Blog

Enrique Romero “El Molestoso” RIP

Posted by on Nov 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Enrique Romero “El Molestoso” RIP

My esteemed colleague and friend, Enrique Romero died last week at the age of 58 of Cancer. Enrique was a great catalyst in the European Salsa scene. He was established as an important journalist, record producer, radio producer, host, publicist, dj’, graphic artist and event producer. He was known as “El Molestoso” (named after the Eddie Palmieri tune) for his notoriously wicked sense of humor and critical opinions that left no holds barred. He would give you the brutal truth which endeared him to some and offended others but that was part of his unique personality. His brilliant but short lived 90’s magazine “El Manicero” was beautifully done with great graphics, insightful interviews with Cachao and Eddie Palmieri among others and was considered essential reading for Salsa aficionados. He produced a series of compilations for Musica Del Sol which celebrated the work of great artists such as Joe Cuba, Benny More and brought attention to unsung heroes such as Rene Grand. He was a PR wunderkind for such media outlets as the progressive Radio Gladys Palmera in Spain and the Antilla News for many years. He also worked as an artistic advisor and featured dj with Tempo Latino, the largest outdoor music festival in Europe devoted to Salsa, Musica Cubana and Latin alternative music. Enrique was also host of his radio program “Picadillo” which featured his eclectic taste from Salsa to the new fusions in Latin music. His DJ sessions at Tempo Latino and a whole host of venues in Barcelona were instrumental in keeping Salsa and related music alive in Europe. I last saw him this past August. He was recovering from surgery. My wife Isidra and I spent the afternoon with him. We had some great laughs over lunch. I said what would be my last goodbye to him. The European music and literary community are in morning and so am I. He will sorely be missed. Enrique has gone to join the big descarga in the next dimension. Adios, dear...

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Cuban Music Explosion in the SF Bay

Posted by on Oct 24, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Cuban Music Explosion in the SF Bay

The San Francisco Bay Area is enjoying a Cuban music explosion during the next few months. Popular Cubatoneros Los 4 packed Roccapulco this past Saturday. The John Santos Sextet performed a Sacred tribute to the drum featuring special guests Orestes Vilato and Bobi Cespedes on Sunday. Now the Bay Area is going to be visited by the likes of the new Havana Cuba All Stars, the new Chucho Valdes/Joe Lovano Quintet, Chucho’s son Chuchito Valdes, David Calzado & Charanga Habanera, Los Van Van, Alexander Abreu & Havana D’Primera during the new month and a half! San Francisco Bay Area’s own Tito Gonzalez Y Su Son De Cuba, Miguelito Martinez “Cuba Le Canta A Mexico Project”, Fito Reinoso’s Ritmo Y Armonia and Clasicos De Cuba bands, Rumbache and Orquesta La Moderna Tradicion have been performing the popular sounds from Son to Timba in the local festivals, clubs and venues. A lot of DJ’s have been incorporating Cuban music into their repertoire including long-time stalwarts DJ Walt Digz and DJ Dark Rum. Popular DJ Leydis has recently played the White House as an invited guest for National Hispanic month. And I have always incorporated the intoxicating sounds of Timba and Son into my DJ sets for los bailadores! I will keep you posted on future happenings in the SF...

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Fernandito Junior-On His Way Up!

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Fernandito Junior-On His Way Up!

SF Bay Area based vocalist Fernando Wilkins a.k.a. Fernandito Junior has just put out his debut release “Un Nuevo Capitulo”on his own PE Entertainment label. Wilkins went to Puerto Rico to collaborate with Salsa star and composer Nino Segarra on his new recording that features 8 sparkling tracks full of heartfelt lyrics, swinging arrangements and catchy hooks. “Un Nuevo Capitulo” is the latest evolution of this artist who has several recordings under his belt as part of a duo with his former partner, Neftali Rosado of the band “Pa’l Bailador”. Wilkins left to pursue his artistic vision and desire to penetrate the Salsa market under his own persona. He has recently performed as part of percussionist Cafe August’s Orquesta De La Isla orquesta. Wilkins/Fernandito Jr. celebrated the release of his recording with a huge party at the new Sunday hot spot, Boogaloo Sundays at Gordon Biersch Brewery in San Jose. The party featured Wilkins, the powerful Orquesta De La Isla orchestra and special guest Nino Segarra flying in from Puerto Rico to play the show. There were plenty of explosive music moments throughout the show! I had the pleasure of emceeing the show and performing as DJ for this special evening! The cd is available at most digital platforms including Itunes, Amazon and CD...

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Mill Valley Film Festival…Viva El Cine!

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Mill Valley Film Festival…Viva El Cine!

The Mill Valley Film Festival is offering an impressive slate of Latin films among their diverse offerings from big, potentially huge blockbusters to tribute nights to stars such as Nicole Kidman to Gael Garcia Bernal to a daily schedule of music events covering the gamut from Americana to Gospel now through October 16th. Alejandro Escovedo will be a featured artist during their musical schedule of events at the Sweetwater night club on Friday, October 14. Highlights include the acclaimed Sonia Braga starred vehicle “Aquarius”, the new Pedro Almodovar film “Julieta”, the new film “Neruda” featuring Gael Garcia Bernal, “Monday Nights at Seven” featuring Edward James Olmos (who also is executive producer of the film) and other great offerings. For more information, please visit...

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Latino Film Festival-Alma Y Mas

Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Latino Film Festival-Alma Y Mas

I made it to the opening night of the Cine + Mas 8th SF Latino Film Festival to see the Chilean comedy “Alma”. It had a light, airy touch considering that it’s about a serious subject: a heroine that’s a manic depressive with bi-polar disorder. Under less capable hands, this film could have been a depressing fiasco. However, it was a hilarious farce built around the 20 year marriage between Alma and her husband, Fernando. When Fernando lets his frustrations with her behavior come out at the worst possible time and declares that he is ashamed of her illness, he gets kicked out of the house and Alma meets Gaspar a new, younger suitor. It is Fernando’s quest to get her back that is the cornerstone of this engaging comedy. Other significant films that were featured during the festival included the powerful prison drama “Perros” which stars comedian John Leguziamo in a serious dramatic role, the Cuban family saga “Cafe Amargo” and the intriguing Mexican drama “Amir” about an aspiring musician who has to resolve conflicts on his way to adulthood. This is the eight annual Latino Film Festival which have shown films in venues as diverse as the Alamo Draftshouse, the Roxie Theater, The DeYoung Museum and the Mission Cultural...

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Notes from Late Summer 2016

Posted by on Sep 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Notes from Late Summer 2016

Hi Everyone, I hope that your Summer was full of fun and excitement. I recently returned from visiting in-laws, family and friends in Spain! I got back to participate in the San Jose Jazz Summerfest on a Salsa DJ fueled stage with my radio colleague Jose Ruiz…it was a blast! I was sidelined for most of the month after the show recovering from an accident (I’m ok!!) However, I was able to bounce back and volunteer my help during Labor Day weekend at the annual Brazilian Day – Lavagem produced by my old friend Concecao Damasceno of Ginga Brasil/Bras Arte and the great people of Casa Del Cultura.(Shout out to Nick, Jose, Vanessa and the crew). Great live music provided by special guest Margareth Menezes sitting in with SambaDa(who were fabulous), Spok, Boca Do Rio, Dandara and Pandemonium and others!! I was also able to catch only a bit of the Festival De La Isla up in Vacaville. I caught a bit of the music of Avance, Hector Tricoche(who killed it with Orquesta De La Isla) and 90’s Salsa Romantica crooner Nino Segarra. I wasn’t able to catch Johnny Rivera or Ray Sepulveda but I heard they had great sets! Catch you...

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Random Notes 7/29/16

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Random Notes 7/29/16

Is it me or is this Summer just blowing by? It’s been hot in the SF Bay Area. Roberton from Los Van Van visited the SF Bay and joined locally based Cuban vocal legend Fito Reinoso on stage at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival’s monthly Thursday Salsa happenings at Jessie Square last week. Our good friend, Luisito Cuba was instrumental in hooking up a visit from Roberton who not only hooked up with Fito but visited SF’s Bissap Baobab after the show for a rumba featuring Roberton on congas and vocals joined by renowned congueros Sandy Perez and Jesus Diaz. Reinoso joined Roberton on vocals. Other visits included the Cigar Bar and Cana Oakland!…Salsa heartthrob Jerry Rivera also visited the SF Bay and headlined the Peruvian festival at Swiss Park….Speaking of Pop/Salsa heartthrobs…El Sonero De La Juventud Victor Manuelle is paying SF a visit on Saturday, July 30 at the Regency Ballroom. N’Rumba is opening up the show which is also featuring DJ Pablo. Coming up: John Santos Sextet at Yoshis Aug. 12. SF Jazz is featuring a Cuban piano summit with Gonzalo Rubalcaba 8/11, Fabian Almazan/Aruan Ortiz 8/12, Alfredo Rodriguez/Ivan “Melon” Lewis 8/13, Harold Nussa-Lopez/Aldo Lopez-Gavilian 8/14 and featuring percussion phenom Pedrito Martinez joining each of the headliners on these string of dates….San Jose Jazz Summerfest heats up the same weekend 8/12-8/14 with a kick-off Salsa block party featuring yours truly from 9 to 11 pm and my radio/dj colleague Jose Ruiz starting at 7 pm at the San Pedro Street Stage. We’ll be throwing down hot music for dancing in the streets so come on by!! Festival performers that weekend will feature the hot Puerto Rican band “Pirulu Y La Tribu” as well as La Maquina Insular, the Bay Area Salsa All Stars, Lizz Wright, Sergio Mendes, Miguel Zenon, Kermit Ruffins, Bobby Caldwell, Jose James and others. Info:...

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Catching Up With Arturo Sandoval

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Catching Up With Arturo Sandoval

I feel invigorated after catching a set from virtuoso trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist and entertainer Arturo Sandoval at Yoshi’s this week. Sandoval, whose illustrious history includes being one of the founding members of the famed Cuban supergroup Irakere, a protege of the legendary jazz icon Dizzy Gillespie and currently enjoying an acclaimed solo career, was in fine form fronting a top notch band of ace players. Sandoval whose winning combination of his sharp sense of humor, effervescent personality and phenomenal playing easily won over the packed Yoshi’s crowd. He played a few selections off his current “Live At Yoshi’s” recording including an explosive Funk to Salsa tour de force version of the classic “El Manicero” featuring Sandoval on vocals, trumpet, keyboards and timbales! His jazz selections were sublime including his version of “A Night In Tunisia”! It’s great to catch up with greats such as Arturo Sandoval who is definitely alive and...

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OMCA 2nd Fridays are Smokin’ En Clave!

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on OMCA 2nd Fridays are Smokin’ En Clave!

It was a joy to DJ for a crowd of diverse, beautiful folks at the Oakland Museum last Friday, July 8th for their Friday Nights at the OMCA. The great Cuban vocalist Fito Reinoso and his Ritmo Y Armonia was the featured band and they did smoke with their energized, hypnotic brand of Timba and Son “para el bailador”. I was behind the wheels of steel playing hot Salsa, Timba, Mambo, Son, Guaguanco, Reggaeton and Merengue to the packed masses on the Oakland Museum outdoor dance floor. It’s a great scene and it’s free every Friday night. Every 2nd Friday is devoted to Latin music with rotating bands and DJ’s. For more information, visit their web site at museumca.org/friday-nights-omca. Check it...

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Jose Mangual Jr. – Still Swinging and coming back to Northern Cali!

Posted by on Jun 16, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Jose Mangual Jr. – Still Swinging and coming back to Northern Cali!

One of the enduring figures in Salsa, the renowned vocalist, percussionist and record producer Jose Mangual Jr. will make a rare appearance at the 38th Annual Western Region Puerto Rican Council’s El Dia De San Juan scholarship fundraiser at History Park, 1650 Senter Road in San Jose this Saturday, June 18 from 11am to 7 pm. Jose Mangual Jr. is one of two musician brothers born to Jose Mangual Sr., legendary percussionist with the Machito Orchestra and other giants of the Cubop/Mambo era. Jose joined a youthful orchestra led by a budding trombonist Willie Colon in 1968 which featured vocalist Hector Lavoe, conguero Milton Cardona and timbalero Louie Romero. This band was to make musical history with a fresh take on NY Salsa combining jazz, boogaloo, street smarts and the urbanization of PR jibaro music in it’s mix and produced many hits. Mangual performed with Colon until 1977 when he took over musical direction of Hector Lavoe’s new band. He later started his solo career as a singer, musician and record producer. Mangual produced his first recording “Tribute To Chano Pozo” as well as his solo recordings, his collaborations with Jimmy Sabater as Son Boricua, the Estrellas Caiman and countless others. He will be reuniting with Louie Romero (Colon alumni) on this special...

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