Mario Ortiz, Jr.: Mario Ortiz and his All Star Band Revival
A conversation with John Child
As the 10th anniversary of the passing of the revered Puerto Rican bandleader, trumpeter, arranger and producer Mario Ortiz approaches, his son, the accomplished trumpeter Mario Ortiz Jr., has produced Mario Ortiz All Star Band Tributo 45 Aniversario (Zamora / Sony) dedicated to the early recordings of his father's band, a musical sensation of the 1960s. A hard swinging salsa big band album, it features an all-star lineup, including Gilberto Santa Rosa, Cheo Feliciano, Tito Allen, Richie Ray, Bobby Cruz, Roberto Roena, Adalberto Santiago, Elías Lopés, Primi Cruz, Anthony Cruz, Ismael Miranda, Papo Lucca, Tony Vega, Bobby Valentín, Ismael Rivera Jr., Pedro Brull and Andy Montañez, among others. Here Mario Jr. speaks to John Child about the project, his dad's exceptional career and his own activity on the salsa and jazz scenes. The interview is accompanied by a discographic profile of Mario Ortiz. Go to:
FANIA ALL STARS
Campeones: Fania All Stars, A Band And Their Music - 2 CD Set
Fania / Emusica - Remastered Edition 2008
Compiled and written by John Child; project coordinated by Dean Rudland and Giora Breil; CD production coordinated by Cris Barros and Annette Aquino.
Editors Pick: Wow, here's a nearly overwhelming 2-CD set selection of the supergroup's best, almost anthemic, material compiled by John Child who also wrote the in-depth and insightful liner notes. An interesting read, especially as you listen to the music. Child allows us to understand the powers, egos and other forces that supported the Fania empire from its beginnings in the late '60s through its gargantuan rise in the '70s - and through its downturn in the '80s and '90s. What a blast of salsa history is packed within these two disks. Here are just the featured singers: Monguito, Cheo Feliciano, Adalberto Santiago, Santos Colón, Rubén Blades, Ismael Quintana, Héctor Lavoe, Bobby Cruz, Celia Cruz, Ismael Rivera, and Pete "El Conde" Rodríguez.
Campeones: Fania All Stars is the perfect primer for those wanting to get much more than a just a sense of the salsa explosion and its cast of stars. Here you have its essence. Very Highly Recommended. (Bruce Polin, Descarga.com)
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Salsa's Unsung Pianist: Gilberto "Pulpo" Colón Jr.
A conversation with John Child
During the 1970s, pianist, arranger and musical director Gilberto "Pulpo" Colón Jr. was at the epicentre of salsa's Golden Age, recording and performing with some of the biggest bands in the business, including Rafi Val's La Diferente, Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros, Kako's All Stars and Pete "El Conde" Rodríguez. In 1975, he received his big break when Fania All Star vocalist Héctor Lavoe invited him to become his pianist and musical director, a position he occupied for 16 years. As Pulpo's reputation in the industry grew, he worked on recordings by the likes of Charanga 76, Orquesta Novel, Charanga La Tapa, Adalberto Santiago, Frankie Morales and Louie Ramírez. Pulpo also has the distinction of playing with all of the Big Three: Tito Puente, Tito Rodríguez and Machito. Prompted by the release of Pulpo's Hot Bread (The Mambo Project, 2008), his long awaited solo debut album, Pulpo speaks to John Child about this swinging and sophisticated project and looks back on his career as what he describes as "The Unsung Pianist." Continues here:
*Interview:Henry Fiol ...I Am What I Am by John Child
Although a child prodigy in the visual arts, the multitalented artist Henry Fiol explains to John Child why he has dedicated his life to creating "Corazón Music", a unique blend of Cuban, New York, jazz, Brazilian, doo-wop and American pop elements and flavours, and why he has made his 11th solo album De Cachete (Corazón CD 116, 2008) available as a free download (go to: www.henryfiol.com. In addition to discussing De Cachete, Henry talks in depth and with candour about his career and artistic development, sharing with comparable zeal his loves and hates in relation to such topics as charanga flute, rumba, the conjunto sound, timbales, trap drums, timba, bachata and reggaetón, and issues a warning about the danger of the latter musical genre. A thread running through the conversation is the story of Henry's exploration of his dual Latino and Italian-American heritage, and the ultimate realisation of his true identity. After the interview, Henry told John: "I have no doubt that this interview will become the best interview I've ever done in English, 'the quintessential Henry Fiol interview', if you will." The piece is accompanied by a discographic profile.
Go to: www.descarga.com
*check out: The Essential Guide To Salsa (Essential Guides Via Union Square Music ESGCD303) Compilation and notes by John Child, producer/selector of the cult radio show Aracataca. Ever since the first Afro-Cuban crossover hit of "The Peanut Vendor" in 1931, this music has been tightening its grip on the world. To celebrate such a joyous colonisation, The Essential Guide To Salsa presents 3CDs with some of the very best. And that's no idle boast. Among the luminaries featured are Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Rubén Blades and many, many more including the 2005 Salsa Grammy award winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Plus exclusive to The Essential Guide is a brand new cut from the Bronx-based band Maña, a spin-off from Wayne Gorbea's Salsa Picante. Enjoy the ride.
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more info on The Essential Guide
To Salsa or click here to
Current Aracataca favourites:
1. Que No Me Paren La Rumba - Yolanda Rivera (from La Hija Del Guaguanco, Melaza Records )
2. Ya No Se Puede Vivir - Carloscar Cepero (from Carloscar Cepero & La New Talent Salsa Orchestra , NTS / DRS / Carloscar )
3. La Salsa De Nueva York - Victor Hugo ft. Kike Harvey (from New York Salsa, LAS Records UK )
4. Tambor - Kevin Davis & Ban Caribe (from Vacation Time, Kevin A. Davis / National Media )
5. Al Son De Mi Musiquita - Moncho Rivera (from Riveristico Con Clave, Sonero Vive Music )
6. La Ambición - Pacific Mambo Orchestra (from Pacific Mambo Orchestra PMO, Pacific Mambo)
7. El Calvo Paluzzi - La Guatekera Orquesta (from Going Back To Old School Salsa, Camacal Records )
8. Buscando Salida - Mulataje Orquesta (complied on DJ HeCu Presenta: Muévete Con Salsa, Vol. 5, Salsa Son Timba Producciones)
9. Conciencia y Guaguancó - La Orquesta Del Solar (from Aquí Pasa Algo, Julio Mena )
10. La Esencia del Guaguancó - Oscar D'León (from Live in Caracas, Q-rious Music )
the above titles are currently available from www.descarga.com and www.elwatusi.com.