Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Charanga - Tradicion Cubana en Nueva York. Vocals: Willie García
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Latin Music
Listen to Samples
SUPERB CUBAN CHARANGA MUSIC INTERPRETED BY NEW-YORK PUERTO-R
S. | 07/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This second Montuno Records Cd that I review, and that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND (Montuno TCD-524) is a GREAT 1987 `one-off' recording with an all-star cast consisting mainly of Puerto-Rican New-York musicians.
The music is therefore not necessarily too musical, or traditionally Cuban (like SAR's Charangas for example) but more up-tempo, rhythmical and dynamic, with just a few Jazzy touches in some parts...
This then makes it for a more modern style of Charanga recording, without breaking any boundaries as they stay liable to the traditional Charanga orchestration, without adding anything of unconventional.
What these Puerto-Rican guys do add though, is a few Cuban `Songo' edges here and there which is a more rhythmical and accelerated type of Son music that began to be played in Cuba around the 1970's, and some Cha-Onda sort of edges too, which is also a more accelerated type of rhythm that Cuba's Orquesta Aragón started to do in the 70's and 80' which works VERY WELL with this band!...
(Don't ask me for proper details about the two rhythms because I could not give them concretely ...)
This album therefore offers a different alternative for those of you who want to change a bit from the great, but more contemporary styles of Charanga recordings like: Orquesta Aragon and Orquesta América, or Orquesta Broadway and SAR's Charanga De La 4...
[The genre of Charanga by the way, is a Cuban type of Latin music with violins generally following up the piano rhythmically, a Conga-Drum, a timbale player playing on the smaller cowbell, someone on güiro (gourd scraper) often singing with some guys on vocals/choruses, and a Flutist CONSTANTLY soloing...]
Therefore you MUST know that this album is also about constant Flute jamming.
(For those of you familiar with Latin Music, sorry for all this explaining!...)
Now, getting into the tunes, the 1st song (Pide Que Lo Toque) is a top tune that takes 1 minute to get started, then you get a TOP-NOTCH musicality with this album's vocalist Willie García singing, an energetic and very inspired flute performance by Dave Valentin, and a TOP-CLASS Latin style of Piano solo by Spanish Harlem Orchestra Pianist/Leader: Oscar Hernández! Wow! Here you REALLY get a taste of what Oscar's all about!... Slightly Jazzy, rhythmical, fairly aggressive as well as VERY Latin most of the times!...
The 2nd tune, Yo Soy De Allí actually turns into a Puerto-Rican Bomba rhythm tune in the 2nd part, obviously in the Charanga orchestration, but with an EXCELLENT music that REALLY works VERY WELL!
It's a VERY musical tune with a lot of expression and nice feeling shown, whether it's musically or lyrically.
It also includes a fine Bass with Arc solo by Joe Santiago.
Tus Fálsos Célos is a song a bit more melancholically romantic, but once it gets started it includes a more dynamic musicality with FINE instrumental musical passages like Valentin's Flute, a nice Jazzy Piano style of solo by the late Argentinean Pianist Jorge Dalto, followed by a VERY beautifully melancholic Félix `Pupi' Legarreta Violin solo! Great stuff!...
Ya Lo Vez Corazón, which narrates about the destiny of a `man-eater' woman who has been very bad, is ANOTHER FINE song which includes a Conga-Drum solo by René López II.
The only tune where you won't get the Nuyorican intensity from these guys is on the EXCELLENT Danzón , written by Israel López `Cachao's brother: Orestes López `Macho' who was a very soulful Cuban Pianist; may they both Rest In Peace...
You MUST ABSOLUTELY be VERY patient with this tune, because AS OFTEN with Danzónes, what you get in the 2nd part is an EXCELLENT Cha-Cha-Chá part with the Flute soloing constantly, sometimes choruses (but not in this case) and instead of the usual Piano solo which I would have preferred, you get a Bass solo by Joe Santiago would you believe!?...
Therefore this GREAT instrumental musical tune is WORTH the wait, believe me!...
El Avánce is a GREAT tune to finish of the album IN BEAUTY!... It's relatively fast paced, rhythmical, dynamic and EXTREMELY GOOD with the whole band shining through together. It also includes a Timbale solo by this album's co-producer Charlie Santiago and a GREAT finale to the tune... Another of my big favourites (along with the 1st two tunes!)
On this album you also get GREAT singers on chorus like: Adalberto Santiago, Orquesta Broadway's Rafael `Felo' Barrio as well as Willie García, producer René López, and Barretto Trumpetist Roberto Rodríguez.
[Full credits to Alejandro Tomás Valdez too, for the 4 songs from this album that he must have written in the 60's, when he became the Violoncellist of Orquesta Aragón!]
With a total-play time of 40 Minutes, you could afford to not like one tune here and it would STILL be of good value for money. [The shortest song is 5:52 mins].
The Danzón  may actually be the tune that some of you salsa fans may not like because of its slow and instrumental content without lyrics.
Having said that, it's also a GREAT tune and ALL the songs are EXCELLENT anyway!
(This Cd also contains a VERY good information leaflet inside!)
Canuco | New York City | 10/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Son Primero, a fabulous 1987 charanga release on Montuno with plenty of free blowing from the various luminaries present. Flutist Dave Valentin sounds superb, as does Pupi Legaretta (violin), the late great lyrical Jorge Dalto (piano), Charlie Santiago (timbales) and the very talented Oscar Hernandez (piano on some of the cuts). It's very exciting charanga in a modern context. Dave Valentin is in his true element. He has never sounded better The only drawback is it's short run time but then again this was structured for lp. Recommended."
Charanga Fans GET HAPPY!!!!!
Canuco | 10/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Son Primero, A very tight band Oscar Hernandez (Spanish Harlem Orchestra) and Dave Valentin are unreal in this project Im not sure why this band only made one cd, but it is a shame whatever the reason. This is flute Playing Ladies and Gentleman few flute players come close to Dave from any era period. No filler Material just 6 snmoking cuts. Charanga collectors What are you waiting for?"