Another year comes to pass and what became evident to me during these harsh economic times, in terms of music, was the lack of promotion by those artists who placed all of their hopes and dreams on their actual recordings but forgot the second most important aspect of the music business--marketing and promotion. The radio stations, the salsa record pools and the few print media entities that still exist are not utilized appropriately to expose the music to the fans.
Francisco Mela's latest release, named after his dad Cirio (who died just before the session), is a live recording at The Blue Note. The concept is derived from the trova music his dad performed in Cuba. Mela's quintet features pianist Jason Morán, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, guitarist Lionel Loueke and bassist Larry Grenadier. Equally inspired by his dad and by the birth of his child Urick, Mela displays his emotions on this live recording.
Percussionist Orlando "Lalo" Rodríguez, leader of the Bogotá outfit Kongas Orquesta, has just released his second CD, Pa'Lante Es Pa'llá, which includes Ray Barretto and Héctor Lavoe medleys, as well as two tracks that have great potential--Contraste and Más Cerca de las Estrellas. Latin jazz lovers will enjoy Sara.
Machito's The Early Years is another Mambo Music production that documents how the New York dancers experienced a live performance by Machito's Afro-Cubans with the great Graciela interpreting ¡Ay, José!, and Miguelito Valdés singing Guantanamera, as well as the classics (very new numbers back then) Mambo Inn, Babarabatiri, Dale Jamón and El Jamaquino, which became standards at all the band's performances.
John Santos has released two awesome recordings--Perspectiva Fragmentada (by the John Santos Quintet) and La Guerra No (by Santos' Coro Folklórico Kindembo), both of which continue a winning tradition from the San Francisco Bay area. The quintet's CD includes guests Johnny Rodríguez, Ray Vega, Nelson González, José Claussell, Jerry Medina, Johnny Rivero, Anthony Blea, Orlando Torriente, Murray Low, Paul Van Wageningen, and David Belove. The folkloric CD features artists Giovanni Hidalgo, Jesús Díaz, Raúl Rekow, Jimmy Bosch, Elio Villafranca, Carol Steele, Eddie Resto, Roberto Borell, and Anthony Carrillo. You need to get both CDs to fully appreciate the talent of John Santos and those that surround him in the fields of Latin jazz and Afro-Caribbean folklore.
Latin Pulse Music's Michael Lazarus, better...