I had the good fortune to spend eighteen years growing up in Puerto Rico from the age of thirteen on. Being a musician during these years made me keenly aware of the Latin music scene of the seventies and eighties.
That said, I have a special affection for “Salsa” known to many as “Latin Jazz” here in the United States. I watched this musical genre grow from a simple, predictable, danceable music of the people played by young neighborhood bands to a much more intricate, complex, refined art form with elements of classical influence. Oh…. and they danced to that too! Musicians such as Richie Ray, Perico Ortiz, Willie Colon, Ruben Blades and many others come to mind.
I would go as far as to compare this as a parallel to “Rock” in the US and the UK where you have your Garage bands and Top Forty groups and then you discover bands like “Queen”, “Chicago”, “Steely Dan” and the like.
OK, so you probably want to know why I am telling you all this, right? I wanted you to know where I am coming from when I tell you that Manny Silveras’ “Bassed in America” is some of the best salsa I have heard in a while.
This CD is loaded with tight, synchronized, intelligent, stimulating arrangements supported by solid rhythmic and percussive scaffolding. Manny brings a very respectable upright Bass foundation that is tied in nicely with the rest of a very complete and effective percussion section. Most of the tunes are upbeat and there are a variety of rhythms that keeps you interested all the way through.
Bright and precise horns and woodwinds carry most of the melodic load. Fearless trumpets and trombones reach for high note with ease and skill. Delicious flute licks paint mental pictures of butterflies fluttering melodically along. Excellent contributions from the Saxes (I always dig the Bari’s) and piano round out the band’s voice. Very nice violin work appears occasionally. I recall vocals from only one song.
Generous solos from most if not all of the musicians in almost every song display their advanced talent as one could expect in a “descarga”. I even enjoyed the addition of electric guitar although it is a little unorthodox.
In summation, I found this CD great to listen to and hard to avoid dancing to! If Salsa is “your thing”, Check it out and you will see what I mean!
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