Saturday, June 27, 2009

Imagenes Latinas

Good Evening Garlic Fans ...

So sorry for the lack-of-post, yesterday, and today.

We had a combination of things going on, from having to get The Aunt to the hospital last evening (now, reoccurring issue), and a complete flip around earlier today, with a family event (which we may post about in the next day, or two).

That left time, and energy, for creative posting AWOL.

Even this night, a rather languid, early summers' eve, calls for things other than work

Fortunately (for both of us) a tremendously pleasant discovery was made, a YouTube-version, of one of The Garlic's all-time favorites, "Imagenes Latinas", performed by the great Manny Oquendo y Conjunto Libre.

How I got into Manny Oquendo y Conjunto Libre was accidental.

Back in my early teens, just in the infancy of becoming a Jazz Freak, I had to wait to pick someone up (my mother, I believe), and there was, nearby, one of those Latina Religious shops, you know, the kind with the zillion of statues of the Madonna in the window.

I stepped in to check it out, still in time-killing mode, and, lo-and-behold, at the very back of the store, were a few bins of albums, which I started thumbing through.

Not very many names were familiar, and then, I happened on the Manny Oquendo y Conjunto Libre album, whose title escapes me.

What attracted me to the album, in reading the playlist and liner notes, was it included a Miles Davis tune, "Pent Up House", so I figured it was worth checking out.

Oh Boy!

It was en eye-opener, a jackpot of a whole new universe of music and sound, and the tune, "Imagenes Latinas" just knocked me out.

Manny Oquendo ...

Man, if you think Tito Puente is "El Rey de Timbales", you just gotta get hip to Manny Oquendo.

Unfortunately, Senor Oquendo passed away a few months ago.

Here's a snip, from his obit in the NYT;

By the late 1940s, he was playing with New York’s top bands along with Chano Pozo and Juan Torres, known as El Boy. When Mr. Oquendo joined Tito Puente’s orchestra as a bongo player he often used his sartorial and musical talents to attract the attention of the surging seas of dancers in places like the Palladium ballroom. In 1962, he joined Eddie Palmieri’s seminal band, La Perfecta, which challenged the big band scene with a smaller, conjunto lineup that called for fewer players and more improvisation.


While playing in La Perfecta, where he met Mr. González, his future musical director and a bassist, Mr. Oquendo picked up and adapted the complex carnival rhythm called Mozambique, made popular in Cuba by Pello El Afrokán, and reworked it for the timbales, introducing a hypnotic African beat to the dance halls of New York. In 1974, he and Mr. González began Libre, creating a sound outside traditional parameters.
And, this;
It is with a very heavy and saddened heart that I state that Puerto Rican percussionist Manny Oquendo of Conjunto Libre has passed away. He had been ill for the past 2 years and this early morning in his home in NYC he awoke feeling badly and collapsed and died of a massive heart attack. Manny was 78 years of age. He was one of the hardest hitting timbales and bongo players of all time. He had played with some of the biggest names of Latin music from the late 1940s though the early 70s when he decided to join forces with Andy González and form Conjunto Libre later shortened to just Libre. He had played with both Palmieri brothers-Charlie and Eddie as well as both Titos, Rodríguez and Puente and numerous others. He also appeared as a guest sideman for many straight ahead jazz artists’ recordings. Curiously both he and Andy were born on January 1st in the Bronx of Puerto Rican parents , years apart though.
Some other Manny Oquendo links to check out;

Tribute to Master Timbalero Manny Oquendo

Manny Oquendo (1931 - 2009): A Career Based On Tradition And Innovation

So, here it is, "Imagenes Latinas", the vocalist is Herman Olivera, and check out the killer solo, by bassist, and co-leader, Andy Gonzalez (brother of Jerry Gonzalez, of the Fort Apache Band).

Conjunto Libre presenta Imagenes Latinas

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