Manny Oquendo and Libre - Not your average Latin band
Thomas Pena | Brooklyn, NY USA | 01/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Manny Oquendo and Libre are much more than just a Latin band. Over the years (27) they have become one of New York's treasures and a cultural institution! Consider the amount of talent that has sprung from "la escuela" (the school)of Manny Oquendo and Libre: Jerry Gonzalez, Andy Gonzalez, Dave Valentin, Papo Vasquez, Steve Turre, Jimmy Bosch and Herman Olivera to name a few. The bands most recent release is entitled, "Los New Yorkinos!" This is typical Libre, swinging from start to finish. Some of the songs have been around for a number of years and just needed a little overdubbing, remixing and a finsishing touch. As usual, Libre serves up a potopourri of rhythms for the dancer's: Salsa, Latin Jazz, Mambo, Guaracha, Rumba, Guajira and even a sensuous bolero for good measure. Featured on vocals are Cuban sensation, Xiomara Lougart, Jorge Maldonado and rapper, Cacique who all do an admirable job. Libre has had a running dilemma of sorts that has plagued them over the years. ... Libre gets almost no air play and rarely work in their own hometown. They spend most of their time touring, where they receive the admiration they should be getting here. This band that started out with a one day at a time attitude has been swingin for 27 years. Therin lies the contradiction. Go figure.The next time Manny Oquendo and Libre appear at a venue near you, treat yourself. Manny Oquendo and Libre are one of the greatest bands (of any genre) to ever grace a stage. Moreover, I dare you not to dance!"