40 years ago, on the evening of August 26th, the Fania All-Stars emerged onstage at the legendary Cheetah club in New York and proceeded to single-handedly unleash the musical phenomenon known as the Salsa Explosion of the '70s. The show, which included such classic tropical jams as "Anacaona" with a fiery Cheo Feliciano on vocals, and the playful "Quítate Tú," was recorded for posterity and released as the two LP set Live At The Cheetah. But Fania founder Jerry Masucci had an even grander vision in mind: movie cameras filmed the concert, setting up the foundation for a feature length movie documenting the burgeoning salsa movement.
Entitled Our Latin Thing, the resulting film has been something of a collector's item during the past decades. Now, a remastered edition of both the movie and the music associated with Our Latin Thing is being released by Fania. This is the definitive, 40th Anniversary edition of a historic moment in tropical music.
Directed by celebrated documentary filmmaker Leon Gast, Our Latin Thing captures the sweaty fever of that 1971 show at the Cheetah. The cast of salsa stars, including Héctor Lavoe, Larry Harlow and Johnny Pacheco among many others, look natural and spontaneous, seemingly unaware of the cameras surrounding them. Gast followed them to the recording studio - a sequence showing producer Harlow working with Feliciano on "Anacaona" is particularly memorable. Scenes from life in the Spanish Harlem add texture to a film that acts like a virtual time machine, sending the viewer right into the lightning-in-a-bottle moment when salsa was born.
The 40th Anniversary Limited Edition of Our Latin Thing includes a DVD of the remastered movie, as well as two CDs containing the music of the film and a few bonus tracks. A true collector's item.