Tuesday, July 23, 2013
1973 In Salsa
New York salsa was fusion music; you could hear urbane Havana son and country Puerto Rican jibaro styles, jazzy horn and flute solos, Santana-style rock guitar, wah wah keyboards, long percussion jams that drew on funk and African music while mixing in various Caribbean and South American rhythms. It was integrated, like the city it came from.
Will Hermes, Love Goes to Buildings On Fire: Five Years in New York That Changes Music Forever.
As much as I enjoyed the sections of this book that focused on New York's punk and art rock scene of the 70's, I got the most pleasure from learning about the city's red hot salsa scene. In 1973 nobody could top the combination of bandleader Willie Colon and troubled singer Hector Lavoe for high energy dance music. A great place to start.
This is the other classic salsa album from 1973. Conga player and bandleader Barretto lives up to his Superman cover, hitting up virtually every form of Afro-Latin rhythm in this heart pounding album. Timeless! (If you like this, the next stop is Acid from 1967)
Palmieri's classic is 1971's jazzy Harlem River Drive but this album contains the pianist's anthemic "Puerto Rico". Though it's not apparent on that track, with Sentido Palmieri and producer Harvey Averne began mining the psychedelic rock vein where Santana found gold.
Afro Filipino ex-con Joe Bataan combined booogloo and doo wop in his 1960's band. The smooth tenor coined the term "salsoul" with this album in 1973 and paved the way for the inescapable Latin influenced disco sound. "Latin Strut" is a reworking of Deodato's "Super Strut".