Monday, November 30, 2009

Books: Recomended reading.

"Origins of Cuban Music and Dance"
By 'Benjamin Lapidus' 2008

"The Clave Matrix"
Afro-Cuban Rhythm: Its Principals And African Origins
By David Peñalosa 2009

"The Light Inside"
By 'David H. Brown'

I can't say enough about this book, other than "superb".
This is "one of" the best, in depth, authoritative works written in English on the subject of the Abakuá Society in Cuba.
(other than the works of Dr. Ivor Miller and works in Spanish by 'Fernando Ortiz' and 'Lydia Cabrera')

In hardcover, 286 pages, beautiful color photos, black and white photos, maps totaling 123.
The size of the book is 10.4 x 7.1 x 1.1 inches and weighs 1.7 pounds. When this book came out it sold for $45.00... it's available on for under $9.00 I bought my "Hardcover" 1st printing copy last summer at a bookstore here in Manhattan for $7.85!
(there are actually things in this book that are generally considered not to be revealed)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Photos: gig in Queens, N.Y.

Two photos from a gig in Queens, N.Y. last weekend.
"Chino Poun': singer/bailador, 'Dave Colding', Bass.
Myself: bongoes, 'Toso
Hettinger': tres.
At the Queens Film Festival.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Orlando "Mazacote" López & su Orquesta - "En El Hotel Airport Park"

"15th Aniversario De Mazacote & Su Orq. En El Hotel Airport Park"
Orlando "Mazacote" López & su Orquesta
Vinyl LP

Orlando "Mazacote" López was born in La Habana, Cuba in 1939.
He left Cuba in 1964 for Florida, then migrated to Los Ángeles, California.

"15th Aniversario De Mazacote & Su Orq. En El Hotel Airport Park"
with legendary 'Rolando "Rolito" Soto' on bongoes, "Rolito" takes solos on two songs.
("Rolito" can be heard on Conjunto Rumbavana's 1960 LP:
"A Gozar! La Zandunga")

Rolando "Rolito" Soto
in Cuba before he came the U.S.

Rolando "Rolito" Soto

6. "Rumba pa los rumberos"
Rolando "Rolito" Soto: bongo solo

10. "Suena tu bongó"
Rolando "Rolito" Soto: bongo solo

The now defunct "Airport Park Hotel" in Inglewood, California had quite a "reputation" back in its day, these were three reviews of the hotel I found on the internet:
(Sounds like a great place for a gig!!)

1- "Worst hotel I ever went to"
By Racquel T.
"Where to start... gang bangers, rats, roaches, fights, illegal selling of drugs.. not a family place, not a place to go to period."

By Anonymous
"Dirty, bad neighborhood, gang bangers fighting outside the "hotel". Bad experience overall. Very concerned for our safety...left after two hours and went back to the airport. Definitely a cockroach motel and then some."

By jackson01
"This hotel is where they move all the child molesters of society in the Inglewood district. Please do not stay at that hotel."

"Mazacote" 1980's

"Mazacote" 1970's

In this short video, Orlando "Mazacote" López
is probably 72 years old:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Master drum maker Matthew Smith - Bedminster, PA., U.S.A.!

Maestro 'Matt Smith' making Timbales in his 'Ritmo' workshop
Beautiful copper plated timbales, con "cuero".

Monday, November 16, 2009

'Francisco "Paquito" Hechavaria' "Cool Latin Jazz" CD'

"Cool Latin Jazz"
'Francisco "Paquito" Hechavaria'

'Paquito Hechavarria' swings on piano and vibraphone throughout these 21 songs.
"Cachao", 'José Fajardo', 'Alejando "El Negro" Vivar', 'Osvaldo Peñalver', 'Rolando Aguiló' and several other great Cuban musicians no longer alive.
Really swinging, funky tunes, many with shades of 1970's "Paquito and Fly out"
with the "Miami crew", including 'Nelson "Flaco" Padrón'
Also includes several things from 1957 done with 'Rolando Aguiló'.
Not found easily, but available at "Lily's" in Miami for $13.98
($1.00 less than Museo Del Disco)

1. Tumbao Paco
2. Si Dios Fuera Negro
3. Mambru Descarga (Rolando Aguiló y Sus Estrellas)
4. What I Did For Love
5. Orfeo Negro
6. Descarga A Nelson
7. Chorus Line
8. Tumbao
9. Mañana De Carnaval
10. Yo Soy Un Barco (El Barco)
11. Drume Negrita (Rolando Aguiló y Sus Estrellas)
12. El Collar De Clodomiro
13. Conga Descarga (Rolando Aguiló y Sus Estrellas)
14. Almendra (Rolando Aguiló y Sus Estrellas)
15. A Mil
16. Descarga En Sax (Rolando Aguiló y Sus Estrellas)
17. La Pachanga (Rolando Aguiló y Sus Estrellas)
18. Batu
19. Bodas De Oro (Rolando Aguiló y Sus Estrellas)
20. Descarga Para Piano Y Trompeta (Rolando Aguiló y Sus Estrellas)
21. On The Radio

3. "Mambru Descarga"
(Rolando Aguil
ó y Sus Estrellas 1957)

20. "Descarga Para Piano Y Trompeta"
(Rolando Aguiló y Sus Estrellas 1957)

10. "Yo Soy Un Barco"
(with 'Nelson "Flaco" Padr

12. "El Collar De Clodomiro"
(with 'Nelson "Flaco" Padrón')

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cubania en Miami - Tany Gil, Paquito Hechavarria, Cachao

Tany Gil
, Paquito Hechavarria, "Cachao" among others, taking part on these two LP's.

A story of my experience in Miami and how I met Tany Gil:
In 1977 I drove in an old station wagon from New Orleans to Miami with two other musicians, Mexican American Roberto Tametta a great pianist/flute player and Hector Gallardo a Cuban bongocero, conguero, timbalero.

After we arrived, within a few days started hanging out and sitting in with bands.
Hector Gallardo had lived in Miami for a few years after arriving from Cuba in the 1960's
(before his family moved to New Orleans) and was a friend of
Tony Zaydal, a Cuban bongocero who played with Miami's Conjunto Impacto and many others.
We hung out some nights at Conjunto Impacto's gigs, Hector would sit in on bongoes and I would sit in on Chekeré, at that time in Miami, nobody played Chekeré in bands, only Güiro... so I was always welcomed onstage, they loved the sound of the Chekeré.
We also went to Conjunto Univeral's gigs, where Hector and I also would sit in.

Sitting in with Conjunto Universal in 1976.
(the Conguero for Conjunto Universal, "Araña"
would often beg me to sell him my Chekeré)

We went once to see Tany Gil playing with Willy Chirino at some little club out by the airport,
I remember we were like the only ones in the audience

I eventually met Andy Harlow who asked me to play with him and I wound up staying in Miami for 4 or 5 months. Andy had "El Negro" Vivar on trumpet in his band at that time and the Puerto Rican timbalero Frankie Rosario and
Ignacio "Nacho" Arbucias on vocal.
I had a lot of fun playing in Andy's band for several months.
Andy got me on a gig with him playing a concert with Barry White and the "Love Unlimited Orq." at the old
'Hollywood Sportatorium'.
I also met a Puerto Rican conguero named 'Ronnie' (I forgot his last name) who played with several bands in Miami, I lived with him a block from "Calle Ocho" in his small apartment for a month, he was legally blind and used a cane and I remember he always had to be picked up to go to his gigs.
I eventually left his apartment after he started making a lot of "demands".
I then moved to a 1920's house in "Coconut Grove", owned by a friend of my dad's which was great.

I also had a great time playing Rumba with a family of young Chinese-Afro-Cuban brothers, often in their front yard. And going to bembe's with the Cubans Chino Puente and the late babalao, Juan Candela.

One day 'Ronnie' told me Tany Gil wanted to meet me, so someone dropped me off at Tany's house. I remember Tany having two tumbadoras on stands in his living room... both painted with designs like the old Cuban drums from the '50's, '60's. I remember him showing me a record by Los Van Van with pride, as Cuban records were like having gold back then. (It was the LP cover with the band wearing stripped jackets).
Tany and I jammed in his his living room and we had fun showing off "our styles" to each other.

(Tany had a lot of Tata Guines style in his playing)

Though I was never "knocked out" by Tany's playing... I do like his "different" way of playing and I admire his skill as a composer/producer.
I admire and respect any percussionist who has their own "unique style" of playing including Tany.
I have no idea what became of Tany Gil, or if he's still in Miami.

For me, Tany Gil's "unique Cuban style" of playing can be heard best on the LP's:
"Fajardo Y Sus Estrellas '75", the two LP's "Walpataca I & II" and these two records, of which I like "Amor Con Pecado" best.

"Amor Con Pecado"
'Tany Gil
', 'Paquito Hechavarria'
(The other musicians are uncredited)
198? - vinyl LP
(Never reissued that I know of)
(Part1) (Part2)

"Tipica Pata"
With 'Tany Gil', 'Francisco "Paquito" Hechevaria'
and 'Israel "Cachao" Lopez'.
198? - vinyl LP
on Tany's & Paquito's lable "Tania"
(Never reissued that I know of)

9. "Paco En Nueva York"

11. "Del Tumbao"

A video of 'Tany Gil' taking a solo in 1977,
with Willy Chirino.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Omara Portuondo & Juanito Marquez y Su Combo - Cuba

Egrem vinyl - '63,'64

Printed article: Excerpts of interview with my father by 'Steve Cornelius'

Excerpts of parts of interview with my father by
*'Steve Cornelius' (*musician, Olu Batá, author)
for his
"Selected Reports In Ethnomusicology" - "Instruments Of Santería In New York City"

Monday, November 9, 2009

Printed article: Interview with my father writen by Bobby Sanabria.

This was an interview with my father, done by 'Bobby Sanabria' for a news magazine called "Hip" that Latin Percussion Lp© used to publish.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bola De Nieve con Girardo Rodriguez y sus tambores Batá - LP cover

"Ecos Afrocubanos"
"Bola De Nieve"
Con 'Girardo Rodriguez' y sus tambores Batá

The classic Orfeon LP cover

Cambrón Jr. Vol -1 & Vol -2 Changüi - Cuba

"Dime Si Hay Instrumento"
Cambrón Jr. y Su Changüi - Vol-1

7. Meta Yamandu El Bongó

8. Dime Si Hay Instrumento

10. El Guararey Es Contigo

"Cambrón Jr." is the son of the late 'Carlos Borromeo Planché' ("Cambrón") Cambrón Sr. was an important member of 'Grupo Changüi De Guantanamo' during the 1980's.
(in the 80's the most prolific group playing Changüi tipico in Cuba)
Cambrón Sr. playing guayo
I bought these two CD's from Cambrón Jr. while in Cuba and also a pair of typical Changüi Bongoes that he made.
(Different in size and shape, as well as playing technique from standard "Son" Bongoes)

"Yo Vengo De La Loma" 
Cambrón Jr. y Su Changüi - Vol-2

3. Homenaje a Elio Revé

11. Auxilio Guardia

12. Changüi Sucu Sucu
Ritmo Sucu Sucu y Changüi

Cambron Jr. Video #1
Cambron Jr. Video #2
Cambron Jr. talking in the street Video #3

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Amelia Pedroso - Canto a Changó

'Amelia Pedroso'
Percussionist, singer, teacher.(Died in Havana 2000)
Ibayé bayé tonu

Canto a Changó
Amelia Pedroso
with Ilu Aña

Canto a Changó
Amelia Pedroso with Mark Lotz' band

Three Yoruba 'Oshe Sàngó' I inherited from my father.
The one on the left was made in 1920, the middle 1970
and the one on the right made in the 1930's.

Lorenzo Cisneros Topete - "Changüiseando a la trova y al son"

"Changüiseando a la trova y al son"
'Lorenzo Cisneros Topete'
1. De Guantánamo Bajó El Changüi

9. Suena La Maraca y El Bongó

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Raúl Planas - "La Vida Es Un Sueño" - Cuba Leo Castañeda

"La Vida Es Un Sueño"
'Raúl Planas'
Poorly chosen stereotypical cover design.
A photo of Raúl would have been more respectful.
Raúl Planas died in 2001, these were most likely recorded between 1995 and 2001.
I had never heard these recordings by him, the back up band is not listed.

The tresero is excellent, taking numerous solos and playing without any bullshit "tricks" or fancy "embellishments"...
his playing is "simple", "incredibly flavorful" and "tasteful"!
The bongocero also plays in a style I like, "incredibly flavorful", "clean" and "tasteful", again without
any bullshit "tricks" or fancy "embellishments", like 1,0001 variations of North American drum rolls.

Every song swings with great arrangements, including the boleros.
And Raul does two Arsenio Rodriguez tunes that smoke! He also does a nice version of "Gloria a Beny" (Moré), though my favorite version is by 'Leo Castañeda'.
These 12 songs swing , Raul's voice is superb and well aged at this point.
Raul Planas sings on 11 songs, track 12 is sung by an uncredited singer who sounds so familiar, but I have no idea who he is. Track 12 is also misnamed "Tinguiri", the correct title is "Tawiri", originally done by Grupo 'Clave y Guaguanco' on their CD.
6. "Como Pescao En Tarima"

10. "A Quién No Le Gusta El Son"

Pablo Milanes, Luis Peña, Cotán, Compay Segundo - "Años" 1983 Vol.1 - "Años" 1986 Vol.2 "Años 1992 Vol.3 - Cuba

"Años" I
Vinyl LP 1983
'Luis Peña': tres & vocal.
'Pablo Milanes': guitar & vocal
'Frank "Panchito" Bejerano': bongoes.*

4. "Enselada"

9. "Sublime Ilusion"

"Años" II
With 'Pablo Milanes', 'Luis Peña', 'Cotán' - 1988

"Años" III
With 'Pablo Milanes', 'Luis Peña', 'Cotán', 'Compay Segundo'
- 1992