From the '50s to the '70s, concert performances of Afro-Caribbean music in the United States were, more often than not, epic affairs. The lucky patrons of the legendary Palladium night club in New York recall enjoying sets by Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodríguez all in the same evening - something unthinkable by today's standards. During the golden era of Latin music, promoters made sure that the fans got their money's worth, and then some. ...MORE >
From the '50s to the '70s, concert performances of Afro-Caribbean music in the United States were, more often than not, epic affairs. The lucky patrons of the legendary Palladium night club in New York recall enjoying sets by Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodríguez all in the same evening - something unthinkable by today's standards. During the golden era of Latin music, promoters made sure that the fans got their money's worth, and then some.
That was definitely the case on the evening of May 1974 when this performance by the conglomerate known as the Tico-Alegre All Stars was recorded for posterity at Carnegie Hall. The album that you hold in your hands includes tracks by the Tito Puente Concert Orchestra with guest vocalists La Lupe and Vicentico Valdés; Joe Cuba; Charlie Palmieri's orchestra with singing contributions by Vitín Avilés and Yayo El Indio; Ismael Rivera y sus Cachimbos and a grand finale courtesy of the Alegre All Stars.
As if this gallery of luminaries wasn't enough, the instrumental ensemble that evening included musical heavyweights such as Cuban maestro Cachao on bass; Mike Collazo on drums; Jimmy Sabater on timbales; José Madera on bongoes; Cándido Camero on congas; veteran Cuban flutist José Fajardo and the inimitable Barry Rogers on trombone.
The album begins with a bang thanks to Tito Puente's thunderous rendition of the 2001: A Space Odyssey Theme – “Tito’s Odyssey”. Puente was on a roll at the time. He had just released one of the most ambitious albums of his career, Tito Puente And His Concert Orchestra, he had assembled a monumental big band with the blessing of the Tico label and had incorporated the refreshing idioms of funk and '70s R&B to his musical palette.
The funk influence can be heard on the collection's second track, “Confusión”, which reunites the timbalero with his former vocalist Vicentico Valdés. The spoken introduction by Valdés is endearing, as the singer candidly admits that he is not exactly crazy about the fusion of bolero and R&B ballad that Puente has concocted. He calls the song itself una confusión. No wonder, then, that his delivery is somewhat hesitant, failing to match the fire in Puente's tasty arrangement.
Unlike Vicentico, La Lupe gives it all with the sympathetic backing of the Puente orchestra on a mesmerizing version of "Changó" which arguably stands as the strongest track in the album. A delightful feeling of unstoppable frenzy is ignited from the track's opening bars.
At times, the brass section recalls jazz-rock outfits of the era such as Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears. And La Lupe sounds in top shape, her voice evoking infinite amounts of passion, fury and tenderness. One can only imagine how tickled she was to be reunited with the bandleader with whom she recorded a string of seminal albums in the '60s.
Fans of Puerto Rican singer Ismael Rivera will enjoy his brief but delightful contribution to this album. Backed by Los Cachimbos, Maelo delivers a melodious version of Bobby Capó's ”Sale El Sol”, his phrasing showcasing that feeling of old fashioned innocence that garnered Rivera so many fans across the Americas.
The session concludes, appropriately enough, with a joyful descarga – “La Cosa Alegre”. The longest track in the album, it boasts memorable solos by, among others, Alfredo Chocolate Armenteros on trumpet, Barry Rogers on trombone and the swinging piano of Javier Vásquez.
Like the best of live albums do, "Recorded Live At Carnegie Hall Vol. 1" makes you wish you could have been there. Now, thanks to the vision of Tico producer Joe Cain and the wonders of digital remastering, we can. Not in person, of course. But at least we can be there in spirit and sound.
Master Of Ceremonies / Maestro de Ceremonias - Paquito Navarro and Symphony Sid
Musical Director / Director Musical - Tito Puente
Solo Vocalists / Cantantes Solistas - La Lupe, Vicentico Valdes, Yayo El Indio
Tito Puente and His Concert Orchestra:
Tito Puente - Leader / Lider
John Frosk, Manuel Santos, Dave Tucker, Paulo De Paula – Trumpets / Trompeta
Jimmy Frisaura, Sonny Russo, Jose Rodrigues, Alan Raph - Trombones
Jerry Sanfino, Rene McLean, William Saxton - Saxophones / Saxofones
Mark Rosenberg – Baritone Saxophone / Saxofón Baritone
Paquito Pastor - Piano
Izzy Feliu – Bass / Bajo
Jose Madera - Bongos
Ramon Diaz - Conga
Mike Collazo - Drums / Batería
Vinnie Bell - Electric Guitar / Guitarra Electrica
Fernando Pizarro - Musical Arrangements Copyist / Copiador de Arreglos Musicales
Joe Cuba Sextet:
Joe Cuba - Conga
Phil Diaz – Vibes / Vibráfono
Nelson Sánchez - Piano
Slim Cordero – Bass / Bajo
Jimmy Sabater - Timbales
Pete Bonet – Chorus / Coro
Invited Guests / Invitados Especiales:
Felix Wilkens – Flute / Flauta
Frank Rosario - Bongos
Charlie Palmieri Y Su Orquesta Con Vitin Aviles Y Menique:
Charlie Palmieri –Leader, Conducting, Organ / Líder, Conductor, Organo
Armando Manzano, Lou Laurita – Trumpets / Trompetas
Bobby Nelson - Tenor Saxophone / Saxofón Tenor
Bobby Rodriguez - Fender Bass / Bajo Fender
Enrique Davila - Timbales
Willie Rodriguez - Bongo
Luis Rodriguez - Conga
Willie Nival, Ray Velez – Chorus / Coro
Invited Guest / Invitado Especial :
Chocolate –Trumpet / Trompeta
Ismael Rivera Y Sus Cachimbos:
Javier Vazquez - Piano
John Rivera – Bass / Bajo
Juan Ross - Conga
Vitin González - Bongo
Carlos Malcon - Timbales
Tom Malone – Trumpet / Trompeta
Manuel Gonzalez - Alto Saxophone / Saxofón Alto
Harry De Aguiar – Trombone / Trombón
Sammy Ayala, Rodney Santos – Chorus / Coro
Tico All Stars:
Tito Puente – Musical Director, Timbales, Vibes / Director Musical , Timbales, Vibráfono
Candido – Congas
Hector Rivera – Piano
Jose Fajardo – Flute / Flauta
Vinnie Bell – Guitar / Guitarra
Cachao – Bass / Bajo
Chocolate – Trumpet / Trompeta
Jose Rodrígues – Trombone / Trombón
Alegre All Stars:
Charlie Palmieri – Musical Director, Organ / Director Musical, Organo
Barry Rogers – Trombone / Trombón
“Chombo” Silva – Tenor Saxophone / Saxofón Tenor
Bobby Rodriguez – Bass / Bajo
Javier Vazquez – Piano
Cabrerita – Trumpet / Trompeta
Frankie Malabe – Congas
Enrique Davila – Timbales
Producer and Director / Productor y Director - Joe Cain
Production Assistant / Asistente de Producción – Vic Cava, Jose Guzman, Hector Ramirez
Project Coordinator / Coordinadora de Proyecto – Diana Monge
Recorded Live At / Grabado en Vivo - Carnegie Hall, Friday, May 24, 1974 8 PM.
Recorded by / Grabado por – Media Sound Studios, NYC
Recording and Remixing Engineer / Ingeniero de Grabación y Remezcla – Michael De Lugg, Jeff Lesser
Recording Assistant / Asistente de Grabación – Ron, Dale, Bill
Original Album Mastering / Masterización del Album Original – Jose Rodriguez
Original Art Design / Diseño del Arte Original– “Yogi” Rosario
Original Scenic Design / Diseño Escenico Original - “Yogi” Rosario, Charlie Rosario
Original Front Cover Design / Diseño de la Caratula del Album Original – Angelo Velasquez
Original Album Photography / Fotografía del Album Original– Dominique, “Yogi” Rosario.
Many Thanks to / Agradecimientos Especiales a : Fred Bailen, Tony Conga, Junior Rodriguez, Bob Walters, “Little” Ruben, Fefo Sanchez, Gil Merced, Chet Holland, Ralph Mercado, Tony Giannotti, Roy Birmingham, Jack Hooke, Phil Kahl (Big Seven Music) & Mr. Morris Levy (Presidente de Roulette Records)