Joe Bataan —
Salsoul ... LP Mericana, 1973. New Copy (reissue)...
A landmark album from Joe Bataan – so great, that it made the entire record company change its name! The record has Joe really bursting out after his seminal Latin Soul work of the late 60s – blending Latin rhythms and American soul into a whole new style of music – one that Joe called "Salsoul", because of it's mixture of salsa and soul! The blend is fantastic, a real milestone in the NuYorican scene – and handled perfectly by Joe on every cut! There's some massive Latin funk on here, including the tracks "Latin Strut" and "Aftershower Funk", plus some straighter Latin jazz, like "Sunny Gets Blue Mambo", and a great Latin Soul cut with English vocals called "Johnny". LP, Vinyl record album
A sweet set from that great record moment when Latin styles were coming into play with the hipper sounds of the bachelor pad world! Jack "Bongo" Burger was a west coast percussionist with a very similar style to Jack "Mr Bongo" Costanzo – and in fact, since they're both named Jack, and have a bongo middle name, we always wonder whether or not they're the same person! Whatever the case, this album's a tasty batch of bongo-heavy tracks – with a style that's similar to some of Costanzo's work on Liberty, although perhaps with slightly less of a Latin bent. The group includes Buddy Collette on flute and sax, plus piano, trumpet, electric bass, and some nice odd percussion. Kind of like a combo of some of Collette's jazz work, and the exotic stuff that was also appearing on the Hi Fi label. Tracks include "Jordu", "China Nights Mambo", "Negre Setin", "Chiu Chiu", and "Mambo Burger". LP, Vinyl record album
A rare album by the great west coast Latin trumpeter Luis Gasca, and argubly the best album he ever recorded! The set was recorded in New York during the late 60's, and features a great lineup of musicians that includes Paul Griffin on piano, Joe Henderson on tenor, Herbie Hancock on piano, Mongo santamaria on conga, and Bernard Purdie on drums. The style's a mix of soul jazz, Latin, and bits of modal riffing – and the record features some beautiful large arrangements by Gasca and Mark Levine, in a style that's a bit like some of Duke Pearson's work from the late 60s, but handled with a bit more of an edge. Tracks include "Coisa No. 2", "Afro Blue", "Joy Ride", and "Sweet Pea". (Jazz, Latin)LP, Vinyl record album
(Original pressing. Cover has a small name in marker on back.)
A great compilation of Peruvian Chicha combo Juaneco Y Su Combo from Barbes Records – and a great look at a really under-discovered scene! The grooves here have a skittishly romping feel in the rhythms, but also feature some great guitar and organ parts too – a great mix of electric and organic, with an appeal that's quite similar to early cumbia work from Columbia, especially some of the more electric-styled tunes. There's also a feel here that's slightly rural – almost western echoes in the guitar at times, but in ways that are quite different from any US sounds of the 60s – and although the music is more than enough on its own, the package also provides some good historical details as well. Titles include "Mujer Hilandera", "Me Robaron Mi Runamula", "El Lanto De Ayaimama", "La Patadita", Caballito Nocturno", "Recordando A Fachin", and "Dale Juaneco". 13 in all. (Global Grooves, Latin)LP, Vinyl record album
One of the grooviest groups of the Latin Soul scene – but they'd have to be, given their name! The Latin Souls are a vocal group with a really soulful feel – a great link between the earlier harmony sounds that were bubbling under in Spanish Harlem, and some of the hipper rhythms that were hitting the scene in the late 60s – particularly the two dance modes pushed strongly in the title of the record! Many of the cuts have a nicely dark undercurrent – a bit like the best work of Ralph Robles – but the harmonies give the record a somewhat more sincere feel too, with echoes of Joe Bataan in the mix. The whole thing's great – with production from Pancho Cristal that's right up there with his other great Latin sides of the 60s. Titles include "Guajira Controversial", "Que Va", "Hey Lulu!", "The Party Is Over", "Place In the Sun", "La Banda", and the slammin' "Latin Souls Descarga"! LP, Vinyl record album
Joe Bataan —
Riot ... LP Fania, Late 60s. New Copy (reissue)...
A real killer from the legendary Joe Bataan – an album of righteous power that really lives up to the dynamic promise of the title and cover! Joe Bataan's in top form throughout – serving up a blend of Latin grooves and 60s soul influences that few other artists of the time could touch – soaring and upbeat one minute, but mellow and laidback the next. There's a number of longer tracks on here that really move past the standard Latin Soul modes – bringing in bits of descarga jazz, instrumental soul, and mellower ballads to Joe's already-great blend of styles. The depth here is tremendous, and nearly every track's a winner! Titles include the slamming "It's A Good Feeling (Riot)", "Muneca", and "Mambo De Bataan" – plus the soul tracks "What Good Is A Castle", "My Cloud", "Daddy's Coming Home", "Ordinary Guy", and "For Your Love". LP, Vinyl record album
By any other name, this should be a Joe Bataan record – since Joe wrote most of the tracks, produced the records, and did the vocal arrangements. The sound is similar to Joe's Afrofilipino record, with a Latin groove that's aimed at the dancefloor, but which also has some nice soulful vocals. Marty Sheller did the musical arrangements, and he gives a nice kick to the material. Titles include "LaSo Square", "Happy Smoke", "Another Star", and a remake of Joe's great "Puerto Rico Me Llama". LP, Vinyl record album