Y El Guajeo
Alfredo Naranjo – Y El Guajeo
Some of the best Afro-Latin music in recent months is coming out of Venezuela on the Cacao label. Venezuelan vibraphonist Alfredo Naranjo combines Latin jazz with grooving son and salsa on his latest CD, the fiery Y El Guajeo. In addition to the participation of one of Caracas’ hottest bands, Guajeo, Naranjo also features renowned Nuyorican trombonist Jimmy Bosch.

The term salsa dura (hard salsa) has become popular in salsa circles recently. Jimmy Bosch is one of the best known exponents. Another salsa dura practitioner is veteran musician Wayne Gorbea, who is also Nuyorican. Introducing Wayne Gorbea’s Salsa Picante (picante means spicy) spans Wayne ‘s career and features some of his best works.If you want to find out about what’s happening currently in New York, get the CD Salsa Bands of New York CD. The compilation includes several of the exceptional artists that record for Rumba Jams, the label that is introducing some of the hottest new salsa acts based in the New York area. The CD features Los Soneros Del Barrio, Son Café, Big 3 Palladium Orchestra, George Delgado, Pequeño "Little" Johnny Rivero, Conjunto Imagen, Ray Viera, Willie Moreno and DJ Creme. the music ranges from straight ahead salsa to innovative fusions that combine rap with salsa.

Several salsa compilations came out in recent weeks. Their scope is worldwide and provide a look at how salsa has spread outside Latin America and the United States.

Think Global: Salsa, compiled by Lubi Jovanovic, features Colombia’s spectacular La Sonora Carruseles, the Grammy award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra, pianist Wayne Gorbea, David Cedeño,  Colombian band Grupo Caneo, and romantic salsa singer Adriana Santana. This compilation centers on salsa from Colombia, New York and the UK.

Another British compilation, Salsa Carnaval (Resiste, 2007), features Nuyorican salsa but goes beyond, exploring the music of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and African salsa.

Various Artists - Rough Guide to Salsa Clandestina
Various Artists – Rough Guide to Salsa Clandestina
One of the most intriguing titles for a salsa compilation is The Rough Guide to Salsa Clandestina (Clandestine Salsa). The compilation goes beyond traditional salsa outfits and includes innovative and genre-defying musicians who use salsa combined with other elements such as pop, funk, rock, hip hop, world beat, electronica and jazz. The CD includes Ray Santiago, Ozomatli, Radio Mundial, Toro Ensamble, Jose Conde & Ola Fresca, The Spam Allstars, Alex Wilson, Bambazulú, Los Mocosos, Cuban Cowboys, Bakú, Horacio ‘El Negro’ Hernandez & Robby Ameen feat Rubén Blades, Los Amigos Invisibles, Rob Swift (feat Bob James & D-Styles) and Irving Fields Meets Roberto Juan Rodriguez. The CD contains a data track that includes information from the Rough Guide books.

Finally, the second edition of The Rough Guide to Salsa, compiled by Pablo Yglesias, includes some of the finest US-based, Colombian, Cuban and African salsa musicians, making it one of the most complete compilations within the genre.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and 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 albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.