Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Yo Soy Latino
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Latin Music
Listen to Samples
A more commercial style of album, UNDERRATED, but STILL enjo
S. | 07/15/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This last album by Larry Harlow for Fania (released in 1982, and recorded in 1979, except for the Tito Rodríguez tune Mango Del Monte, and the last tune Chiquíta Y Gordíta both recorded in 1978) is an unfairly underrated and not very highly regarded album. To be franc, in my modest opinion, it is not as bad as what I've read about it on the internet.
Another way to describe this album's musical style is: neutral.
What I mean by neutral is that it doesn't have a particular style of music that can strongly and clearly be identified in the songs here, as it is not Cuban style of salsa (like Sonora Matancera), it doesn't have Cuban Son-Montuno style of music either (like SAR's Roberto Torres, Monguíto, Papaíto and Henry Fiol style of albums to mention just a few), it doesn't have a 'Tipico' Puerto-Rico style of salsa sound (like Bobby Valentín, El Gran Combo De Puerto Rico, Roberto Roena or Tommy Olivencia) and it definitely doesn't contain much hard-driven New York City style of Nuyorican salsa like in the earlier days of his Orchestra Harlow at its real peak for example.
Therefore, it is DEFINITELY a more commercial style of album; more "rounded", less ragged and "racy" as his older albums from the 60's to mid-70's, easier to listen to, but still with a good enough quality swing throughout 98% of the songs in the album.
Now, one thing that this album does have for a fact is a few funky edges here and there, like some needless (and not of my taste) electric guitar solos, and a few Brazilian sort of edges, like in the arrangements of Amor Que Soñé, but it's definitely not THAT harmful and I can VERY EASILY listen past it without problems.
Another funky area in this album is that weird, bizarre and dreadful song Desencanto (Precepada) [where what I think I've picked up is some Brazilian and Puerto Rican Bomba rhythm elements "infused" and mixed together!]
This, and the remake of the Bolero Anoche Aprendí (from his very first Fania album from 1966: Orchestra Harlow Heavy Smokin [now available remastered] are definitely the 2 tunes of this album to avoid.
Otherwise, the rest, I find more than enjoyable as I've already said.
The other good thing about this album is that it is SO long!
It lasts 53.09 Mins! If you exclude the 2 bad tunes that I've already mentioned, it yields up to 42 Mins of music, making it VERY long and VERY good value for money.
Now, the highlights here for me are the great 6.00 mins tune Ametralladora, and De Pescado Nada where Tito Allen's voice on chorus comes out very nicely as well!
That tune includes a very good Trombone solo possibly by `Papo' Vázquez, great swing and intensity, and great vocals by "El Albino Divíno" Néstor Sánchez who actually does a very good job throughout the whole of the album (may he Rest In Peace...)
Ametralladora, also written by Mike Guagenti (a Harlow "music associate", I believe) is a very flavoursome mid-tempo tune with a very catchy and highly musical intensity and quality, where Adalberto Santiago's voice on the chorus comes out extremely well; and includes some very good quality arrangements for that tune too.
Singer Nestor Sanchez goes very "highly-pitched" on this one (without forgetting the Electric Guitar solo.)
Guajira Simalé (written by Pacho Alonso) is in the Charanga-fusioned style of music that Harlow very occasionally likes to do.
It obviously has violins in the background (which resemble VERY much to the violin background arrangements that Cuba's Orquesta Aragón did of this same song in the 1960's).
Puerto-Rican Flutist Néstor Torres riffs pretty fast at times like he often likes to do and the choruses are very well made, again (in a very 'Aragonesque' style), and the BIG highlight for me here, HAS to be the GREAT piano solo by Larry Harlow which lasts over a minute! Great stuff! I was really impressed the first time I heard that Piano solo, I have to say!
Mango Del Monte is another nice song, which contains good swing, particularly long arangements and a very good and long Trumpet solo!
(It's also a very highly danceable tune.)
Amor Que Soñé is definitely a good enough song (although I did say that it has a few funky elements which aren't really harmful...)
Yo Soy Así is another song which I like pretty much, with again, a great chorus, and a nice and slightly 'layed back' swing, containing an Electric Guitar solo by Bob Crawford (who actually slightly accompanies most of the album's songs with his electric guitar in the same way as a Cuban Tres-Guitar would accompany very softly and smoothly the music.)
To finish off, Chiquíta Y Gordíta is yet again, another song that swings, that is danceable, and that is good enough too.
Oh, and the title tune Yo Soy Latino is a bit funky too, with a Bongo solo by Timbale player Nicky Marrero, and funky bass-line notes throughout the whole tune by Cuban virtuoso bassist Salvador Cuevas.
This album also has, in quite a few songs, a sort of soft Cymbal accompanying percussion which suits better Tito Puente's style of music than Harlow's, but then again, I can listen past that too.
Despite the different style of Harlow album that this is, it is definitely an album that I do enjoy listening to, and that I do think you should consider as it has more than enough quality for your money, and surely for mine!
Remastered by: Bob Katz - Digital Domain. 8/10. Very decent and satisfying enough remastering. Not an issue at all.