Latin update.

Author:Rodriguez, Nelson


As Latin Beat Magazine magazine is re-launched and expanded on the Internet, we rejoice in knowing the fact that we are now available to millions around the world. On my recent family trip to the island of Puerto Rico (designed to introduce my family to our roots), we listened to the most popular radio station on the island, Zeta 93 (hosts of the legendary Dia Nacional de La Salsa), and I realized the need for more global coverage. While the station does an awesome job of playing many of the island's hot acts (Edwin Clemente, Aymee Nuviola, Choco Orta, Siglo XX, Edgard Nevarez & La Tropica), as well as classic old-school salsa (Barretto, Lavoe, Pacheco, Charlie Palmieri, El Gran Combo, Sonora Poncena, Maelo, Tito Allen, Conjunto Clasico, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz, Harlow, Blades, Cheo, Roena, Oscar D'Leon, etc.), there is little room left for great acts that we hear everyday at Latin Beat from others parts of the world. Which makes both the Internet and public radio the ideal vehicles for greater exposure available for today's artists. Let's look at what new releases deserve more exposure on a larger scale ...

Probably my hottest CD of the year award will go to the Mario Ortiz All-Star Band, directed by his son Mario Jr., For me, as well as many others, this was the premier salsa band (with great Latin jazz numbers) of the 1960s and 1970s. Ortiz was a fantastic arranger and trumpeter, and this CD, Tributo 45 Aniversario (with the hot track Chinita) has an all-star lineup that includes Gilberto Santa Rosa, Andy Montanez, Cheo Feliciano, Papo Lucca, Ismael Miranda, Richie Ray, Bobby Cruz, Tito Allen, Bobby Valentin, Elias Lopes, Chico Rivera, Adalberto Santiago, Roberto Roena, Tony Vega, Primi Cruz, Anthony Cruz, Pedro Brull, and Ismael Rivera Jr. This is a 16-track gem worthy of Grammy consideration.

Another hot event in Puerto Rico was the return of the formerly Boston-based trumpeter Edgard Nevarez & La Tropica, along with the group's co-leader Tommy Villariny, who arranged the material on their new CD, Back On the Block, featuring Javi Marrero as vocalist.

Randy Plaza's CD Legacia de La Salsa is finally out, enhanced with the vocalists Hector Rey, Jaime "Megui" Rivera and Mannix Martinez, presented in a nicepackage with arrangements by Ray Santos, Willie Ruiz, Maximo Torres (making a comeback on CD credits), Ceferino Caban, David Forestier and Victor Baro.

Fronting his Latin jazz quintet, ace...

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