Welcome to 1999 and the close of the 1900s. This year marks the eve of the next millennium and the music has been slowly changing for the better.
Sensual salsa has really run its cycle and swing has returned. It has been very refreshing to hear CDs with a chachachá mixed in with a guajira and a bolero.
Noncommercial radio has been the primary support of some of the best music that has come out in the past 30 years and will continue to do so no matter who commercial radio caters to. In the early eighties no one wanted to play Eddie Santiago, Frankie Ruiz or the sensual/erotic new sounds but they did. The music shifted from bands to vocalist-led acts backed by a band.
I'd like to dedicate this issue to pioneers Rolando Laserie, José Mangual Sr. and Celeste Mendoza, who died last year. They'll be joining the all-star orchestra in heaven that includes Machito, Tito Rodríguez, Benny Moré, Miguelito Valdés, Ismael Rivera, Cortijo, Charlie Palmieri, Jorge Dalto, Louie Ramírez, Arsenio Rodríguez, Miguel Matamoro, Cal Tjader, Daniel Santos, Chano Pozo, Pellin Rodríguez, Bobby Capó, Mon Rivera, Pérez Prado, Noro Morales, La Lupe, Roberto Faz, Mario Bauzá, Felix Chapottín, Willie Bobo and Frankie Ruiz to name a few. This list makes a good start for a Hall of Fame of Latin Tropical Music.
Engineer Jon Fausty informed us recently about two projects he worked on in Cuba for Bluenote records. He engineered a new Chucho Valdés Quartet CD and a Frank Emilio & His Friend that included Changuito and Tata Guines.
It was nice listening to the new Anthony Cruz CD, Una Vez Mas after an absence from the musical scene. Good arrangements on Nada, Nada, Nada, Antes De Ti, and Niegame.
The hottest CD in Puerto Rico this past winter was Banco Popular's Romance del Cumbanchero (La Música de Rafael Hernández). The video and the CD highlights the vocal talents of Marc Anthony on ballads. Anthony is superb on Preciosa and the medley that includes Ednita Nazario and Gilberto Santa Rosa. On Lamento Borincano all three vocalists are joined by Ruth Fernández. The other performers include India, Olga Tañon, Lucecita Benítez, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Chucho Avellanet, Danny Rivera, Ricky Martin, Marco Antonio Muñiz, Plena Libre, and Carlos Ponce. The first salsa track is a medley of Buche y Pluma Nama with Esos No Son De Alli by Victor Manuelle, Elvis Crespo and Michael Stuart and the second track features Tito Rojas, Ismael Miranda and Miguel Antonio. A wonderful tribute to a...