Conrad Herwig: Estoy Buscando a Baa-ree...

Author:Varela, Jesse
Position:TT: Conrad Herwig: I'm in the search of Baa-ree.... - Entrevista

On the Alegre All Stars tune Estoy Buscando a Kako, the prestigious cast led by Charlie Palmieri is introduced and featured for a fetu bars. When they get to trombonist Barry Rogers, what he does in 8 bars is masterful, melodic and to the point. An unsung instrumentalist, he, along with Eddie Palmieri, created La Perfecta, a two-trombone idea, with a charanga flute on top that helped transition the Latin big band to a smaller ensemble grouping. He played and recorded with Hugo Dickens, Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers, Alegre & Cesta All Stars, Dreams and countless others. Born in the Bronx, NYC on May 22, 1935 of Polish Jewish descent, Rogers was a transcendent figure who as instrumentalist played largely African-based music. From jazz, salsa and R&B, he took what he learned about music and passed it on to eager students to help improve their sound. The black Harlem bands that played R&B and Latin such as Dickens and Pucho taught Barry the communal bond between musicians and dancers. Greatly impressed by Tito Puente's Babarabatiri, he became passionate about Afro-Cuban music in the late 1940s. He met Eddie Palmieri at Tritons, where Johnny Pacheco hosted a Tuesday night jam session around 1960. They forged a symbiotic relationship where Eddie had the ideas and Barry arranged them. La Perfecta was a work of art with its intricate layers of moñas and a swing that burned many a dancehall. Now the release of Eddie Palmieri's La Perfecta 2002 (Concord Picante) will spark curiosity about the legacy of Barry Rogers and La Perfecta as Eddie re-does classics El Molestoso, Tirandote Flores, Tu Tu Ta Ta, Cuidate Compay and Ay Que Rico. Key to this revival is trombonist Conrad Herwig, who stirred up Palmieri into revisiting the music of his first band. I spoke to Conrad recently about the significance of this album and the mystique of Barry Rogers.

Jesse Varela: How do you feel about La Perfecta 2002?

Conrad Herwig: Obviously real good because we're re-investigating Eddie's original group and because of the legacy of Barry Rogers, it's very close to my heart. Eddie and I had been talking for a long time about doing La Perfecta but I think he was hesitant because how can you improve on perfection. I was working maybe 4 or 5 years ago on a book of Frank Rosolino solos and I said to Eddie that it would be great to do something like this for Barry. My idea was to go back to Eddie's La Perfecta period and arrange Roger's solos for ten trombones. Eddie said...

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