Feliz Navidad y Viva La Musica

Posted on Dec 27, 2010

As we near the end of the year, I am often asked what are my picks of the year’s best recordings in Salsa, Latin Jazz and Musica Cubana. I am going to run down some of my favorites in no determined order. So, here they are: The Spanish Harlem Orchestra “Viva La Tradicion”, Luis Gonzalez “El Tsunami De La Salsa” recording “Tributo A Un Gigante”, Sonora Poncena “Trayectoria + Consistencia = Sonora Poncena, Various Artists “Salsa-Un Homenaje A El Gran Combo”, Chucho Valdes & The Afro Cuban Messengers “Chucho’s Steps”, Issac Delgado “L-O-V-E.”, Manolito Y Su Trabuco “Trabuco Una Vez Mas”, Hilario Duran “Motion”, Edwin Bonilla “Homenaje A Los Rumberos”, Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet “Bien Bien”, El Gran Combo “Sin Salsa No Hay Paraiso” and Afrocubism “Afrocubism”. My advice to everyone is seek and find these great...

Read More

Aqui El Que Baila Gana

Posted on Dec 20, 2010

The beloved Cuban band Juan Formell y Los Van Van hit Yoshi’s San Francisco for four days of exciting shows the week of December 9th-12th. There was some doubt that the band would make it through their first tour in over 7 years due to legal issues and delayed visas but there they were on stage playing in front of standing room only crowds. Los Van Van were musically awesome, charismatic and ruled the crowd from the first notes of “Aqui El Que Baila Gana” to the grand finish of “Te Pone La Cabeza Mala”. The front vocal line of Mayito, Roberton, Yenny, Lele and Juan Formell himself (on coro and electric bass for “Muevete”) had the crowd totally involved by singing, dancing and waving their hands in the air. They were one of the tightest ensembles who perform with astonishing precision that this reviewer has seen in quite some...

Read More

A Proud Moment

Posted on Dec 8, 2010

I gotten used to the fact that recognition can be elusive in my business. It can be especially sweet once it arrives at your door. I experienced one of the proudest moments of my life this past weekend when I was honored for my 36 years of promoting and presenting Latin Music on the airwaves. I along with 4 of my peers in radio, Chata Gutierrez (KPOO), Emiliano Echeverria (KPFA) and Avotcja (KPOO/KPFA) were honored during the 29th annual Encuentro Del Canto Popular which benefited the El Tecolote Newspaper celebrating 40 years of serving the Mission District community. The wonderful music was provided by La Familia Pena-Govea and the Futuro Picante youth salsa band (the future of Salsa with those kids 9 to 18). I was presented with the Certificate Of Honor from SF Mayor Gavin Newson in recognition of my many contributions to Latin Music. I was also presented by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (a former comic with wicked wit) with the Certificate Of Recognition by the California Legislative Assembly for my role as producer, radio host and dj who helped create an environment where Latin Music could thrive in the Bay Area. I shared this proud moment with my mom Olga, my wife Isidra and my best friend Benji. You can check out my history at...

Read More

Chico Y Rita

Posted on Nov 30, 2010

I was invited by my good friends, film producer Tom Luddy and musician/educator Rebeca Mauleon to attend a sneak preview of esteemed Spanish director Fernando Trueba’s new animated film “Chico Y Rita” at the Pixar Studios. The film which is loosely based on the life of the famed Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes is full of the great classic Latin Jazz, mambo and boleros by Bebo which were re-recorded especially for this film. The story which is set in the 40’s and 50’s Cuba, New York and Europe tells the story of the romance between budding piano virtuoso Chico and rising vocalist Rita. The animation is spectacular, vibrant and colorful yet different from Disney or Pixar style. “Chico Y Rita” even features full frontal nudity which is quite a change from current animated fare such as the PG rated Tangled and Megamind in 3D. This is a such a great film that is adult, heartfelt, dramatic and a musical to boot. I throughly enjoyed this film. Tom explained to me that the film has yet to secure an American distributor because of the glut of animated films in the market. I hope that this situation will change soon so all of you can check out this gem of a film. I give it the golden thumbs of approval-way...

Read More