Friday, August 29, 2008

Aretha Franklin goes Cuban - 1969

She does "Elusive Butterfly"
as a swinging "Soul-Jazz-Mambo"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Photos: New York City 1972, 1974, 1980

My father playing a drum he made.
Photo in Central Park in 1972.
The guy sitting next to him with the knit cap was 'Gil', he was rumored to have been an undercover FBI agent, sent in to infiltrate the Central Park rumba to get information on "The Young Lords", who were very active in the early 1970's.

Howie, my father and myself.
Playing for 'Sevilla Forte's' dance class
Dance studio 23rd street Manhattan 1974.

My father, Jimmy Cruz and myself.
Playing at the Central Park rumba in 1980.
Chekeres made by my father.

My father with a Nigerian Bata he owned.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Guaguanco - Orlando Contreras, Patato, Cortijo - 1970

Above is the original 1970 LP cover of
"Guaguanco, Patato, Cortijo, canta Orlando Contreras"
on the Tecca label.

This is the reissue on CD with several "added" songs not on the original LP.
What is really odd (and ridiculous) is they used a photo of "Los Papines" who do not play at all on this... and they "superimposed" a photo of Patatos face onto *Ricardo Abrue's body!! (*Papine)
How silly is that!!??
They also "superimposed" Orlando's face on that body. The photo does show a beautiful classic tumbadora made in Cuba by the master 'Gonzalo Vergara'.

In the mid 1970's when I lived in New Orleans, I was part of a back up band for 'Orlando Contreras' that toured with him from New Orleans to Houston and Dallas Texas.
I once brought the original LP cover in to a rehearsal.... and Orlando told me: "hide that!!!... don't show it to anybody!!!" He didn't want anyone to know he recorded an LP with
"that kind of music".

Tipica Ideal - LIVE-EN VIVO N.Y.C.- 1976

The New York City Charanga 'Tipica Ideal' recorded "live-en vivo" in 1976 at "The Corso" a nightclub, that during the 1970's was one of the best nightclubs to see, hear and dance to the best latin bands in N.Y.C.

These were recorded by me, live.
I took a "Craig" monoral cassette tape recorder into the club
and recorded three songs.
This was back before Sony even had invented the Sony Walkman!.

With great extended solos by 'Jose "Chombo" Silva' on Violin and the late 'Tommy Lopez' on Conga. Mike Amitin' on bass (he lives around the corner from me), 'Gil Suarez' on piano and I don't remember the other band members at the time of these three recordings. I think it was:
Gil Suárez: Piano
Mike Amitin: Bass
Elisardo Molina: Timbales
Aurelio Parada: Violin
José "Chombo" Silva
: Violin
Julian Cabrera: Güiro
Tomas López: Tumbadora
George Castro: Flute
Vicente Consuegra: Vocals
Victor Velazquez: Vocals

Ripped from my cassette tape to CD
then converted to MP3 @192
1. Pare Cochero - 6:59

2. El Tiburon - 6:26

3. El Ritmo Changüi - 9:66

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fidel is Dead! - a novel by Author Richard K. Manoff

Fidel Is Dead!
A Novel of the Cuban Aftermath.
Author: Richard K. Manoff

Book synopsis:
"Into the post-Castro, post-Communist turbulence comes media mogul 'Gordon Samson' on a White House mission to Cuba.
He is determined to avoid the political struggle in which a junta of military officers and Cuban American businessmen seize power.
It is supported by unscrupulous U.S. officials, Congressmen and industrialists seeking to profit from the upheaval.
'Gordon' is sucked into the insurrection that erupts into an international scandal on TV with tumultuous Congressional hearings in the U.S.
For some it is an aftermath of smashed careers and wrecked lives but not without its measure of romance, retribution and redemption for others".

Sound unrealistic?
Not to me it doesn't.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Daniel Ponce - "NEW YORK NOW!" LP 1983 - Cuba-N.Y.C.

Daniel Ponce 
dead of a heart attack
Miami, Florida 2013
R.I.P. / D.E.P.

 *** Ibayé bayé tonu ***

'Daniel Ponce' and his first LP as a leader, "NEW YORK NOW!". Recorded in N.Y.C. in 1983, with 'Orlando "Puntilla" Rios', 'Ignacio Berroa', 'Jose "Chi Chi" Trapaga', 'Alberto Morgan', 'Olufemi Mitchell', 'Regenio Tellechea', Paquito D'Rivera and "electro" wizard 'Bill Laswell' among others. On the rumba's, Daniel plays five drums and overdubbed Quinto.
With strong messages in "Invación De 80" and "Cojelo Suave"

Besides Puntilla's earlier 1981 LP
"From Habana To New York", this was the second LP released in the U.S. to present more "modern" and "Contemporary" forms of Cuban rumba as opposed to the earlier styles that most people had been accustomed to: Mongo, Patato, Totico, etc. (como el dicho: "la timba no es como ayer")
LP long out of print, never reissued on CD.
Cover photo shows the World Trade Center "Twin Towers".

1. Invación De 80

4. Odie

5. Cojelo Suave

Conjunto 3-D "Muito na Onda" 1967 Brasil

'Conjunto 3-D' with a very young Beth Carvalho singing in the band (1967)
Great band, swinging tight vocal harmonies.
Their version of "When The Saints Go Marching In", a New Orleans classic done with a Bossa-jazz feel.

Antonio Adolfo (piano)
Gusmão (bass)
Nelsiñho (drums)
Helio Delmiro (guitar)
Eduardo Conde (vocal)
Beth Carvalho (vocal)
Rubens Bassini & Jorgiñho Arena (percussion)

Bossa Rio Sextet 2 LP's 1970 Brasil

Sergio Mendes was responsible for creating his unique "Bossa, Samba, jazz" sound.
There were many who were influenced by that "sound", the 'Bossa Rio' were one of the best.
Two LP's by them, out of print and now obscure.

"Bossa Rio"
Debut LP - 1970


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Los Hermanos Bravo - 2 LP's Cuba 1960

Hermanos Bravo
RCA Victor LP  
(Cubano series)
Never reissued.

1. Explicando El Guachamambo

4. Cha cha Chá Con Charleston

6. Guaguancó Con Columbia

10. Hay Que Tener En Cuenta

12. Belen y Recholata De Amor

Hasta Santiago A Pie
RCA Victor LP (Cubano series)
Never reissued-obscure.

1. Hasta Santiago A Pie

4. El Jamaiquino

12. Mi Guachamambo

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Orquesta Aragon - Live / en vivo @ Birdland N.Y.C. 2003

Orquesta Aragon
Live / en vivo @ Birdland N.Y.C. 2003
Bass player couldn't get a visa, so David Hersher from Orq. Broadway plays bass.

3. La Reina Isabel

14. Sube Un Poquito Mas

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Miguel Companioni y su conjunto La Yaya - Cuba

Miguel Companioni y su conjunto La Yaya

The musician on the upper right plays a 'Botijuela'.
Also shown are the very early style of Bongoces, connected with cord/rope or piece of leather and "slung" over the drummers knee. With a similar traditional rope and *wedge tuning system (*cuñas") as used in the four Abakúa 'biankomeko' drums.

Abakúa 'biankomeko'

Monday, August 18, 2008

Video: Cuba - Rumba trio in Havana

La Habana, Cuba.
Rumba trio on Calle Hamel.
One Woman and two Men.

Rumba en El Parque Central - N.Y.C.

These photos were taken yesterday, August 17th 2008 at La Rumba in Central Park, here in N.Y.C.
"Felix Fiesta", 'Pedro Morejón' & two other rumba singers.

Eddie "Wildman" Rodriguez & myself.
(Eddie: bongocero with Mongo Santamaria,
Conguero with Bobby Sanabria, Bata con Puntilla)

'Felix Sanabria' playing Quinto
(Rumbero & Batalero with Puntillas group)

"El Chino"
(great Cuban Rumba & Abakúa dancer!)

René Lopéz WBAI radio interview talking about Orlando "Puntilla" Rios

Live radio interview From WBAI radio 99.5 FM in New York City August 17th 2008
with René Lopéz Sr. talking about Orlando "Puntilla" Rios and the making of the Tio Tom CD. René Lopéz Sr., musicologist, produced the Grupo Folklórico Experimental LP's in the 1970's, produced and reissued Arsenios recordings on the Cariño label in the 1970's, has also produced CD's and managed Chucho Valdés.

I have have posted the interview you can download it and listen to it.
Interview Here:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Video: Cuba - Frank Oropesa "El Bongocero Cubano"

Francisco "Frank" Oropesa, my absolute favorite Cuban bongocero of the current era.
Clean and articulate, his playing is unfettered from "1,0001 variations of a roll".
Playing bongoes hecho en Cuba, no Lp's or foreign crap.
Definitely "in the zone"

Frank Oropesa with Aristides"Tata" Güines

Police Hold Nuclear Training Exercise in N.Y. Harbor

Thursday, August 14, 2008

LP covers -The "Pink Tumbadora" - Cuba

Three LP covers and one photo showing Panarts studio "Pink Tumbadora", a drum that lived it's life in the Panart recording studios in La Habana and showed up often on several LP covers. (Made by Gonzalo Vergara)

The "original" Cachao "Descargas In Miniature" Panart's Cuban pressing.
(Cachao not with bass over his knee & "Yeyito" standing not sitting. Tata Güines with the studio "Pink Tumbadora".

Armando Orefiche Panart LP
with the studio "Pink Tumbadora"

Merceditas Valdes Panart LP cover
With the studio "Pink Tumbadora"

Below is a photo again taken in the Panart studio showing 'Rogelio "Yeyito" Iglesias' holding the "Pink Tumbadora".
Also in the photo is Bienvenido Granda, "Yoyo" Casteleiro sitting at the piano and Carlos Barberia standing behind him.

Video: Cuba - Rumba Columbia -1980

Jesús Peréz standing behind the drummers wearing dark glasses & a baseball cap, next to the musician playing one 'Erikundi'.
The early 1980's... the "very Cuban style" of wearing jeans with a six inch cuff.. and then playing beautiful Cuban Tumbadoras, no Lp or foreign crap. (Ahh yes, the good ol' days!)

Rumba Columbia

In memoriam: 'Orlando "Puntilla" Rios' -Cuba-N.Y.C.

Orlando 'Puntilla' Rios Dies
Born: Dec. 26, 1947 La Habana, Cuba
Died: Aug. 12, 2008 N.Y.C.

"Iba ayé ba yé t'orún maestro"

1. "Chants for Babalú ayé"

8. "Rumba for Elegguá"

"Puntilla" had not been in good health over the last several years, he died Tuesday here in New York City at Montefiore hospital after undergoing heart surgery.

'Orlando "Puntilla" Rios'

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Video: Cuba - Conjunto Clave Y Guaguancó- 1990

Conjunto Clave y Guaguancó.
Live in La Habana, 1990.

With Amado Dedéu, “Lalí” González Britoand "El Quinto Mayor": Alejandro Publes who died in 1991
Amelia Pedroso who died in 2001

"El Callejón"


Monday, August 11, 2008

"Tao La Onda" & "El Llanero" Manuel Martinez - N.Y.C. 2000

Ruben Gonzalez a.k.a. "Tao La Onda" singing with Manuel Martinez Olivera "El Llanero"
at the rumba in Central Park, N.Y.C. from video I shot in 2000.

In memoriam: Soul legend Isaac Hayes dies at 65

August 20, 1942 - August 10, 2008

Live 1973

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beny Moré - "Dolor y Perdon" Live-en vivo - 1962 Cuba

Beny Moré
Live radio broadcast:
Beny Moré - "Dolor y Perdon" 1962 Cuba.

Dolor y Perdon
(Cuba Si, Yankee No!)

Video: Cuba - "Camerata en Guaguancó" y "Almendra"

'Camerata Romeu' conducted by 'Zenaida Romeu'.

"Camerata en Guaguancó" & "Almendra"

Orquesta Revé - 1958 Cuba

Orquesta Revé
Cuba 1958

"Se Va Pal Monte"

"Toma Tilo"

"Lo Trajo Revé"

"Como Pita El Camion"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Definitely a kakistocracy

Armando Miranda "El Billingue" - German Pfferrer, Daniel Ponce Ignacio Berroa, Andy Gonzalez - Cuba-N.Y.C. 1980

"Algo Differente"Armando Miranda - El Billingue
Kim record label -1980

1. Me Llama Juan Jose
2. Agua Pa' Mayeya
3. No Piensas Así
4. Severino
5. El Gato No Dice Miau
6. Unknown bolero
7. Que cosa es
8. No Te Complicas

Armando Miranda vocalist and composer came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1956.
A former member of Los Jovenes Del Hierro.
This LP was recorded in 1980, the same year that the "Mariel exodus" took place.
Among the
thousands of Cubans that came to the U.S. many were musicians,
including Conga player 'Daniel Ponce' and drummer 'Ignacio Berroa'.
The sessions on this recording produced, arranged & conducted by the legendary late 'German Pfferrer', other musicians include N.Y.C. bass player 'Andy Gonzalez', 'Cachete Maldonado', congas and bongoes, trombonist Papo Vasquez and electric guitarist 'George Wadenius'.

1. Me Llama Juan Jose
2. Agua Pa' Mayeya

7. Que cosa es

8. No Te Complicas

Los D'siempre - Hilario Duran - Cuba

"Los D'siempre"
Hilario Duran

Overall this LP is not one of my favorites, but
Hilario Duran sounds great and is always a pleasure to listen to.

8. Como Se Llama Usted